King: A Comics Biography

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This special edition of a Fantagraphics classic is now being offered at a special price.
Ho Che Anderson has spent over 10 years researching, writing, and drawing King, a monumental graphic biography that liberates Martin Luther King Jr. from the saintly, one-dimensional, hagiographic image so prevalent in pop culture. Here is King—father, husband, politician, deal broker, idealist, pragmatist, inspiration to millions—brought to vivid, ...

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Overview

This special edition of a Fantagraphics classic is now being offered at a special price.
Ho Che Anderson has spent over 10 years researching, writing, and drawing King, a monumental graphic biography that liberates Martin Luther King Jr. from the saintly, one-dimensional, hagiographic image so prevalent in pop culture. Here is King—father, husband, politician, deal broker, idealist, pragmatist, inspiration to millions—brought to vivid, flesh-and-blood life.
Out of print since 2006, King is Fantagraphics' most-requested reprint. In recognition of the advances made in American social equality that has made it possible to elect America’s first black President, Fantagraphics Books is publishing King: The Special Edition, a newly designed volume that includes the original 240-page graphic biography, as well as nearly a hundred additional pages of “extras,” including:
“Black Dogs” is a 14-page prelude to King, a dialogue between a young black couple expecting a child, living in LA in the aftermath of the Rodney King upheaval, a raw and inflected conversation between husband and wife and their racial attitudes in a post-King world;Excerpts from the diary and notebook the author kept when researching and writing King, with interstitial notes written specifically for this volume commenting on the method he used to conceived and execute the book;Preparatory sketches, discarded images and pages, an interview conducted at the time of the third volume’s publication, and excerpts from the draft of the script;An epilogue titled “Assassin,” written and drawn for this new edition, in which Anderson explores the question of whether James Earl Ray actually shot King. Caroline Longstreet, one of the observers who comments on King’s life throughout the book, is obsessed with the assassination, won’t let it rest, and pursues her own private investigation and ultimately confronts the reasons why it’s held her in its grip so long.
Anderson’s biography traces King’s life from his childhood in Atlanta and his education at Booker T. Washington High School, and his subsequent centrality to the civil rights movement when, in 1955, he organized the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott; his founding of the Southern Christian leadership Conference in 1957; his Nobel Prize in 1964; his help in organizing the 1966 March on Washington and his “I Have a Dream” speech; and the tragic moment on April 4, 1968 when he was shot dead on the balcony of the Loraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
Anderson’s expressionistic visual style is wrought with dramatic energy; panels evoke a painterly attention to detail but whose juxtapositions propel King’s story with cinematic momentum. Anderson’s successful use of the comics form to tell a major work of nonfiction has drawn favorable comparisons to Art Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor’s Tale and Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995. King won a 1995 Parents’ Choice Award.

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Editorial Reviews

Time.com
King goes beyond history to examine life's complications, particularly pertaining to racial relations. King the character becomes the personification of these complications... Rare and vital, Ho Che Anderson's King adds a significant contribution to the depth of artistry and subject matter in the world of graphic literature.”— Andrew D. Arnold
The Halifax Herald
“Vitally, Anderson draws an earthy King, one who likes soul food and soulful women, but who is also capable of inspiring and challenging oratory, theological radicalism and courageous leadership, even when faced with fists, firebombs, and FBI persecution. …[W]hat a book!”— George Elliott Clarke
Bookdragon: Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
“While Anderson starkly presents King’s less-than-saintly episodes... the final reaction is a fuller understanding of a great man, with inspiring ideals, and an unshakable dedication to equality through nonviolent, loving means. ... MLK’s legacy undeniably lives on in Anderson’s King.”— Terry Hong
Andrew D. Arnold - Time.com
“King goes beyond history to examine life's complications, particularly pertaining to racial relations. King the character becomes the personification of these complications... Rare and vital, Ho Che Anderson's King adds a significant contribution to the depth of artistry and subject matter in the world of graphic literature.”
Terry Hong - Bookdragon: Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
“While Anderson starkly presents King’s less-than-saintly episodes... the final reaction is a fuller understanding of a great man, with inspiring ideals, and an unshakable dedication to equality through nonviolent, loving means. ... MLK’s legacy undeniably lives on in Anderson’s King.”
George Elliott Clarke - The Halifax Herald
“Vitally, Anderson draws an earthy King, one who likes soul food and soulful women, but who is also capable of inspiring and challenging oratory, theological radicalism and courageous leadership, even when faced with fists, firebombs, and FBI persecution. …[W]hat a book!”
Time.com - Andrew D. Arnold
“King goes beyond history to examine life's complications, particularly pertaining to racial relations. King the character becomes the personification of these complications... Rare and vital, Ho Che Anderson's King adds a significant contribution to the depth of artistry and subject matter in the world of graphic literature.”
Bookdragon: Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program - Terry Hong
“While Anderson starkly presents King’s less-than-saintly episodes... the final reaction is a fuller understanding of a great man, with inspiring ideals, and an unshakable dedication to equality through nonviolent, loving means. ... MLK’s legacy undeniably lives on in Anderson’s King.”
The Halifax Herald - George Elliott Clarke
“Vitally, Anderson draws an earthy King, one who likes soul food and soulful women, but who is also capable of inspiring and challenging oratory, theological radicalism and courageous leadership, even when faced with fists, firebombs, and FBI persecution. …[W]hat a book!”
Publishers Weekly
Some who read this deluxe repackaging of Anderson's epic three-part biography of Martin Luther King Jr. will come away thinking that the great leader is even more remote and unknowable than before—and there is nothing wrong with that. King has long been a figure so ubiquitous in American culture that little of his true self remains in his frequently invoked image and words. Anderson does the man a favor by taking a spiky, fractured approach to his subject and refusing to plant a halo on his troubled head. Much of the book (packaged nicely with previously unprinted material, sketches, and a somewhat beside-the-point modern-day “prelude” titled Black Dogs) tracks King from his college days in the 1950s to his death, jamming each page with noirishly drawn frames and tightly packed political debates. Though all the great moments of his civil rights battle are here (from the March on Washington to his less-successful housing campaign in Chicago), Anderson doesn't resort to the cheap cinematic trick of success and fadeout. There is more disappointment here than celebration, suffused with the sorrowful sense of a long, long battle just barely begun. A crowning achievement, like the man it portrays. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606993101
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Edition description: Special Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.00 (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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