Top Shelf to Publish Graphic Novel co-written by Georgia Representative
February 7, 2010
Atlanta, GA – Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Top Shelf Productions have signed a publishing agreement. Top Shelf Productions has agreed to publish the graphic novel March, coauthored by Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, tentatively scheduled for release in 2012.
“I am very pleased to be participating in this effort,” said Congressman John Lewis. “This is something I really wanted to do some years ago and there is no better time to do it than now. 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.
“It is my hope,” said Congressman Lewis, “that this work will be meaningful and helpful to future generations to give many people here in America and around the world the urge, the desire, to seek, to build, their own world, their own future.”
A meditation in the modern age on the distance traveled, both as a nation and as a people, since the days of Jim Crow and segregation, March tells the first hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights.
The publishing agreement is an historic first, both for the U.S. Congress and graphic novel publishing as a whole, marking the first time a sitting Member of Congress has authored a graphic novel. Top Shelf Productions is the first and only graphic novel publisher to be certified by the House Committee on Standards.
“As a proud resident of Georgia, and a long-time fan of the honorable Congressman,” adds publisher Chris Staros, “this is truly a deep honor. To bring, not only his life’s story, but that of the Civil Rights Movement to the comics medium is truly exciting. This will make this historical and timeless message accessible to an entirely new generation of readers.”
An artist has yet to be named for the project though candidates are being actively considered.
JOHN LEWIS, is Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District Representative and
an American icon widely known for his role in the Civil Rights
As a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary in 1959, John
Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in
Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the
Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals
across the South. He was beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by
police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the
From 1963 to 1966, Lewis was Chairman of the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC). As Chairman, John Lewis became a
nationally recognized leader. Lewis was dubbed one of the Big Six
leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and at the age of 23, he was an
architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington
in August 1963.
In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter
registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi
Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the
most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Hosea Williams,
another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600
peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma,
Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to
Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The
marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal
confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News broadcasts and
photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South
helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries,
John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence.
After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil
Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his
participation in the Southern Regional Council’s voter registration
programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education
Project (VEP). In 1977, John Lewis was appointed by President Jimmy
Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, the federal
In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He was elected to
Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of
Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since then.
ANDREW AYDIN, an Atlanta native, currently serves in Rep. John Lewis’
Washington, D.C. office handling Telecommunications and Technology
policy as well as New Media. Previously, Andrew served as Communications
Director and Press Secretary during Rep. Lewis’ 2008 and 2010
re-election campaigns. Andrew is a graduate of the Lovett School in
Atlanta and Trinity College in Hartford, and is currently pursuing a
master’s degree at Georgetown University.