Artistic Portrayals of Lovejoy and Lincoln

The Death of Elijah Lovejoy
by Noah Van Sciver

I’ve searched the Internet for anything related to Elijah Lovejoy and came across this 23-page piece (I hesitate to call it a comic or graphic novel, so I’ll call it a graphic mini-novel), The Death of Elijah Lovejoy, written and drawn by Noah Van Sciver. Van Sciver, an artist whose work has appeared in Mad Magazine, published The Death of Elijah Lovejoy in 2011 in Minneapolis, Minn. Van Sciver takes some liberties with the dialogue and order of events during the riot, but the basic facts are there, and the drawing is well done.

Van Sciver’s take on the riot that killed Elijah Lovejoy made me think more about other ways that we later portray historical figures and events (completely different concept than my reading of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which portrays fictional characters but was written about slavery while slavery was legal in the United States). Lincoln, starring the great Daniel Day-Lewis, comes out soon, but I wanted to go back further, so I watched Young Mr. Lincoln, directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda. Young Mr. Lincoln is a 1939 black and white film about Lincoln’s humble beginnings and first forays into politics and law. I have to keep reminding myself that it is highly fictionalized. On the flip side, in reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I have to remember that slave catching and other horrors depicted were standard practice. Sometimes the line between true and false is a difficult line to find.

Finally I just decided to stop looking up “facts” about Lincoln that I was learning from the film (Did Lincoln play the Jew’s harp? Did he really ride into Springfield on a mule?) and just enjoy it. Apparently, the director and screenwriter were “interested in examining the character traits that would one day make Lincoln a great President, regardless of whether the scenes they used to do it actually occurred in real life.” Classic Movies talks more about the film in this article:|182377/Young-Mr-Lincoln.html

Young Mr. Lincoln

Young Mr. Lincoln, call number: DVD F YOU

As Mark Twain might have said (there is, of course, some debate as to this quote’s origin), “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”