Official Press Release
Coming to stores in May, IDW Publishing is proud to present the second and final volume of The Original Johnson, a bold graphic novel biography of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion and international celebrity. This gripping story brings the reader through Johnson’s life, including through his historic defeat of Tommy Burns to become champion. Long-time comics mainstay Trevor Von Eeden (Batman, Green Arrow) captures the essence of a nation’s struggle through the study of one of the best boxers of all time. Nominated for four Glyph Awards, including Story of the Year, The New York Times calls The Original Johnson “unflinching in its depiction of racism in America, the brutality of the boxing ring and the tragedies and triumphs of Johnson’s life.”
This two-volume series chronicles the gripping story of one man’s fight for equality. Volume Two picks up the story after the “Galveston Giant” had become a famous (and infamous) boxer. Pulling readers along with intense text and art, The Original Johnson showcases the barrier-shattering event in 1908, when Johnson beat a Burns for the heavyweight world championship, sparking racial clashes around the country. With his conquests across the color barrier both in and out of the boxing ring, this son of former slaves came to embody the struggle against racism that still plagues society today, and was an inspiration for generations of people fighting discrimination and inequality.
“The completion of Jack Johnson’s compelling saga is a story of uniquely American courage and perseverance,” editor Mike Gold stated. “Trevor’s storytelling and artwork is truly in the tradition of Jack Johnson, and marks the highpoint in this talented cartoonist’s career.”
Jack Johnson became a flash point in America’s racial evolution, not only for his repeated victories over white boxers, but also for his many relationships. During Johnson’s life, these were considered equal offenses, and The Original Johnson examines both with the same passion and graphic art.
“I can only begin to tell you how excited I am to see this entire story come out,” Von Eeden noted. “It marks the culmination of more than 15 years of work, and is my most important work to date. Jack Johnson is one of America’s greatest heroes, and I’m proud to bring his full story to life.”
A co-production from IDW Publishing and ComicMix, The Original Johnson will be a two-volume graphic novel totaling 240 pages of story, plus historical introductions. The Original Johnson contains some mature content.
The Original Johnson, Volume Two ($19.99, 136 pages) will be available in stores in May. An IDW/ComicMix co-production. ISBN 978-1-160010-664-4.
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