Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography
  • Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography
  • Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography

Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography

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by Andrew Helfer, Randy DuBurke
     
 

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The age of multitasking needs better narrative history. It must be absolutely factual, immediately accessible, smart, and brilliantly fun. Enter Andrew Helfer, the award-winning graphic-novel editor behind Road to Perdition and The History of Violence, and welcome the launch of a unique line of graphic biographies.

If a picture is worth a

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Overview

The age of multitasking needs better narrative history. It must be absolutely factual, immediately accessible, smart, and brilliantly fun. Enter Andrew Helfer, the award-winning graphic-novel editor behind Road to Perdition and The History of Violence, and welcome the launch of a unique line of graphic biographies.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these graphic biographies qualify as tomes. But if you're among the millions who haven't time for another doorstop of a biography, these books are for you.
With the thoroughly researched and passionately drawn Malcolm X, Helfer and award-winning artist Randy DuBurke capture Malcolm Little's extraordinary transformation from a black youth beaten down by Jim Crow America into Malcolm X, the charismatic, controversial, and doomed national spokesman for the Nation of Islam.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Helfer and DuBurke tell the story of Malcolm X's short life—his meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the two leaders describing the opposite ideological ends of the fight for civil rights; and his eventual assassination by other members of the Nation of Islam (NOI)—in narration and detailed b&white drawings, sharp as photographs in a newspaper. The portrait is frank and at times unflattering, pointing out the inconsistencies in Malcolm X's own autobiography. From his slow slide into the criminal—moving from hustler to dealer to the head of a ring of thieves for which he was finally sent to prison—to his jailhouse conversion to Islam, Helfer and DuBurke don't shy from any part of their subject's life. Unfortunately, as the story gets into the complicated dynamics within the NOI and Malcolm X's eventual break from the group, the narrative becomes tangled. The same drawings that make Malcolm X's youth so vivid can't portray the political in-fighting with the same clarity, giving instead a glance at the last few years of his life. Nevertheless, Helfer and DuBurke have created an evocative and studied look at not only Malcolm X but the racial conflict that defined and shaped him. (Nov.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Angela Semifero
Before he achieved notoriety, Malcolm X was Malcolm Little, a young boy who watched his family fall apart as his house was burned down, his father was killed by a streetcar, and his mother slowly descended into madness. This graphic biography tells the compelling story of Malcolm's adolescence, including his dangerous days as a hustler in New York City, his subsequent jail time, and his conversion to Islam. Helfer also directs some attention to Malcolm's work with the Nation of Islam, but the primary focus of this text is on the significant moments that altered his life, rather than on Malcolm as a political figure. This title does not shy away from the violent issues of race relations in the 1950s and 1960s, nor does it glorify any particular philosophy of the period. It frequently cites The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Grove Press, 1965) to explain the motivations of the man. The gritty black-and-white drawings, such as the dramatic first image of Malcolm X holding a rifle, complement the author's text well. Any student looking for a biography would be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic subject, although they might find longer works more informative. This title may be of interest to reluctant readers.
School Library Journal

Gr 10 & Up - This brief novelization opens with a dramatic image of Malcolm posing with a rifle, highlighting the conflict that defined his short life. The story begins shortly before his death, and the sense of tension established by his looming assassination is maintained throughout the book. Those already familiar with Malcolm X's autobiography will find a compelling retelling of his life, and those new to the subject will be introduced to a whirlwind tour of mid-20th-century history through the eyes of an influential figure in the Civil Rights Movement. The defining moments of Malcolm's life are presented here in a condensed format-his upbringing in the Midwest, his rowdy teenage years as a hustler in Boston and Harlem, and his time in prison, leading ultimately to his public life as a member of the Nation of Islam and the Black Muslim movement in the 1960s. The black-and-white illustrations give shape to the figures depicted through the use of shadows and high-contrast silhouettes. Many of the drawings have the quality of photographs that have been repeatedly photocopied until fine details disappear, lending a documentary feel to the imagery.-Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809095049
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
11/14/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
380,276
Product dimensions:
5.47(w) x 8.67(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Malcolm X

A Graphic Biography


By Andrew J. Helfer

Hill and Wang

Copyright © 2006 Andrew J. Helfer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8090-9504-9



CHAPTER 1

HARD TIMES


MALCOLM'S FATHER, EARL LITTLE, WAS PART OF THIS MIGRATION. A CHILDHOOD SPENT IN GEORGIA, WHERE LYNCHINGS WERE FREQUENT, INSTILLED IN HIM A DESIRE FOR FREEDOM AND A CONVICTION THAT IT COULD NEVER BE WON IN WHITE AMERICA.

