Rep. John Lewis and Aide to Pen Graphic Novel
(AJC) — U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta already is considered a hero of the civil rights movement. Could he soon become a comic book superhero, too? Lewis and an aide have inked a deal with Atlanta-based comic book company Top Shelf Productions to produce a new graphic novel based on the congressman’s experiences during the civil rights movement. Tentatively called “March,” the illustrated book is scheduled for release in 2012. “This is something I really wanted to do some years ago and there is no better time to do it than now,” Lewis said in announcing the deal. “It is not just a story of struggle; it is a story of involvement. It shows the ups, the downs, the ins and the outs of a movement.” According to Top Shelf, the publishing agreement is a first. It will mark the first time a sitting member of Congress has authored a graphic novel, and Top Shelf claims to be the only graphic novel publisher to be certified by the House Committee on Standards. As a resident of Atlanta, Top Shelf founder Chris Staros said he knew of Lewis and his past. He didn’t expect to do a graphic novel about the congressman’s life, however, until he was approached recently by Lewis aide Andrew Aydin about the project. “I knew it was a brilliant idea right off the bat,” Staros said. He said he expects the book to be 160 to 200 pages long. He declined to disclose financial details, beyond saying that it will be royalty-based.