In the 1960s, the Fellowship of Reconciliation prepared a comic book about the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. It received high praise, and even a story (perhaps apocryphal) that one of the first participants in the Greensboro, North Carolina lunch-counter protests was inspired to action by it.
In 1989, FOR's youth and campus outreach coordinator, Jo Becker, solicited another non-fiction comic. She contacted well-respected comic author Joyce Brabner (Real War Stories) to write a story about young people involved in creative and nonviolent strategies for social change. With an aging membership, FOR decided an inspiring comic would be a good vehicle to reach out to a younger generation.
After an illness-based delay, the project began again in 1993. Becker, now FOR's executive director, continued to supervise the project. The result, Activists!, with art provided by Mark Badger (The Mask and Batman Jazz) and Wayne Van Sant (The 'Nam), went to print in February 1995.
The comic includes four stories: "What If?," a comparison of 1960s U.S. protests and the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia; "Reflections of a Rock Lobster," Aaron Fricke's 1980 experience of inviting a boy as his date to his high school prom; "Firebrand," a story of high school activism that played into the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision; and "Survivin' N Da Hood," which describes a conflict resolution program begun by two siblings in New Haven, Connecticut, when violence broke out in their high school.