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King: A Comics Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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A landmark graphic novel about the civil rights leader, complete in one volume.This groundbreaking body of comics journalism collects for first time Anderson's entire biography of the renowned civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over a decade in the making, the saga has been praised for its vivid recreation of one of the most tumultuous periods in U.S. history and for its accuracy in depicting the personal and public lives of King, from his birth to his assassination. King probes the life story of ...

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Overview

A landmark graphic novel about the civil rights leader, complete in one volume.This groundbreaking body of comics journalism collects for first time Anderson's entire biography of the renowned civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over a decade in the making, the saga has been praised for its vivid recreation of one of the most tumultuous periods in U.S. history and for its accuracy in depicting the personal and public lives of King, from his birth to his assassination. King probes the life story of one of America's greatest public figures with an unflinchingly critical eye, casting King as an ambitious, dichotomous figure deserving of his place in history but not above moral sacrifice to get there. Anderson's expressionistic visual style is wrought with dramatic energy; panels evoke a painterly attention to detail but juxtapose with one another in such a way as to propel King's story with cinematic momentum. Anderson's successful use of the graphic novel to tell a major work of nonfiction has drawn favorable comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale, Joe Sacco's Palestine, and Osamu Tezuka's Adolph.Ho Che Anderson's biography traces King's life from his childhood in Atlanta and his education at Booker T. Washington High School, Morehouse College, and the Crozer Theological Seminary and his centrality to the civil rights movement: his first public involvement in civil rights when, in 1955, as President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, he organized the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott; his founding of the Southern Christian leadership Conference in 1957; his help in organizing the 1966 March on Washington and his "I Have a Dream" speech there; his Nobel price in 1964; his voter-registration campaign that ended in the Selma-to-Montgomery Freedom March; and the tragic moment on April 4, 1968 when he was shot dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. King not only recreates the major events in King's public life, but chronicles the daily, rough-and-tumble, behind-the-scenes political maneuverings and strategic compromises that were required to mobilize millions of people toward a common goal. His internal debates with Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson and his hardball negotiations with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson are dramatized. Anderson's achievement is not merely a political biography filled with names and dates, but a fully rounded portrait of fallible human engaged in a superhuman effort his fears, his doubts, his relationship with his wife Coretta King, and his children are compassionately and truthfully rendered.Anderson's visual approach includes the use of photographs, realistic portraiture, and expressionistic imagery alternating between stark black and white chiaroscuro and painterly full color. The dialogue is unflinchingly naturalistic and accurately reflects the moral urgency and labyrinthine political and practical complexities that King was navigating, from his deeply felt, personal commitment to a public cause to the wider political eruptions the country was experiencing. This is a respectful, unsparing, truthful biography of a man and his times that captures the moral and political gravitas of the cause as well as its human dimension. A major work of comics, depicting a major work of history.

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Editorial Reviews

Andrew Arnold - Time.com
“Rare and vital...adds a significant contribution to the depth of artistry and subject matter in the world of graphic literature.”
Douglas Wolk - Seattle Weekly
“Anderson's not interested in straight representation; he's using the materials of history as a springboard for his remarkable, impressionistic artwork, and figures out ways to keep even the slow parts visually engaging.”
Leroy Douresseaux - ComicBook Bin
“Any reader who is a fan of comic book biographies or historical comix will find that the King collection… remains an essential edition to any comic book library.”
Publishers Weekly
Over 10 years in the making, Anderson's biographical graphic novel has the weight and depth of a lifetime of research. The book is a compelling and often moving narrative of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Anderson follows King from boyhood through college and into the stormy Civil Rights movement. But while the broad narrative of King's life may be familiar, this is hardly a Classic Comics approach to the man. In order to capture the complexity of King's life and times, Anderson employs a uniquely multifaceted and multilayered graphic and narrative technique that falls somewhere between cartooning, painting, collage and documentary photography. It is deeply effective. At times, King's life is a straightforward narrative, but then a Greek chorus of voices will interrupt to comment on the action and offer different versions of events. At other crucial moments, the pages erupt into color abstractions or expressionist renderings. Anchoring all this dazzling technique is Anderson's acute ear for dialogue and profound understanding of his subject. In the simplest scenes of King and his colleagues in discussion-in a car, a bar or a living room-Anderson brings readers into the space and makes history palpable. Through a varied graphic arsenal and subtle prose, Anderson's King comes alive. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560976226
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Edition description: The Complete Edition
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ho Che Anderson lives in Toronto, Canada. His books include King, Scream Queen, and Sand and Fury.

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