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America beckons - Abe escapes assassination to reach Washington, and struggles to save the Union and defeat slavery. Under extreme duress, Ol' Abe finds solace with friends, family, and old rivals.


“The life of Abraham Lincoln was an ideal story to start realizing our vision with. Though there are numerous books on the civil war, slavery, and President Lincoln himself, none leveraged the medium of graphic novels to convey the story”, remarks Angel Oberoi, Editor and Producer for Gossamer Books.

Angel in her childhood in Punjab had learnt history and folk tales through comic books. “We never realized that we were getting an education too”, comments Angel. Over the last three years, Angel in her volunteer tutoring program Project Read had struggled with her student to understand and grasp all the details from the state mandated history book for grades 4-6. In her opinion, the schoolbooks were well written, but they presented too many facts together. As a result, the students cram the history lessons for the exam, and remember little after a few weeks. “We have a beautiful country”, says Angel, “ and by understanding and remembering the sacrifices of our heroes, we guarantee that future generations will look after this place too”.

CHARACTER DESIGN

“We had to be very sensitive in designing Lincoln’s profile”, observes Saral Tiwari, co-author and illustrator. “He is more than a national hero -- even though we were presenting the story in a comic medium, we had to ensure that the dignity of the person remained”. Though the story is based on Lincoln’s years when he was frequently photographed, his flashbacks required significant research work. “We do not have many references on how Abe looked in his early Springfield years”, notes Saral. Moreover, Saral also worked diligently to show aging of Abe’s character within the narration of the story itself. The story begins with Abe’s 46th birthday where he is clean-shaven and enthusiastic about having won the election. In the next 44 pages, the reader sees Lincoln cropping a beard; go through the stresses and the frustrations of war. “Lincoln on page 42 of the book looks very different than the president elect on page 2. Like any human being, each incident affected him, and we worked hard to show the connection”, Saral adds.

These were some fictional and non-fictional characters where the authors and the research staff could not find historical references for pictures. For Mary, the strong headed fiancé of Jack who disguises herself as a man to fight the war, and risked her life to free Samson, the team felt the need not to look any further than Angel.

“Casting for Abe was a fun”, recalls Ginger. “History provided us with profiles like Lincoln, Stanton, John Roll, Nanny and Nanko, which would have been really difficult to conjure. We only tried to make them as engaging and capturing as the real ones”. Ginger adds, “and it was a challenge”

“We were fortunate to be doing this project in the age of the Internet”, comments research staff member Supreet. “Google’s image search service did wonders for us. The whole Internet was our library”, Supreet adds noting that Hergé had to spend most of his time building an archive of all materials he thought might be useful for future projects.

“This is a great story”, Angel commented. “We were fortunate to get a chance to tell a story that involved stories as the president elect disguising himself to reach the inauguration ceremony, him sharing his deepest anguishes with his son Tad, goats being driven in the white house, iron ships ramming against boats to break the siege, and many more”.


 
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