"A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything." Though cut down by an assassin's bullet just months before his 40th birthday, Malcolm X (1925-65), a.k.a. Malcolm Little, had already left a powerful imprint on American history. This "novel graphic" recapitulates the dramatic path of Malcolm's life, from his early experiences with racism through his political and religious conversions. Graphic and unforgettable.
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.
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.
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, CACopyright 2007 Reed Business Information