On sale date: February 17, 2005
A landmark graphic novel about the civil rights leader, complete in one volume.
This groundbreaking body of comics journalism collects Anderson's entire biography of the renowned civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over a decade in the making, the saga has been praised for its vivid recreation of one of the most tumultuous periods in U.S. history and for its accuracy in depicting the personal and public lives of King, from his birth to his assassination. King probes the life story of one of America's greatest public figures with an unflinchingly critical eye, casting King as an ambitious, dichotomous figure deserving of his place in history but not above moral sacrifice to get there. Anderson's expressionistic visual style is wrought with dramatic energy; panels evoke a painterly attention to detail but juxtapose with one another in such a way as to propel King's story with cinematic momentum. Anderson's successful use of the graphic novel to tell a major work of nonfiction has drawn favorable comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale, Joe Sacco's Palestine, and Osamu Tezuka's Adolph.
King not only recreates the major events in King's public life, but chronicles the daily, rough-and-tumble, behind-the-scenes political maneuverings and strategic compromises that were required to mobilize millions of people toward a common goal. His internal debates with Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson and his hardball negotiations with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson are dramatized. Anderson's achievement is not merely a political biography filled with names and dates, but a fully rounded portrait of a fallible human engaged in a superhuman effort his fears, his doubts, his relationship with his wife Coretta King, and his children are compassionately and truthfully rendered.
Anderson's visual approach includes the use of photographs, realistic portraiture, and expressionistic imagery alternating between stark black and white chiaroscuro and painterly full color. The dialogue is unflinchingly naturalistic and accurately reflects the moral urgency and labyrinthine political and practical complexities that King was navigating, from his deeply felt, personal commitment to a public cause to the wider political eruptions the country was experiencing. This is a respectful, unsparing, truthful biography of a man and his times that captures the moral and political gravitas of the cause as well as its human dimension. A major work of comics, depicting a major work of history.
"Any reader who is a fan of comic book biographies or historical comix will find that the King collection… remains an essential edition to any comic book library." — Leroy Douresseaux - ComicBook Bin
"Starred Review. Over 10 years in the making, weight and depth of a lifetime of research.... In the simplest scenes of King and his colleagues in discussion—in a car, a bar or a living room—Anderson brings readers into the space and makes history palpable. Through a varied graphic King comes alive." — Publishers Weekly
"Anderson's not interested in straight representation; he's using the materials of history as a springboard for his remarkable, impressionistic artwork, and figures out ways to keep even the slow parts visually engaging." — Douglas Wolk - Seattle Weekly
"The artwork is a visual feast, mixing realistic drawings with expressionistic paintings and photo-collage. Although primarily black and white throughout, a few dashes of color explode on pages that focus on particularly emotional times. With its complex, compelling storytelling and vivid illustrations, King brings one of the greatest figures in our history to life." — School Library Journal
"Rare and vital...adds a significant contribution to the depth of artistry and subject matter in the world of graphic literature." — Andrew Arnold - Time.com
- Paperback / Softback
- Full color.
- 7.4" × 11.1"