It’s not every day that you can be within 10 feet of both a member of Congress and a Ghostbuster.
But those streams could have crossed at Awesome Con on the afternoon of April 19. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Hill staffer Andrew Aydin’s booth to promote “March,” their graphic novel on Lewis’ role in the civil rights movement, was across the aisle from where Ernie Hudson, also known as Winston Zeddmore in “Ghostbusters,” posed with fans in front of Ecto-1 while “Who You Gonna Call?” played on a loop.
Lewis and Aydin have been to several comic conventions since "March" was published last year , but Awesome Con was their first in Washington, D.C.
On Sunday, Lewis and Aydin participated in a panel discussion about their book, where they were interviewed by Washington Post comics writer Michael Cavna and answered con-goers’ questions.
Noting the number of superhero costumes at the con, Cavna introduced Lewis by calling him “a true hero — maybe the truest hero in the house.” Lewis talked about how his participation in Civil Rights demonstrations in his teens and 20s was initially discouraged by his family, lest he “get in trouble.” He described his involvement as “good trouble — necessary trouble.”
Lewis and Aydin encouraged panel attendees to stand up for what they believe in and take action if they see injustice.
“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just ... I tell young people, ‘Get in the way, make some noise, get in trouble,’ ” Lewis said.
Aydin compared the plot of "March" to Star Wars, describing both Lewis and Luke Skywalker as young boys who leave their home for a cause, comparing Civil Rights activists to the Rebel Alliance and their opponents to the Galactic Empire. Continuing on that theme, Aydin also mentioned that he and "March" artist Nate Powell have jokingly considered writing a mini-comic that would "never see the light of day" in which Lewis meets Yoda.
Lewis wrapped up the panel on an encouraging note: "I am so hopeful. I am so optimistic for the future," he said. "We're one people and we all live in the same house. Not the American house, but the world house."