March, vol. 2-3

Three years ago, in order to celebrate the Black History Month, I commented on the first volume of this biographical comics by John Lewis. And last month, as I was talking about the Congressman death, I urged people to read this series. Then it occurred to me that I should follow my own advice and read volume two and three…

Book Two

March-Book-Two-cov“After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence — but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the movement’s young activists place their lives on the line while internal conflicts threaten to tear them apart.

But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy… and once Lewis is elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, this 23-year-old will be thrust into the national spotlight, becoming one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement and a central figure in the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”

[Text from publisher’s website and the inside flap; see also the back cover]

March: Book Two, by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Marietta GA: Top Shelf Productions, January 2015. 192 pg., Softcover, 6.5″ x 9.5″, 19.95 US / $25.95 Can. ISBN: 978-1-60309-400-9.

Book Three

March-Book-Three-cov“By the fall of 1963, the Civil Rights Movement has penetrated deep into the American consciousness, and as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis is guiding the tip of the spear. Through relentless direct action, SNCC continues to force the nation to confront its own blatant injustice, but for every step forward, the danger grows more intense: Jim Crow strikes back through legal tricks, intimidation, violence, and death. The only hope for lasting change is to give voice to the millions of Americans silenced by voter suppression: “One Man, One Vote.”

To carry out their nonviolent revolution, Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative campaigns, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and an all-out battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television. With these new struggles come new allies, new opponents, and an unpredictable new president who might be both at once. But fractures within the movement are deepening … even as 25-year-old John Lewis prepares to risk everything in a historic showdown high above the Alabama river, in a town called Selma.”

[Text from publisher’s website and the inside flap; see also the back cover]

March: Book Three, by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Marietta GA: Top Shelf Productions, August 2016. 256 pg., Softcover, 6.5″ x 9.5″, 19.99 US / $25.95 Can. ISBN: 978-1-60309-402-3.

After introducing John Lewis in Book One and explaining how he cames to be involved in the civil rights movement by joining the Nashville students nonviolent protests against segregation, we see him pushing forward, in Book Two, by participating in the Freedom Riders actions. His determination, despite the increasingly violent response to the movement, bring him to a leadership position as the chairman of the SNCC and to a speaking spot at the landmark March on Washington.

Book Two, pages 47 & 150

In Book Three, Lewis is involved with the organization of the Mississippi Freedom Summer. College students flock to the South to register as many as possible Black voters. Despite the fact that the Fifteenth Amendment gave the African-Americans the right to vote, they were facing unjust registration suppression (poll taxes and literacy tests). The project goal was to publicize and counteract this injustice, but it was met with great terror and intimidation (including the tragic events recalled in the movie Mississipi Burning). They also created the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in order to put delegates at the Democratic National Convention with great controversy. It failed but prompted Lyndon B. Johnson to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The protests, and the violent response from the South authorities, continue to escalate up to the march from Selma to Montgomery (on March 7, 1965) where Lewis led six-hundred marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and was gravely wounded. This event was a turning point that brought national and international attention to the question and prompted Johnson to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Interestingly, through the recounting of his involvement, Lewis doesn’t shy from talking about the dissent within the various civil rights organizations (mainly the SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and SCLC) and even to sometimes criticize the positions of Martin Luther King or Malcom X.

Book Three, pages 30 & 86

The storytelling of March is excellent and compelling. It is well supported and illustrated by the pretty good black and white art of Nate Powell. However it is sometime quite dark (lots of ink!) and the text in some speech balloons is way too small for my eyes — I guess the artist wanted to express the sound level of distant speech. This book is a real history lesson, and the perfect way to learn about the Civil Right Movement.

Strangely, everything I read in this comics sounds familiar. It seems that what’s happening right nowBlack Lives Matter, the increasing violence against minorities and even from the government itself — is eerily similar to the situation during the civil rights movement. We all thought that our society had made great progress since then, but sixty years later we realize that we find ourselves at the same point! The disease is apparently running deeper. It laid more or less dormant for a while but seems to have been awaken by the “insult” of having a black president, creating a slow resentment. Now, with the strong encouragement and even its institutionalization by President Trump,  there’s an increasingly strong push back against all civil rights (of the ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender or all sort of minorities) by the conservative Republicans (mostly the religious right). The United States are really in need of strong and comprehensive reforms to address this pervasive problem…

History is repeating itself (to quote Battlestar Galactica, “All this has happened before, and all this will happen again” — which seems inspired by the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:9) but it shouldn’t ! That’s why reading this comic is extremely important. If you understand the problem of the civil rights in the fifties and sixties — the what, why, who, where and how of it — you will understand what’s happening now: what it means, why it is so important. And maybe we will start to see how all this pervasive ethno-socio-economic inequity could be solved. 

