Author Brad Meltzer published his first novel while still in law school at the age of 26.
Since then, he has gone on to become a perennial New York Times best-selling author for fiction and nonfiction alike, and received an Eisner Award for his work writing comic book superheroes. Now, Brad is using his craft to inspire young people with stories of real-life heroes.
Brad recently teamed up with an all-star roster of 25 artists to publish I Am Gandhi, a graphic novel about Gandhi and his lessons, with proceeds from the book supporting our organization.
We had the opportunity to talk with Brad about this ambitious project, and what values he hopes to instill in today’s young leaders.
Seeds of Peace: Can you talk a bit about your connection to Seeds of Peace, and your prior experience with us?
Brad Meltzer: It was actually over a decade ago, when an Israeli friend told me about the summer camps that Seeds of Peace does—putting Israeli and Palestinian kids in the same summer camp. I remember him saying that on the first night, both sides can’t sleep because they think someone on the other side will kill them. And within days, they become friends with each other. I’ll never forget that. It is proof that hate is taught.
Seeds of Peace: What drew you to our mission?
Brad Meltzer: I’m building an army of smart children, arming them with compassion, kindness, and justice. That’s what books are designed to do.
I am fighting with my words, with my art, with my books, and with the greatest comic book artists in the world. We will arm a generation of children with the teachings of Gandhi, and Dr. King, and Rosa Parks. And we will bring peace. It aligned perfectly with Seeds of Peace.
Seeds of Peace: What inspired you to tell Gandhi’s story? Was there anything you hoped to achieve when you started writing I Am Gandhi?
Brad Meltzer: Look around. We are a country at odds with itself, each side convinced we’re right—we’re in the middle of a massive culture war. We’ve been playing this terrible game for years: it’s called Us vs. Them. I’m tired of Us vs. Them. It’s time to get back to We. Gandhi—as someone dedicated to peace—seemed like the perfect hero to help us get there.
Seeds of Peace: You’re certainly no stranger to the comics community, but why did you decide to tell this story in particular as a graphic novel?
Brad Meltzer: My son. On election night, I watched the country ripping itself apart. It was terrible. At that moment, I gave my 16-year-old son a copy of the I Am Gandhi script. There was no art for it yet. But I wanted him to read the words … to learn Gandhi’s lessons. As I read over his shoulder, I realized: Wait, I need this lesson too. We all need this lesson of peace. So I immediately thought: I can make a comic with this. From there, I called my closest friends from DC and Marvel. And the comic was born.
Seeds of Peace: Did you encounter any new opportunities—or challenges—from working with so many different artists?
Brad Meltzer: I suddenly became an editor, working with each artist, keeping the trains running. It was hard managing schedules and getting people to finish on time, but the truth was, it was just incredible to see each page as it came in. These artists inspired me. They are the stars. They’re the ones who brought Gandhi’s adventures to life.
Seeds of Peace: Is there anything that you learned from the process of writing I Am Gandhi?
Brad Meltzer: Just how hard it is to be a comic book editor at DC and Marvel!
We congratulate Brad on the release of I Am Gandhi, and we’re excited to have him as a partner in our shared mission. Purchase the graphic novel; all proceeds will go to Seeds of Peace!