March artist Nate Powell talks at length about his childhood comics habits, his career as a graphic novelist, and his experiences as the creator of March, including the intensive research that he and the authors did once they realized that the books were being used in history classes as well as English courses:
That quest for historical accuracy included not just reading every published book they could find about the movement, but digging into primary source documents as well. Doing so allowed ‘March’ to actually move the ball on the documented history of the time. In one case, Powell said, the minutes of a SNCC meeting held just before the first Freedom Ride in 1961 revealed that every other historical text available had erroneously named the wrong person as one of the original 13 participants. In another instance, a deep dive into FBI documents obtained by Top Shelf editors through the Freedom of Information Act revealed that Rosa Parks, whose simple act of defiance had sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, was a keynote speaker during an event on the steps of the Alabama Capitol after the bloody 1965 Selma to Montgomery march that spurred President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act.
“If Rosa Parks decided to bookend the civil rights movement by speaking at this event on the Alabama state Capitol steps,” Powell said, “one would think history would have that well-documented. … That’s a perfect example of how history is a living creature. We were actually able to find some photo stills that may have been FBI shots from observers in the crowd that actually showed what Rosa Parks was wearing. So ‘March: Book Three’ is the first book that actually transcribes and gets into Rosa Parks’ speech on the steps. It’s transcribed from FBI surveillance documents, but it just got lost in the shuffle.”
Matt Phelan talks about his the evolution of his graphic novel Snow White, which re-imagines the story set in the 1930s.
I was thinking about apple peddlers in the Great Depression (as one does) . . .
. . . and my brain connected that with the stepmother in “Snow White.” I sketched an image of a busy street, people racing by, with a single young woman stopped in her tracks before an old hag holding out an apple. I liked that idea so much that I began to think of more parallels for elements in the tale if they were set in the early 1930s.
Lafayette, Louisiana, is doing its third annual Lafayette Reads Together event, and this year’s choice is a graphic novel: Ms. Marvel: No Normal, the first volume of G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s comic about a 16-year-old Pakistani-American girl who inherits the mantle—and the shapeshifting powers—of Ms. Marvel.
Scott Cederlund on vol. 2 of Archie (Panel Patter)
A Library Girl on vol. 1 of Arisa (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
A Library Girl on Azumanga Daioh (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Jessikah Chautin on vol. 1 of Black Clover (No Flying, No Tights)
Sara Dempster on vol. 1 of Haikyu!! (No Flying, No Tights)
Julie P. on I Am Jim Henson (Booking Mama)
Jamie on Kid Beowulf: The Blood-Bound Oath (The Roarbots)
Garrett Gottschalk on The Kurdles (No Flying, No Tights)
Marion Olea on The Last Dragon (No Flying, No Tights)
BookNutGirls on Ms. Marvel: Super Famous (Book Nut)
Saeyong Kim on vol. 1 of QQ Sweeper (No Flying, No Tights)
A Library Girl on vol. 1 of Rocket Raccoon (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Stergios Botzakis on Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life (Graphic Novel Resources)
Michael Buntag on Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil (NonSensical Words)
Marissa Lieberman on vol. 1 of Yona of the Dawn (No Flying, No Tights)