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Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography by Andrew…
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Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography

by Andrew Helfer

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This book offered a strong and detailed look into the life of Malcolm X. He was a man of many skills and he was quite popular. Malcolm, during his younger years, was into a lot of trouble. He ended up being sent to prison where he was, in my opinion, manipulated into joining the Nation of Islam. After he became a member, his life took on a drastic turn that eventually led to his death at age 45.

I would undoubtedly share this book with seventh and eighth graders. It is a realistic look at his time. Instead of things happening dealing with racism being sugar-coated, as I realized my teachers did with me, this book puts them in your face. I could see reading this book during Black History Month. It is also a more fun read because the images in the book really contribute to the story. I would also be a little concerned about how students would process this information presented, because, like I said, it is a jarring experience and it is real. Breaking the class up into small groups so they can express how they felt about it and hear feedback from other students would also be a great idea.

I really enjoyed the book. It was a different experience for me because I have not read a comic book in quite some time. I have seen the movie based on his life and it was interesting to see the connection between the graphic book and the movie. My favorite part of the book was when Malcolm realizes that the man he idolized was actually human and sort of a fake. That would be a good lesson to express to students: never place anyone on a pedestal because you never know what that person is going through. ( )
1 vote AshleyMarkeitaTate | Feb 14, 2011 |
Malxolm X, a graphic biography, is just that...a graphic novel biography. It is 102 pages of black and white graphics and small print. The graphics are sequential, left to right, top to bottom. It begins with his childhood and follows his career through his assassination.

Since I knew nothing about Malcolm X, everything in the book was new to me. I learned of his reckless youth, his jail time, his rise in the Nation of Islam and his ultimate splitting with it. While it was somewhat informative, the issues I have with it are:
1. The graphics, as far as I was concerned, did not add to the narrative. They were mundane.
2. The narrative was confusing as to how the NOI actually got started, its precepts, and how Malcolm X fit into the organization.
3. The reader did not get a good sense of what Malcolm X believed and why his beliefs and/or knowledge of NOI got him killed.

VOYA called the drawings 'gritty'. I didn't feel that way.

School Library Journal stated that "Many of the drawings have the quality of photographs that have been repeatedly photocopied until fine details disappear, lending a documentary feel to the imagery." I didn't feel that way either. I didn't think much of the illustrations.

Publishser's Weekly stated "Unfortunately, as the story gets into the complicated dynamics within the NOI and Malcolm X's eventual break from the group, the narrative becomes tangled. The same drawings that make Malcolm X's youth so vivid can't portray the political in-fighting with the same clarity, giving instead a glance at the last few years of his life. " This I do agree with.

Conclusion: I hope there are better examples of graphic novel Biographies, because this didn't do it for me. Next on my list is Persepolis. I hoep that works.

The only thing going for Malcolm X is the subject matter. That, and the mere 102 pages, will attract readers. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Nov 3, 2010 |
This biography gives the reader an idea of how Malcolm X's adolescent experiences influenced the development of his beliefs, which would be easily relatable to many young adults. Helfer focuses mainly on how events in Malcolm’s youth, particularly the racism Malcolm experienced, shaped his later life as a confrontational leader against white racism. The detail of Randy DuBurke's illustrations and the intensity of the story's themes provide a fascinating candid look at Malcolm X’s life.
  YAlit | Apr 29, 2009 |
Saul Vences
2-19-09
Academic issues
Malcolm X

The book I chose was “Malcolm X” written by Andrew Helfer and art done by Randy DuBurke. The main character is Malcolm Little. He was an African American born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. His mother Louise Norton was a light-skinned African American. His father Earl Little was dark-skinned but was Caucasian. Malcolm’s father wanted to pass down his name to him but when he was born his father said he was not dark-skinned enough to have his name.

On September 28, 1931 his father fought with his mother and just left. The next morning police called reporting Earl Little, his father was ran over by a trolley car. It was hard for his mother to take care of four kids on her own. She was ashamed that she needed to rely on charity to feed her children. His mother was judged insane in January 1939. Malcolm went to foster care and was separated form his brothers and sisters.

When Malcolm was sixteen he learned about “hustling” on the streets. This all worked out good until he got caught by the cops. He lost it all. He was prosecuted and was let go because he was to young. He latter became a thief and got caught on February 1946. They arrested him this time they didn’t let him go. He was sentence eight to ten years. He came out 7 years later he was a Muslim by this time. He was in an organization called the NOI. He found out it was all a lie what he had lived by so left. Malcolm was hated by a lot of people because he made them think in what he once thanked.

On 1964 he meets Martin Luther King, Jr. for the first and only time after a King news conference. He traveled a lot. He Travels to Makkah and Africa as Malik El-Shabazz. In Makkah, seeing the beauty of the unity of humanity, he embraces true Islam. He comes back to the U.S. thinking differently about white people. He forms the Organization for Afro-American Unity. He had four daughters with his wife who was Betty Sanders. This was a very good book. This book kept me going. I would really recommend this book to any body who like to read about struggles and that likes to see pictures with your reading. I thought this book was exciting and very interesting.
  svences | Feb 20, 2009 |
Francis Bernardo
Academic issues
Period 1
Malcolm x

The Graphic Novel “Malcolm X” is written by Andrew Helfer and illustrated by
Randy Duburke (both from comic book companies). They delivered the story of
Malcolm in a unique way that will be more interesting for teens.
The characters in the story is the same as the real life people featured in his life since it’s a biography. Malcolm is witty, tough, and funny. The other characters are tough and
street smart because they live in New York and they live in a dark time.
This story took place during the 1920s-1960s. The time was dark and hatred was
everywhere. The illustrations of duburke showed the grittiness of the places
magnificently. The theme of “Malcolm X” is racism in America as well as the coming of
age.
The story is basically Malcolm wanting the world to change and trying to make a
difference. But the problem is that everyone he knew and trusted turned against him,
including Muslims and black men.
This is a graphic novel biography about one of history’s most important man and they
made this book to tell Malcolm’s story to teens. And I must say that they did their jobs,
this book is very readable once you read it you won’t be able to put it down. I give this
book a five out of five. ( )
  clarkjkent | Feb 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809095041, Hardcover)

The age of multitasking needs better narrative history. It must be absolutely factual, immediately accessible, smart, and brilliantly fun. Enter Andrew Helfer, the award-winning graphic-novel editor behind Road to Perdition and The History of Violence, and welcome the launch of a unique line of graphic biographies.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these graphic biographies qualify as tomes. But if you're among the millions who haven't time for another doorstop of a biography, these books are for you.
With the thoroughly researched and passionately drawn Malcolm X, Helfer and award-winning artist Randy DuBurke capture Malcolm Little's extraordinary transformation from a black youth beaten down by Jim Crow America into Malcolm X, the charismatic, controversial, and doomed national spokesman for the Nation of Islam.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:45 -0400)

The age of multitasking needs better narrative history. It must be absolutely factual, immediately accessible, smart, and brilliantly fun. Enter Andrew Helfer, the award-winning graphic-novel editor behind Road to Perdition and The History of Violence, and welcome the launch of a unique line of graphic biographies. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these graphic biographies qualify as tomes. But if you're among the millions who haven't time for another doorstop of a biography, these books are for you. With the thoroughly researched and passionately drawn Malcolm X, Helfer and award-winning artist Randy DuBurke capture Malcolm Little's extraordinary transformation from a black youth beaten down by Jim Crow America into Malcolm X, the charismatic, controversial, and doomed national spokesman for the Nation of Islam.… (more)

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