Al Capp’s Martin Luther King Comic

The Toonseum in downtown Pittsburgh, PA is featuring an exhibit on an extraordinary civil rights artifact: a 1958 comic book titled “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story”.  Based on scholarly research by Carlow College art-history professor Sylvia Rhor, the exhibit traces the funding of the comic by The Fellowship of Reconciliation and its creation by Al Capp studios. Blacklisted comic writer Benton Resnick, who had testified at the Senate Comic Book Hearings of 1954, was hired to write the script.

The comic book tells the story of the legendary 376 day bus boycott in Montgomery AL, that is seen as one of the first significant steps in the civil rights movement of the 1950′s. “The Montgomery bus boycott was one of the initial events of the Civil Rights struggle,” Rhor says. “It inspired the sit-ins, it inspired the Freedom Rides, it inspired a lot of the movements that came after it.”

Originally published in a print run of 250.000 copies, only a handful remain in the United States.  It was reprinted in many foreign editions as well.

Full story: Pittsburgh Tribune Review

 


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