Reading this book is an absolute must. It is an easy way to understand a complex problem that affects all our lives — but mostly the black lives. It really matter. Read it. Now. stars-4-0

For more information you can check the following websites:

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

© 2015-2016 John Lewis and Andrew Aydin.

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RIP John Lewis

March-Lewis-covSadly, Congressman John Lewis died yesterday [BBCCNNGoogle  NYTUSA Today]. He was a hero of the American Civil Right Movement, one of the “Big Six”. In March 1965, he received a severe head injury during the “Bloody Sunday” as he led protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge while attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery. Since 1988 he has held a seat at the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. He must be remembered for his accomplishments which are even more important in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.

I also want to remind everybody that John Lewis (in collaboration with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell) wrote a biographical comic book retelling his struggle. More than ever it is worth a look…

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsWikipediaWorldCat ]

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Pictorial chronicle [002.020.113]

Jour de la Terre

[ iPhone 11 Pro, le printemps dans VSP, 2020/04/20-22]

En ce jour de la Terre il est important d’avoir une bonne pensée pour cette planète qui nous nourrit et nous fait vivre malgré tous les abus que nous lui faisons subir. Cette année-ci est bien spéciale puisque c’est non seulement le cinquantième anniversaire de l’événement mais aussi parce que le confinement et la distanciation sociale que nous expérimentons en raison de la COVID-19 nous fait réaliser qu’il est possible et facile de réduire nos déplacements et notre consommation afin d’alléger le fardeau que l’humain impose à la planète. C’est quelque chose que nous devrions essayer de faire tous les jours de toutes les années. Pour la pérennité de la planète… [ Translate ]

Le chat du rabbin 9. La reine du Shabbat

le_chat_du_rabbin_9-cov“Le rabbin revient sur un élément ancien, fondateur du principe de départ de la série mythique de Joann Sfar. Le jour de l’enterrement de sa femme, il décide de garder un chat. Le chat. Pour Zlabya. Pour ne pas « être deux ». Des années plus tard, le chat se mit à parler. Un événement hors du commun qui questionna le rabbin sur sa foi, ses croyances, autant qu’il joua un rôle dans le désir de liberté et d’indépendance de la jeune Zlabya. Nous suivons Zlabya dans une aventure située entre le tome 1 et 2.”

[Texte du site de l’éditeur; voir aussi la couverture arrière]


Page 9

Le Malka des Lions raconte à des enfants incrédules l’histoire du chat du rabbin. Comme preuve il leur présente la longue tresse coupée de Zlabya, puis raconte l’histoire du jour où, se sentant incomprise, elle avait fugué de la maison et s’est fait passé pour un homme afin de pouvoir sortir avec sa copine Oreillette sans se faire emmerder par les hommes. Une fable féministe où Sfar ne manque pas, comme toujours, d’écorcher la religion (particulièrement la sienne, le judaïsme) au passage. Il discours sur l’absurdité de la religion et sur la névrose du juif, qui étouffe car il se sent pris entre les règles religieuses qui interdisent trop de choses et l’étrange hostilité du monde (l’antisémitisme). Si la situation est oppressante pour le juif Maghrébins, elle l’est d’autant plus pour la femme juive…


Page 10

J’avais peur que le chat du rabbin n’ait plus rien à dire mais, rassurez-vous, Sfar a plus d’un tour dans son sac. Grâce à un judicieux retour en arrière le félin philosophe retrouve toute sa verve. Il récapitule d’abord l’histoire du chat, et donc l’album est un peu lent à partir, mais dès la page quarante-six c’est le début du véritable récit. J’aime bien l’écriture de Sfar qui aborde des sujets difficiles avec humour. Il y a toujours quelques bon gags dans ses albums. J’adore l’épisode où, tant bien que mal, le rabbin essai de donner son sermon à la synagogue et ses ouailles n’arrêtent pas de l’interrompre: “C’est vrai peut-être que les juifs c’est les meilleurs pour raconter les histoires juives. Mais raconter une histoire juive à des juifs, pardon, mais c’est la croix.” 

