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John Lewis, Top Shelf Productions Shower Congress With Free Comics

Top Shelf Productions, publisher of the top-selling graphic novel based on Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis’ contributions to the civil rights movement, is spreading the wealth this holiday season, gifting his congressional colleagues with a free download of digital versions of “March” and “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.”

(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)
(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)

Lewis has spent the better part of the year sharing his debut graphic novel, the first in a planned three-part series, with the world. He broke ground by being the first sitting lawmaker to brave the wilds of Comic-Con, matched wits with a parade of cable talk show hosts (Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow) and has chatted up everyone from trained librarians to local readers.

This latest effort, however, appears to be more personal, as Lewis conveys in a note to be delivered to every congressional office today.

“Many years ago, a comic book about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped inspire me to learn about the philosophy of nonviolence, an idea that became the most important principle of my career and my life,” Lewis writes of the life-changing read, since resurrected by his burgeoning success.

Top Shelf Productions spokesman Leigh Walton said lawmakers could claim the free books by creating a comiXology account and then accessing them wherever they like (Web browser, smartphone, tablet). Per the commemorative packaging, the complimentary downloads will apparently be available until Jan. 2.

“Just like the comic book I read more than 50 years ago, it is my hope that this graphic novel can inspire new generations to speak up and speak out, to make their voice heard, and, hopefully, to make our nation a more just and peaceful place for all,” Lewis suggests to his colleagues in the accompanying note.

Those who treasure the weight and feel of the printed word can still score signed copies of “March” tonight at Barnes & Noble (555 12th St. NW). Lewis and his co-author, Hill aide Andrew Aydin, will be inking their names into hard copies of the historical tale beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Should any lawmakers become hooked on graphic novels after thumbing through “March,” here are a few other titles that might be worth perusing:

  • Brain Boy/Dark Horse Comics: this irreverent send-up of the reluctant hero genre follows the misadventures of neurotic psychic/Secret Service agent Matt Price, aka Brain Boy, as he gets wrapped up in international intrigue.
  • Punk Rock Jesus/Dark Horse Comics: Church meets state (with a little help from pop culture) in this satirical look at cloning, religion, reality television and, of course, punk r-a-w-k!
  • Age of Ultron/Marvel: required reading for those who wish to study up before the “Avengers” sequel (summer 2015) blasts its way into the local multiplex.
Need more comics guidance? Talk to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., the Senate’s leading Batman fan.

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