Comics AM: Rep. John Lewis' March Takes Four Library Awards

Awards | "March: Book Three," the final volume of Rep. John Lewis's graphic memoir, won four different awards at the American Library Association's midwinter meeting. The book, which was co-written by Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell, won the Coretta Scott King Award, which recognizes an African-American creator of books for children and young adults; the Printz Award for the best young adult book; the YALSA award for best YA nonfiction; and the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award. None of these awards are specific to graphic novels, and usually they go to prose books. "March: Book Three" also won the National Book Award last year, the first graphic novel to be so honored. [American Library Association]

Retailing | Peter Birkemoe owner of the legendary Toronto comic shop The Beguiling, talks about the practical and emotional aspects of the shop's move to a new location, and creators Michael DeForge, Jillian Tamaki, and Seth explain what the shop has meant to them. [Toronto Globe and Mail]

Comics | Unlike the U.S., the UK still has a newsstand market, but reporter David Barnett points out that most of the children's periodicals are garish trash with free gifts stuck to the front—nothing wrong with that, but there aren't a lot of comics on the inside. He talks to creators Jamie Smart and Lew Stringer about the current state of the British children's comics industry, and he looks at two very different standout comics: "The Phoenix," a childhood staple that is still going strong after 80 years, and "The Phoenix," a high-quality (but still very funny and goofy) weekly comic that is hard to find on newsstands but available in supermarkets and comic shops. The story includes an interview with "Phoenix" editor Tom Fickling about the creative side of the comic as well as its unusual business model. [The Independent]

Political Cartoons | "In this time of alternative facts and reality, we have to be blunt with the truth and show it," says political cartoonist Lalo Alcarez, who has been especially busy since Donald Trump was elected president. In a radio interview, he discusses using humor and satire to not only depict the current political situation but also encourage critical thinking—and maybe open a dialogue that starts to bridge the political divide. [PRI's The World]

Creators | I talked to the creative team on "DC Super Hero Girls," writer Shea Fontana and artist Agnes Garbowska, about creating teenage versions of the DC's most famous heroes and villains—and why they like Harley Quinn so much. The latest story arc takes the super teens on a journey through time that includes brief encounters with Amelia Earhart and Emily Dickinson, among others. [Good Comics for Kids]

Creators | In a radio interview, Julia Alekseyeva talks about finding her great-grandmother's memoir of life in Russia, from before the Revolution to after World War II, and turning it into the graphic novel "Soviet Daughter": "My great-grandmother was a very, very bright person but she was not educated in the classical sense of the term. ... [In her memoirs] there were a lot of run-on sentences, some words that were a little too casual ... and if I just translated directly from Russian to English you would lose that kind of aura. Also [by using the comics medium], people could actually visualize what was happening in this book, because I think it's hard for a lot of people who didn't grow up with the same imagery to really understand what these people were, what was going on in those regions — the uniforms, the parks. The idea of just Soviet living is so far, far removed from what most Americans expect." [NPR]

Creators | Tulsa native Robert Soul explains why he chose an alternate—but very recognizable—version of his hometown as the setting for his graphic novel "Ruined My Rhythm." [Tulsa World]

Graphic Novels | In the wake of the success of "March," Michael Dooley takes a look at another graphic novel about a hero of the Civil Rights movement, Ho Che Anderson's "King." [Print]

Graphic Novels | And I did a what-to-read-next roundup of graphic novels about race, racism, and civil rights. [Good Comics for Kids]

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