J’avais trouvé les derniers albums un peu décevants mais celui-ci nous offre à nouveau un récit fort, intéressant, intriguant et divertissant. Par contre, j’ai toujours des réserves quand au style de Sfar, caractérisé par les planches à six cases (il s’y tient les trois-quart de l’album), son dessin ondulant qui donne aux planches une apparence un peu brouillonne et criarde, de même que le texte des bulles parfois difficile à déchiffrer. Mais, bon, c’est son style: avec le temps on s’y habitue et ce n’est plus une distraction. Ses histoires sont suffisamment enrichissantes et amusantes pour qu’on lui pardonne cet écart.

Comme toujours (et même plus) c’est une excellente lecture. À lire absolument, surtout pour les amateurs de chats et de métaphysique! Et Sfar nous annonce déjà un dixième album intitulé “Retournez chez vous!”

Le chat du rabbin, 9: La Reine de Shabbat, par Joann Sfar. Paris: Dargaud (Coll. Poisson Pilote), octobre 2019. 76 pages. 22.5 x 29.8 cm, 15,00 € / $C 26.95, ISBN 978-2205-07950-0. Pour lectorat adolescent (12 ans et plus). stars-4-0

Vous trouverez plus d’information sur les sites suivants:

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

© Dargaud 2019.

Voir aussi mes commentaires sur les volumes précédents:

chat-rabbin-tome-1-bar-mitsva chat-rabbin-2-malka-lions chat-rabbin-3-exode chat-rabbin-4-paradis-terrestre
chat-rabbin-5-jerusalem-d-afrique chat_du_rabbin_6-cov Chat_du_Rabbin-v7-cov ChatDuRabbin08-cov

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They called us enemy

They-Called-Us-EnemyGeorge Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s—and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon—and America itself—in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.

[Text from the publisher’s site; see also the backcover]

The second season of the TV series The Terror, subtitled Infamy, was set in a Japanese-American internment camp around old Japanese ghost stories. It was quite interesting (stars-3-5). George Takei, of Star Trek fame, who had experienced the camps in his childhood, was asked to be a consultant and, since he is also an actor, to be a member of the cast. He incorporated a lot of his own experience into the TV series. This comic memoir, where Takei recounts the whole traumatic experience of the internment camps, could be a good companion book to the TV series.


The storytelling is excellent as it not only chronicles the daily life of his family inside the camp, how he felt as a four-year-old and what was the impact on his later life, but it also tells us of the journey that brought him to want to share this story. However, if it is presented has a book for all ages, it should probably more appropriately targets a teenage readership as the story is very serious, with references to policies and politics that kids would probably not understand.

The artwork is generally nice but often a little crude and simplistic with an overuse of screentone to add shades and textures. The story would have been better served by a more professional graphic style. However, this look was probably chosen to make the book feel more accessible.

Overall, it is a very interesting comics about an important (but little known) part of American history that should be a mandatory reading in civics or history classes all over America. A must (particularly now).

They called us enemy, co-written by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker. Marietta: Top Shelf Comics (imprint of IDW Publishing), July 2019. 208 pages, 6.5 x 19 in, $US 19.99 / $C 25.99. ISBN 978-1-60309-450-4. For teenage readers (12+). stars-3-5

For more information you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

© 2019 George Takei

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Jour du souvenir

Souvenons-nous de quoi, au juste ?
Que de chair à cannon il a fallut servir…
Pour les intérêts d’un empire mourant ?

Qu’on nous avait promis que ce serait…
Une guerre pour qu’il n’y en ait plus jamais ?
Que pour les autres on meure vaillamment…
Mais refusons d’agir pour assurer l’avenir ?

Moi, j’oublierais volontiers ces temps injuste !


