March: Book Three, the final part of Congressman John Lewis's graphic novel memoir about his time in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, is now the first comic book ever to win the National Book Award.
Back in July, on the eve of the Democratic Party National Convention, Lewis was in San Diego to receive an Eisner Award for March along with his collaborators, co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell.
“I am delighted and overjoyed that the story of March is so pleasing to so many people all over America,” Lewis told the Washington Post. “This is a great honor, to receive an Eisner with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.”
The March trilogy was brought to Top Shelf Comix by Aydin, an aide in Lewis's office who helped Lewis navigate the intricacies of scripting a graphic novel. Lewis has said that he was open to the idea in part becuase of a comic book he read about Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was younger.
The first two books in the series were acclaimed as well, but it was March Book Three that has earned the most awards and attention.
You can see some tweets from Top Shelf's Leigh Walton below.
You're looking at the first people to ever win the National Book Award for a comic. pic.twitter.com/y1AhhKdCyD— Leigh Walton (@leighwalton) November 17, 2016
Top Shelf is now a part of the IDW Publishing brand, and Publishers Weekly caught up with IDW's publisher Ted Adams at the National Book Awards and streamed a short interview on Facebook.
"It's surreal," Adams said. "I'm a book person through and through. To be honest, this is the vision of John Lewis, so I very much just feel like I'm enjoying the experience but this is all about John Lewis and the creators of the book, and Chris Staros who had the vision to publish it through Top Shelf. I just feel very fortunate to be here."