James Sturm, illustrator and head of The Center for Cartoon Studies, is offering a fantastic preview of his upcoming work Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow. You can look at illustration drafts, see sample pages from the finished work, and read an interview with Sturm. Here’s an excerpt:
How did you settle on Satchel Paige as a subject?
Satchel Paige was the suggestion of Brenda Bowen who was the instigator of this series of books. I love American history and Paige’s life certainly highlights several compelling and tragic aspects of the American experience. I’ve always been fascinated by the Negro Leagues and the obstacles that those players faced on and off the ball field.
Rather than present a straightforward biography of Satchel Paige, the book creates a story about Emmet Wilson, a Black Alabama sharecropper of the 1930s, for whom Satchel Paige becomes a major touchstone. What made you decide to take this approach?
Paige did a great job of mythologizing himself and it was hard to separate the facts of his life from the fiction. And in the end, I didn’t want to. What was important to me, and what I decided I wanted the book to be about, was the impact he had on society and those that followed his career.
(Image by James Sturm)