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Festival Végane 2019


Cette année, je suis encore aller faire un tour au Festival Végane de Montréal (je l’avais aussi visité en 2016 et 2018). Non pas que je sois moi-même végane (partisan du véganisme ou végétalisme intégral, à ne pas confondre avec les habitants de la planète Vega — les méchants de Goldorak ou du système stellaire) mais par simple curiosité, pour explorer les nouvelles tendances de l’alimentation santé. 

Le Festival Végane de Montréal se tenait donc au Palais des Congrès les samedi 21 et dimanche 22 septembre 2019. La foule était au rendez-vous et il y avait de nombreux exposants — malheureusement d’année en année il semble que ce soit toujours les même. La salle de conférence était un peu plus accessible que l’année précédente mais on y retrouvait surtout des démonstrations culinaires (alors que les premières années il y avait surtout des organisations socio-politiques qui parlaient des enjeux véganes: protection des animaux, agriculture urbaine, lutte contre l’industrie pharmaco-agro-alimentaire, etc. — cette année ces organisations étaient relégué à la dernière allée, au fond du salon). C’était donc un peu décevant mais tout de même toujours assez informatif…

Continuez la lecture (plus de détails et photos) après le saut de page >>

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Continue reading

About Greta

She was in the news a lot lately, but I didn’t pay much attention until I saw her speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit this morning. It was an incredible speech, beautiful and emotional. It shows that she is an incredible girl.  Greta Thunberg was raised in a strongly cultured environment (her grandfather is/was an actor, her father is an actor and writer and her mother is an opera singer!) so it is not a surprise that she is well awaken to the state of the world. She started protesting alone, but finally won many followers. She gaves many speeches (you can also watch her TED speech) and published a book about them. She crossed an ocean in a sail boat to come deliver that latest speech. And yet, she is just a teenager.

She also received lots of criticisms from morons: they complained about her looks (yes, she’s sixteen but looks like she’s ten), about her mental health (she suffers from Asperger’s syndrome), accused her of not writing her own speeches, of being manipulated. She responded that such personal attacks only show that her detractors have “no argument or nothing else to say”. Indeed. And, frankly, who cares? It is simply beautiful to see such idealism, courage and determination in a young person. People should just admire that and not try to ruin it merely because they are mean or jealous.

Some people also complained that such idealism won’t amount to anything. Yes, it’s cute to see a teenage girl do all those things, but it will not move the mountains that need to be moved to succeed in saving the planet. At best, they say, it is a distraction. After all, mass shootings like Sandy Hook or Stoneman Douglas H.S. (despite the short-lived activism of some of its students) failed to change anything in the U.S. gun law… Why should it be different with this wave of protestations and manifestations ? To that I answer: Why not? What do we have to lose as we realize more and more that our planet is indeed on fire? Certainly, it cannot do any harm. It will build up and eventually the back of the proverbial camel will break…

Greta actions are great. They are an inspiration to all, but mostly to her own generation. Yes, the young people tend to be apathetic and rarely vote or express opinion. But that seems to be changing now. The U.S. mid-term elections of 2018 is the proof as more young people, more women and more minorities voted. Also more women, more minorities and younger candidates (including the infamous “Squad”) were elected. It shows that the ground is finally moving and activism is changing. Hopefully, the ball will keep rolling and might bring real change this time. And Greta will be a great inspiration.

Greta’s Books

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference (Penguin, 2019, 80 pg, $9.99): a collection of Greta’s speech. [ AmazonGoodreadsPenguinWikipediaWorldCat ]

Rejoignez-nous : #grèvepourleclimat (Kero, 2019, 30 pg, $4.95): extracts from Greta’s speech at the 2019 Davos forum. [ AmazonGoodreadsWorldCat ]

Our house is on fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis, by Malena Ernman with Greta, Beata and Svante Thunberg. (Penguin, 288 pg, £16.99, to be released on 2020/03/05; originally published in Swedish on 2018/08/23): A biography of Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman where, among other things, she recounts (with the collaboration of her husband Svante Thunberg and daughters Greta and Beata) how Greta came to be involved in climate activism. [ GoodreadsPenguinWikipedia ]

All this reminds me of Bill Nye The Science Guy’s speech about the planet being on fire on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2019/05/12). Here’s the short clip but you can find the whole video on Youtube:

