VIDEO | Interpreting the Past Through Comics


Recorded May 11, 2021

Comic books have been a fixture for American children for generations. Often relegated (and sometimes maligned) to pulp fiction and cheap, simplistic entertainment, and even regulated and censored for a time in part due to congressional concerns about glorification of violence and even communism, comics today have reached beyond capes and monsters to tackle complex and significant cultural issues, including some of America’s most difficult histories.

Visual History: Interpreting the Past Through Comics explores how creators have used comics and graphic novels to tell the stories of the Civil Rights Movement, Japanese internment, and our current rash of police violence against African-Americans in new and accessible ways that reach wide audiences that may not frequent library stacks or academic lectures.

Panelists

  • Justin Eisinger is the co-author of the New York Times best selling graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy, George Takei’s story of childhood internment during World War II. He was previously the Editorial Director of Graphic Novels & Collections at IDW Publishing.
  • Brian Hawkins is the co-author of Black Cotton, a comic set in an alternate reality where white people are an oppressed minority in America and a black police officer connected to a powerful family kills a white woman. This story makes clear allusions to the murder of George Floyd and others by police in American, grappling with an incredibly current history in a creative way.
  • David Walker is an award-winning comic writer of The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History. He is also a celebrated scholar of African-American cinema and scribe for numerous titles for Marvel, DC Comics, Dynamite, and Dark Horse, including Luke Cage, Occupy Avengers, Cyborg, and Shaft.

This event is generously sponsored by the Lowell Institute.


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