Comic Review: Seen: Edmonia Lewis (BOOM! Studios)

Seen: Edmonia Lewis, an original Graphic Novel from BOOM! Box, is the non-fiction account of the life of Edmonia Lewis, an American black woman. It’s the first graphic novel in […]

Seen: Edmonia Lewis, an original Graphic Novel from BOOM! Box, is the non-fiction account of the life of Edmonia Lewis, an American black woman.

It’s the first graphic novel in a series entitled “Seen: True Stories of Marginalized Trailblazers”. In other words, “Stories of the real groundbreakers who changed our world for the better.” Heroes, inventors, artists, activists, and more.

Written by Jasmine Walls, Seen: Edmonia Lewis attempts to encapsulate the long and industrious life of Lewis, who was born in Greenbush New York in 1844. Daughter of a Canadian First Nations woman named Catherine Mike Lewis and an Afro-Haitian father, Edmonia eventually left her extended family and began to pursue a formal education and established a successful career as a sculptor.

Life was never easy for Edmonia, of course, and the graphic novel takes us along through her life, taking careful note of the racism, sexism, and financial hardships she endured. It’s an inspiring account, overall, of her determination to succeed and excel at her passion.

The illustrations, by Bex Glendining, are suitable for the ‘real’ purpose of this series, that of educating young people. While historically accurate, the drawings are without typical ‘comic book drama’, with emphasis on thin black line artwork and flat colour. Complicated passages of Edmonia’s life are encapsulated without overly detailed scenarios; sometimes we would like to see a bit more in terms of her sculpting process, or the surroundings in which she lived.

In addition to notes and bibliography, the graphic novel also contains an extensive, detailed Teaching Guide, helping students examine and discuss her life and accomplishments.

BOOM! Box, Seen: Edmonia Lewis, $5.99 or similar price for 82 pages of content.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!