Will the people in power finally listen? Nothing individuals like us can do will help much (of course we can do our part with the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle — and we can get involved in activism!). The only solution is political: we must pressure — by all means possible — the politicians so they enact the necessary changes to save the planet, to save ourselves. Changes like stopping being so darn dependant on fossil energy, like investing all we can in renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.), like passing laws to force everyone to do their part (like forbidding gas engines in car starting in five years from now for new cars, and ten years from now for ALL cars — switching to electric or fuel cell engines), or like really sticking to the Paris Agreement, like promoting sustainability at all levels, like changing society itself, like the Green New Deal, etc. This is our last chance. For the future generations.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t change anything. Humans are stupid and because of that we are most likely doomed. However, we are also driven, moved and inspired by hope…

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Puzzling young TV drama

This week-end I watched a few episodes of two puzzling Teen/YA TV drama with enigmatic titles.


pandora-posterSet in the year 2199, a young woman who has lost everything finds a new life at Earth’s Space Training Academy where she learns to defend the galaxy from intergalactic threats.

The first one is titled Pandora and is a Star Trek wannabe with poor special effects and quite average acting — after all they are young adults in college so maybe it’s normal if they sound contrived. With just two episodes it is difficult to judge the writing, but so far it is intriguing enough that I might watch more. After all, series like the original Star Trek or Doctor Who have managed very well despite their low-budget production. Everything is in the writing. We shall see. It airs Tuesdays on The CW at 20:00 ET. It’s too early to have a rating on aggregators (but IMDb gives it a 3.8). stars-2-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ CW GoogleIMDbWikipedia ]



MV5BMDMzZDkyNzEtYTY5Ni00NzlhLWI4MzUtY2UzNjNmMjI1YzIzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDM2NDM2MQ@@._V1_A group of high school students navigates drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship.

The second is a teen drama based on a 2012 Israeli series and is titled Euphoria. So far seven episodes have already aired but I’ve seen only the latest. It is diverse, brutal, scary even, sometimes psychedelic, but seems brilliantly written with generally pretty good acting. It is really modern: filmed video clip style, crazy fast-paced, with lots of violence and nudity, and, of course, it is making use of social media as narrative device. The main character is a bipolar drug addict who’s trying to make sense of her world… A little exhausting to watch, but promising. It airs Sundays on HBO at 22:00 ET. It has been rated 79% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2 on IMDb. stars-3-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ GoogleHBOIMDbWikipedia ]

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Gentleman Jack

GentlemanJack-posterThis is another fascinating TV series that I am compelled to introduce to my readership. HBO has finally realized what PBS knew for a long time: well produced costume drama British TV series can be very popular in America too! They are now starting to co-produced Brit TV series in order to bring them over this side of the Atlantic, but their choice of titles is more edgy or controversial than what PBS is doing. And I am very grateful for that.

Gentleman Jack tells the story of Anne Lister, a landowner and industrialist from Halifax, West Yorkshire. She is known for being the first well-documented “modern lesbian”, as she left coded diaries chronicling in details her daily life, including her romantic relationships and the workings of her Shibden Hall estate and business. Set in 1832, the series mostly tells about her venture in coal mining and her relationship with Ann Walker. It started mainly for the challenge of the conquest and partly for financial interest, but she quickly becomes quite fond of the wealthy heiress. First, I was shocked by how she was planning to win her affection, but I quickly realized that if a man would have been doing the same thing it would have appeared totally normal! 

The acting is excellent (Lister is played by Suranne Jones and Walker by Sophie Rundle) and the story (created by Sally Wainwright) is well written and quite funny. The series is interesting not only because it displays the beautiful English countryside and makes us discover the eccentricity, boldness and modernity of Anne Lister, but above all because it opens a window on the way of life of the English country folks and small nobility at a time when everything is about the change. 

Gentleman Jack is an excellent historical drama that deserves your attention. It was well received by the critics (with ratings of 8.0 on IMDb and of 87% / 93% on Rotten Tomatoes). The first eight-episode season just ended, but it is still streaming on HBO. A second season has already been announced. I can’t wait to hear again the ending credits’ catchy tune by O’Hooley & Tidow!stars-4-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ GoogleHBOIMDbOfficialWikipedia ]

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