One of the most striking and interesting graphic novels of 2017 was No Small Plans, and the book came from an unexpected source – The Chicago Architecture Foundation. In three stories set in three different periods of time, teenagers explore the city of Chicago, confront segregation, development and reconsider not just they think about their city – but how. The story of cities and how they are built and function is very much the story of how we relate to one another, both as individual human beings and through institutions. No Small Plans is a call for teenagers to engage with the city and with government. More than just a call to engagement and action, the book wants people to ask questions, and understand the history of these issues.
Gabrielle Lyon is the Vice President of Education and Experiences at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the writer and editor of No Small Plans, which she made with Devin Mawdsley, Kayce Bayer, Chris Lin and Deon Reed, members of the Eyes of the Cat Illustration Studio. Lyon is an activist, a comics fan, and she talked about the unlikely origins of the book and their ambitions for it.