I don't know what would bore me more; watching a game of football or a game of baseball, but I've liked movies about baseball (Field of Dreams and Bull Durham) anime about baseball (Princess Nine, about a female baseball team - highly recommended), and now with Satchel Paige I've liked two graphic novels about baseball. I didn't know anything about Satchel Paige before reading this graphic novel, but now I'm even interested in reading his autobiography Maybe I'll Pitch Forever, if I actually had time to read books without pictures (I still read a couple of novels a year, but just keeping up with my comic reading doesn't leave me with much time for other reading).
Satchel Paige became a professional pitcher in baseball in 1924 and continued doing so for decades. Because of segregation, Leroy "Satchel" Paige did most of his early baseball playing in the Negro Leagues, where he basically just pitched for whatever team would pay him the most that day, week , or month.
Satchel Paige Striking Out Jim Crow, is the new graphic novel by writer James Sturm (who wrote and drew another great baseball graphic novel a few years ago called Golem's Mighty Swing and wrote the Eisiner winning Fantastic Four graphic novel Unstable Molecules) and artist Rich Tommaso. Tommaso's art style is a cross between Seth (It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken) and Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) and being as those are two of my favorite artists, I knew that Satchel Paige would look great visually (the use of duo-tone coloring also adds to the visual appeal).
With as interesting of a character as Satchel Paige was, I'd think that it would be pretty hard to make a boring book about him, but still I'd like to thank Sturm and Tommaso for bringing this legendary player to my attention. Reading this book just further saddened me with the level of racism that has existed in our country and how despite this, Satchel still became a pioneer in baseball (Joe DiMaggio called him "the best and fastest pitcher I've ever faced") and how he took his time at the plate, doing things the way he wanted to, while at the same time being a great entertainer and inspiration for many. The introduction and notes before and after Satchel Paige are also great and informative, but I'd recommend reading them after reading the graphic novel itself as I think that they give too much away from the actual story (I have this problem with synopsis' and front and end descriptions on novels and graphic novels also).
Satchel Paige is published by The Center For Cartoon Studies (they also published the excellent Houdini: The Handcuff King), of which James Sturm is the cofounder and director of.
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