Graphic novel on history of protests in English-speaking countries


This music video from the USA says about itself:

Public Enemy – Fight The Power (Full 7 Min. Version)

From 1990 Album: “Fear Of A Black Planet“. Song first appeared on the 1989 Soundtrack: “Do The Right Thing”.

By Michal Boncza in Britain:

Framed for posterity

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Fight The Power, a history of popular struggle globally, makes highly effective use of the graphic novel format, says MICHAL BONCZA

Fight The Power: A Visual History of Protest Among English-speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson, Benjamin Dickson, Hunt Emerson, John Spelling and Adam Pasion (New Internationalist, £9.99)

“FIRST they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you and then you win,” Mahatma Gandhi once remarked about political struggle.

His words come to mind when reading this inspiring book in the graphic novel format, particularly in a period when there’s a dearth of epoch-defining popular struggles in the Anglo-Saxon world. It’s a salutary reminder of what has been achieved so far but which is often and unwisely taken for granted.

Gandhi’s words about the protracted and open-ended nature of struggle are borne out in all the histories recorded here.

As early as 1776 the founding fathers of the US bestowed on its citizenry the largely nominal right to dissent. But it was exercised to spectacular political effect by Rosa Parks in 1955, when she stood up to bus segregation, kick-starting the historic civil rights protests.

In New Lanark in 1817, the socialist Robert Owen propagated a day divided into three eight-hour periods of work, recreation and rest — it would, however, take well over a century for this goal to be achieved.

Other histories include the Peterloo massacre, rebellions in Ireland, the Suffragette movement, the trial of Nelson Mandela and the 1990 poll tax riots.

The concise graphic novel narrative makes each story easy to grasp and as such the book is an ideal teaching aid for the history curriculum in schools or further education colleges.

Graphic novels resemble film shorts where frame management and composition is as important, if not more so, than the words in speech bubbles.

It is the harmonious balance of the two that impacts and Hunt Emerson is in a class of his own in his work on the Luddites, the Swing Riots and Fragging, the practice of enlisted men shooting superior officers which was so prevalent during the Vietnam war.

His attention to detail within the rigorous demands of the larger tableaux, the organisation of movement and a mesmerising ability to render emotions both individual and collective, along with the textures and vigour of line, are outstanding.

In The Battle of Toledo and The Trial of Nelson Mandela, John Spelling’s sparser composition records the action news-camera style, with sudden changes of angles, unexpected “freeze” frames and long-shots that are real page-turners. The sketchbook drawing style aptly mimics the dynamism of those pivotal events.

They’re typical of the stimulating work throughout the book, which is well worth snapping up.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Graphic novel on history of protests in English-speaking countries

  1. Pingback: Mike Leigh will make Peterloo massacre film | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Captain Swing protests in 19th century Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: ‘Atheism is terrorism’, Saudi government says | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.