Robot 6

President Clinton endorses graphic novel by Rep. John Lewis

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Top Shelf Productions will publish a graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis, co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell in August; titled March, it’s the first of three books that chronicle Lewis’ life and involvement in the Civil Rights movement. This first book focuses on his youth in rural Alabama and the start of the Nashville Student Movement.

And as you can see in the image above, the back cover will sport a cover blurb from former U.S. President Bill Clinton. His quote says:

“Congressman John Lewis has been a resounding moral voice in the quest for equality for more than 50 years, and I’m so pleased that he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America’s young leaders. In March, he brings a whole new generation with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, from a past of clenched fists into a future of outstretched hands.”
— President Bill Clinton

Now, like me, you might have seen this and thought, “OK, cool … that’s a huge name to have endorsing your book. But do back cover blurbs really mean anything?” Luckily about five minutes after I saw Top Shelf’s news, I happened to notice this blog post from First Second’s Gina Gagliano, titled “Why Do Cover Blurbs Matter?” So why do they matter, Gina?

“… what cover blurbs do is provide another voice,” she wrote. “Obviously, everything you see on the cover of the book has filtered through the author and a publisher — they’re not going to make choices like, ‘Boys in middle-school hate pastel pink books; I think we should make this middle-school book about football with two boy main characters pastel pink!’ Authors and publishers are doing all they can with the title, art, copy, effects, etc. to convince readers to pick up the book. But that’s all from the publisher and author, who (consumers are able to realize) have a financial incentive in convincing readers that they should pick up a book.

“A blurb (even though it is put on a cover assembled by the publisher; publishers probably aren’t going to put terrible blurbs on their cover) is from an outside source. Even though that source can be influenced by the publisher or the author, that blurb-providing person is still independent — they’re probably not going to give a book a blurb that says, ‘Best thing ever!’ if they actually think it’s the worst.”

March is due out Aug. 13.

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Comments

4 Comments

Chris P. Bacon

May 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

President Clinton also endorsed the Cyborg Superman. Look at how well that turned out.

The first time I ever voted was for the president Clinton, not because of the issues or the credibility of the candidate, but because he seemed ‘cool’ and went on the Arsenio Hall show playing the saxophone. What a poser I was.

I hope Mr. Lewis’s book does well.

Its cool that Bill Clinton thinks this is a good book, but the bigger story here is that John Lewis, a giant in the civil rights movement, is not only telling his fascinating story but doing so in the medium of the graphic novel. I’m not sure why this news story is about who wrote a book blurb rather than the book itself.

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