The Small Press Expo is pleased to announce civil rights icon and first-time graphic novelist Congressman John Lewis, as a special guest at SPX 2013, to be held Saturday September 14 and Sunday September 15. Congressman Lewis will be in addition to previously announced guests Seth, Lisa Hanawalt, Gary Panter, Frank Santoro and Gene Yang.
SPX is honored that a sitting member of Congress will be attending the show. Congressman Lewis will be promoting his first graphic novel, March (Book One), published by Top Shelf Productions. The book was co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by the award-winning graphic novelist Nate Powell.
For more information on the book (the first in a planned trilogy), visit Topshelfcomix.com.
John Lewis, American Icon
John Lewis is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s fifth congressional district and an American icon widely known for his role in the civil rights movement. He first joined the movement as a seminary student in Nashville, organizing sit-ins and participating in the first Freedom Rides, which challenged illegal segregation at bus stations across the South. He soon became the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and one of the “Big Six” national leaders of the movement, alongside such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. and A. Philip Randolph.
As SNCC chairman, Lewis was an architect of, and the youngest featured speaker, at the historic 1963 March on Washington, and was a key figure in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. Together with Hosea Williams, he led the landmark 1965 Selma–Montgomery March (known as “Bloody Sunday”), where police brutality spurred national outrage and hastened passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Despite physical attacks, serious injuries, and more than 40 arrests, John Lewis has remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of non-violence. His subsequent career has included voter registration activism, service on the Atlanta City Council, and over 25 years in Congress.
Lewis was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011, and was the first recipient of the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award. His 1998 book Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, called “the definitive account of the civil rights movement” (The Washington Post), won numerous honors, including the Robert F. Kennedy, Lillian Smith, and Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. His most recent book, Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, received the NAACP Image Award.
Small Press Expo (SPX) is the pre-eminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels, and alternative political cartoons. SPX is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit that brings together more than 400 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers, and distributors each year. Graphic novels, mini comics, and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators. The festival will also feature a series of panel discussions and interviews with this year’s guests.
The Ignatz Award is a festival prize held every year at SPX, with the winners chosen by attendees at the show.
As in previous years, profits from the SPX will go to support the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program, which funds graphic novel purchases for public and academic libraries, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), which protects the First Amendment rights of comic book readers and professionals. For more information on the CBLDF, visit their website at http://www.cbldf.org.
SPX also supports the Small Press Expo Collection at the Library of Congress, which preserves the history of both the artistic output of the creators who come to SPX, as well as the art that SPX itself generates as part of its yearly festival. It the first program of its type by a major institution in the United States to preserve the works of the indie comics community.