Iconic civil rights figure and longtime congressman John Lewis passed away on Friday at the age of 80, and the internet has seen an outpouring of honorifics, eulogizing and storytelling about his legacy and impact.
Lewis's political and social impact was enormous, and occasionally, that work overlapped with pop culture too. There was one particularly story about Lewis's life that tugged at so many people's heart strings over the weekend: the moment when Lewis cosplayed as himself at Comic-Con.
A Twitter user shared a some photographs of Representative Lewis attending the convention in 2015 in costume as himself, and people are absolutely loving it.
My favorite thing about John Lewis is that at ComicCon, he cosplayed as his younger self, wearing the same coat and… https://t.co/aGpAKbVfu9— Bridget Todd 💁🏿 (@Bridget Todd 💁🏿)1595044397.0
The photos show Lewis dressed in the same outfit--beige trench coat, black tie, knapsack on his shoulders--that he wore to the March on Selma at the Emund Pettus Bridge.
Lewis was at Comic-Con that year to promote his three-part graphic memoir March, which chronicles his life and experiences during the civil rights movements of the 1960s. Lewis's appearance and cosplay that year was apt timing: 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma on March 7, 1965 in Selma, Alabama, one of a series of civil and voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery that year.
That event, which was also chronicled in the 2014 Ava DuVernay film Selma, would come to be known as "Bloody Sunday" after marchers were brutally beaten by Alabama State Troopers after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The televised images of the violence in Selma, in which Lewis's skull was fractured by an Alabama State Trooper's night stick, brought him, among other marchers, to national prominence.
Speaking to The Washington Post at the time, Lewis spoke about what the appearance at Comic-Con meant to him.
“I felt very, very moved just by being with the kids. As you know, the civil-rights movement was often led by the children, and the young people."
And it wasn't just attendees and fans who were moved by Lewis's cosplay.
"It just felt special — I was in the moment. It felt like I was living a portion of my life all over again."
On Twitter, scores of people were moved by the images of Lewis re-enacting one of the many moments he changed the world.
@BridgetMarie Oy my heart https://t.co/A8shnZhsfZ— Orli Matlow (@Orli Matlow)1595047433.0
@BridgetMarie I remember standing in the line to the left watching him walk by in procession. It’s still one of the… https://t.co/TtOmZlXhc0— Julia (@Julia)1595048867.0
@BridgetMarie @JasonCheathawks The most impressive thing you can be is yourself. That’s a life worth living, fellas.— Pass, Pass, Run (@Pass, Pass, Run)1595045021.0
@sarah_cot @BridgetMarie And in his backpack was an apple, toothbrush and his comic book. Everything he would need for a night in jail.— Kim The Truth (@Kim The Truth)1595049200.0
@BridgetMarie @skamille Something I love about studying the Civil Rights movement is learning how much they loved s… https://t.co/e3uTZVYKgA— Anjuan (@Anjuan)1595096261.0
@BridgetMarie This may be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and ever will see. 2020 will go down… https://t.co/YvllyUMcDS— Jenny (@Jenny)1595045379.0
@BridgetMarie My Niece gifted me March many years ago. She was 7 it was and is her favorite comic book ever. It is… https://t.co/pvA31pjvuZ— Dante Ross (@Dante Ross)1595044722.0
@BridgetMarie John Lewis is/was one of the very few people who could cosplay as themselves as a superhero.— Christina Mathis (@Christina Mathis)1595058813.0
Lewis passed away Friday after a lengthy fight with pancreatic cancer at his home in Atlanta, part of the 5th Congressional District of Georgia, which he represented in the House of Representatives from 1987 until his death.