AS HE HEADED NORTH, HE WORKED AS AN ITINERANT PREACHER ...

... FOR MARCUS GARVEY'S UNIVERSAL NEGRO IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION (UNIA).

GARVERY AND HIS FOLLOWERS PREACHED A POLITICAL GOSPEL OF BLACK SEPARATISM. THE UNIA BELIEVED THAT ONLY BY SHAKING OFF ALL WHITE INFLUENCES COULD AFRICAN AMERICANS TRULY BE FREE.

DECADES LATER, MALCOLM X WOULD FIND A SIMILAR SEPARATIST CAUSE IN THE NATION OF ISLAM (NOI).

MALCOLM'S MOTHER, LOUISE NORTON, WAS AS LIGHT-SKINNED AS EARL LITTLE WAS DARK LOUISE'S BIOLOGICAL FATHER WAS A WHITE MAN WHO HAD RAPED HER MOTHER.

THE LITTLE FAMILY SETTLED IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA, WHERE EARL VISITED LOCAL BLACK CHURCHES TO PREACH GARVEY'S GOSPEL OF BLACK PRIDE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY.

EARL'S 'SUBVERSIVE' SPEECHES ATTRACTED THE ATTENTION OF THE OMAHA CHAPTER OF THE KU KLUX KLAN.

MALCOLM WROTE THAT JUST BEFORE HE WAS BORN, A GROUP OF ANGRY KLANSMEN TO THE LITTLE HOME LATE ONE NIGHT, INTENDING TO BURN IT TO THE GROUND.

THEY WERE MET AT THE DOOR BY MALCOLM'S FIERCELY DEFIANT-AND QUITE PREGNANT-MOTHER, WHO SINGLE-HANDEDLY TURNED THEM AWAY.

YEARS LATER, MALCOLM WOULD RETELL THE STORY AS AN EXAMPLE OF THIS PARENT'S COURAGE AND THE EVILS OF WHITE SOCIETY. HE BELIEVED IT FORESHADOWED THE DIRECTION HIS OWN LIFE WOULD TAKE.

HIS MOTHER, FOR HER PART, HAD NO MEMORY OF THE EVENTS.

THE KLAN'S THREATS STRENGTHENED EARL LITTLE'S RESOLVE TO SPREAD THE WORD OF GARVEY'S PLAN FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN SELF-SUFFICIENCY ...

... EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW THIS GUARANTEED THAT THE KLANSMEN WOULD RETURN.

ON MAY 19, 1925, MALCOLM LITTLE WAS BORN. EARL HAD LONG PLANNED TO NAME HIS SON AFTER HIMSELF.

BUT AFTER HIS FIRST LOOK AT THE INFANT, HE CHANGE HIS MIND.

HE LOOKS WHITE, LIKE HIS MAMA!

HIS NEW SON WAS NOT DARK-SKINNED ENOUGH TO TAKE HIS FATHER'S NAME. INSTEAD, HE WAS CALLED MALCOLM.

THE FAMILY MOVED SHORTLY AFTER MALCOLM'S BIRTH, FIRST TO MILWAUKEE AND THEN TO LANGING, MICHIGAN, WHERE EARL CONTINUED PREACHING FOR THE UNIA.

BLACK CONGREGATIONS APPLAUDED EARL'S MESSAGE BUT HAD SCANT MONEY TO GIVE HIM STILL, BY 1929 THE LITTLES MANAGED TO BUY A SMALL FARMHOUSE.

THE FAMILY, HOWEVER, HAD PRECIOUS LITTLE MONEY TO MAKE ENDS MEET. EARL WAS FED BY GRATEFUL PARISHIONERS, BUT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN OFTEN WENT HUNGRY.

TENSIONS GREW WITHIN THE FAMILY. EARL, NEVER A PATIENT MAN, BEGAN BEATING HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN AT THE SLIGHTEST PROVOCATION.

ONLY MALCOLM FOR REASONS THAT HE BELIEVED HAD TO DO WITH HIS LIGHTER SKIN COLOR, ESCAPED HIS FATHER'S WRATH.

THIS ALREADY DESPERATE SITUATION SOON GOT WORSE. AGAIN, RACE WAS THE REASON.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Malcolm X by Andrew J. Helfer. Copyright © 2006 Andrew J. Helfer. Excerpted by permission of Hill and Wang.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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