‘Calling Dr. Laura’: A Lost Father, Five Dogs and a Pet Chicken

Originally published on GoshenCommons.org January 6, 2014

“Nicole J. Georges: Friend to Creatures” reads the label on the home page of this week’s author/artist. Mainly a writer and illustrator, Georges is also for hire, according to her website, as a pet portraitist, punk aerobics instructor, advice columnist, and teacher of comics and self-publishing workshops, especially for young girls.

Here are some of her drawings and paintings:

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March: Comics, Civil Rights and the Story of Congressman John Lewis

Originally published on GoshenCommons.org November 25, 2013

(UPDATE: The March trilogy is complete! Here’s what Book Three looks like, and you can get all three in a boxed set.)

Most of the comics I’ve reviewed in this blog have been for entertainment, but the history of comics is also closely tied with education. Comics versions of literary classics and the Bible, for example, have been created for audiences disinclined to sit down and read a book.

This sometime association of comics with educational purpose is part of why the genre is often dismissed by artists and art critics who consider any predetermined goal or meaning a corruptive influence on art. As high Modernist poet Archibald MacLeish famously put it in “Ars Poetica,” “A poem should not mean / But be.” Art in its “pure” state is (supposedly) objective, devoid of any specific point or purpose beyond artistic “expression.”

Plenty of comics—perhaps the majority—aim to tell good stories rather than communicate a particular purpose, but the history of comics with more specific political goals is just as rich and fascinating. One such artifact from the Civil Rights era is a comic produced in 1958 by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, or FOR.


“Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” was designed to teach the fast-growing ranks of nonviolent protesters about the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., the site of Rosa Parks’s famous protest, and also to educate them in the most effective methods for continuing the practice in other locations.

Congressman John Lewis, one of the most prominent surviving figures from the Civil Rights movement, was inspired by the 1958 comic book, and was convinced by his comics-nerd staffer, now co-writer, Andrew Aydin, to tell his own story in comic-book form. The result is “March: Book One,” the first of a projected trilogy.


Continue reading “March: Comics, Civil Rights and the Story of Congressman John Lewis”

Childhood in Black and White: ‘Marble Season,’ by Gilbert Hernandez

Originally published on GoshenCommons.org October 29, 2013

We’ve been discussing color comics almost exclusively, so I’ll start this review with the only color pictures in the book, so you don’t feel like Dorothy returning to colorless Kansas. Here are the cover and inside cover of “Marble Season,” by Gilbert Hernandez:


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