Review: Run: Book One

march run

Title: Run: Book One
Creator: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (Illustrator), L. Fury (Illustrator)
Genres: Graphic novel, memoir
Pages: 152 pages
Publisher: Abrams ComicArts
Review copy: Purchased
Availability: Available now!

Summary: First you march, then you run. From the #1 bestselling, award–winning team behind March comes the first book in their new, groundbreaking graphic novel series, Run: Book One

“In sharing my story, it is my hope that a new generation will be inspired by Run to actively participate in the democratic process and help build a more perfect Union here in America.” –Congressman John Lewis

The sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel series March—the continuation of the life story of John Lewis and the struggles seen across the United States after the Selma voting rights campaign.

To John Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But that was after more than five years as one of the preeminent figures of the movement, leading sit–in protests and fighting segregation on interstate busways as an original Freedom Rider. It was after becoming chairman of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and being the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. It was after helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the ensuing delegate challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. And after coleading the march from Selma to Montgomery on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory. But John Lewis knew that victories are just the beginning. In Run: Book One, John Lewis and longtime collaborator Andrew Aydin reteam with Nate Powell—the award–winning illustrator of the March trilogy—and are joined by L. Fury—making an astonishing graphic novel debut—to tell this often overlooked chapter of civil rights history. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Review: March, the graphic novel series chronicling the early life of Civil Rights icon and congressman John Lewis, was simply incredible, and it more than deserved all the awards it won. The story of John Lewis cosplaying as himself and leading a march at Comic Con always warms my heart. The fact that John Lewis so deeply believed in the power of storytelling and its ability to reach new generations has stuck with me. When parents ask me for reading recommendations for their teens, I always take it as an opportunity to recommend the March series.

When I walked into a bookstore a month ago and saw the bright red cover of Run displayed on a table, I immediately texted my friends and family who have read March. I couldn’t believe it — there was a sequel series. It turns out, before his death, John Lewis worked closely with Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, and L. Fury to tell one more story — the story of what comes after marching.

Progress has never been linear, and that’s highlighted in Run. Despite the introduction of the Voting Rights Act, white supremacy still ran rampant and obstacles preventing Black people from voting were everywhere — sound familiar? Run digs into the historical context and John Lewis’ internal conflict during these times. As with March, the writing and illustrations are powerful.

The story is very much told from the point of view of John Lewis — including some more controversial perspectives. John Lewis’ voice comes throughly strongly, and it’s fitting that he didn’t shy away from portraying even his own doubts and uncertainty.

Like the March series, Run: Book One is graphic memoir that you should absolutely pick up — it’s timely, powerfully written, and a reminder of what’s at stake. I’ll be looking forward to Book Two and Book Three.

Recommendation: Buy it now!