Eugene Victor Debs led the Socialist Party in the early twentieth-century to federal and state office across the country, helped to pioneer a fighting union politics that organized all workers, and became the beloved figurehead of American radicalism. Imprisoned for speaking out against World War I, Debs ran for president from prison, receiving over one million votes. Debs's story is the story of labor battles in industrializing America, of a socialist politics grown directly out of the American Midwest heartland, and of a distinctly American vision of socialism.
With the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the rise of mass movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, and the Wall Street Crash of 2008, socialism has once again made itself felt in American politics. This graphic biography, published in collaboration with the Democratic Socialists of America-whose growing membership, spurred by Trump's election and Bernie Sanders' campaign, has reached heights not seen among socialist parties since the 1920s-is geared toward a new generation exploring socialist and working-class radicalism in the past and the present.
Noah Van Sciver's dynamic illustrations are paired with short, accessible framing essays by Paul Buhle, noted historian of the U.S. left, with Dave Nance and Steve Max.
About the Contributors
Noah Van Sciver is an Ignatz award-winning cartoonist who first came to comic readers ' attention with his critically acclaimed, Eisner nominated comic book series Blammo. His work has appeared in Spongebob comics, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Best American Comics, as well as countless graphic anthologies. Van Sciver is a regular contributor to MAD Magazine and has created seven graphic novels including The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln, Saint Cole and the Fante Bukowski graphic novel series for Fantagraphics books.
Paul Buhle, formerly a senior lecturer at Brown University, produces radical comics. He founded the SDS Journal Radical America and the archive Oral History of the American Left and, with Mari Jo Buhle, is coeditor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Steve Max, a founding member of Students for Democratic Society and for a time its parliamentarian, was a founding figure in the Midwest Academy, with Paul Booth and others, in later years a leading activist in the Democratic Socialists of America, as well as an enduring socialist in the Reform Democratic clubs of New York. He has trained thousands of unionists and is famed for his kindly leftwing sense of humor.
Dave Nance is a retired public interest lawyer, a musician, and an occasional script-writer for nonfiction graphic novels.
"As socialists of Debs' era might say: 'here's the ammunition.' In addition to being a delightful biography of the railroad man from Terre Haute, this is a splendid genealogy of the struggles and ideas that energize today's socialist revival. Buy an extra copy and turn on a friend or workmate."
"At a time when socialism has reentered the political vocabulary, it is wonderful to have this engaging book, introducing old-timers and a new generation to the greatest American socialist, Eugene V. Debs. A beloved labor leader, tireless battler against economic inequality, and defender of free speech, Debs's radicalism and commitment to social justice are more needed today than at any time since his death."