John Lewis: Freedom Rider, congressman … cartoon?

July 18, 2013

(Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

On Saturday, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will join the ranks of masked vigilantes and video game warriors to promote his graphic novel, "March," at the San Diego Comic-Con. The first book in a series of three illustrates Lewis's life in rural Alabama, his meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

As a student, Lewis drew inspiration from a 1958 comic book, "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story." He was the youngest speaker at the "March on Washington," and is the only remaining speaker of the event alive today. To provide another story of the civil-rights movement, Lewis wrote the story with staffer Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell illustrated it. The book will be released next month, coinciding with the march's 50th anniversary.

Attendees at comic cons often dress up in costumes, typically referred to as "cosplay." While fans may be found in anything from floor-length capes to neon green tights or gorilla masks, Lewis was told to just be himself by his co-writer.

"He suggested I wear my old backpack and trench coat," Lewis said, laughing, to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Ruth Tam is a writer based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @ruthetam.
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