In early 2018, cartoonist Sofia Warren was not paying attention to New York state politics. But that summer, her Brooklyn neighborhood began buzzing about Julia Salazar, a 27-year-old democratic socialist running for state senate whose grassroots campaign was inspiring an army of volunteers. When they beat the odds and won, Warren found herself wondering what would happen next. How does it work when an outsider who runs on revolutionary change has to actually do the job? So she decided to find out.
A graphic memoir to be published by Top Shelf Productions in June 2022, Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator is a remarkable first-hand account of Warren’s experience embedded with Julia Salazar and her staff during their first year in office. From candid conversations and eyewitness experiences, Warren builds a gripping and intimate portrait of a scrappy team of community organizers battling entrenched power structures, particularly to advance Julia’s marquee issue of housing rights.
At every key point during the year — setting up an office, navigating insider politics, public pushback, testy staff meetings, emotional speeches, protest marches, setbacks, and victories — Warren is up close and personal with Julia and her team, observing, questioning, and drawing, as they try to translate their ideals into concrete legislation. Along the way, Warren works toward answers to deeper questions: what makes a good leader? What does it mean to be a part of a community? Can democracy work? How can everyday people make change happen?
All these themes will be explored — with nuance, compassion, and humor — next June in Sofia Warren’s remarkable debut.
“So much of this experience was a surprise to me,” says Warren: “that for their entire first legislative session, Julia and her staff let me be in the room; that ‘the room’ was just as often a food court, or a senior center, or a march in the middle of a blizzard; that they were as open with me about their frustrations as they were about their victories; and that I — an introverted, cynical millennial living through the Trump presidency — could leave the experience so motivated and inspired. I hope that readers leave this book feeling the same.”
“After seeing firsthand how the award-winning graphic memoirs March and They Called Us Enemy have transformed countless readers’ understanding of essential issues, we can’t wait to bring Sofia’s book into the world,” says editor Leigh Walton. “Why do elected officials act the way they do? Is there any other way? Why are we often disappointed by our governments, and how can we talk so they will listen? Radical, in its charming, accessible style, gives us a rare look behind the curtain, filling in some of these gaps in our understanding and leaving us better equipped to shape the future.”
Graphic novel fans, political wonks, activists, organizers, voters, future leaders, and ordinary working people everywhere — stay tuned for more details as the publication date for Radical approaches!
Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator
by Sofia Warren
Published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing
$24.99 US / $33.99 CAN
312-page, black-and-white softcover, 6.5” x 9”
On-Sale: June 2022
Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator is available for preorder via booksellers and comic book specialty retailers. For more details and pre-order options, visit Penguin Random House, or visit www.comicshoplocator.com to find a store near you.