Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., wants to tell a story about chickens. In rural Alabama as a child, Lewis would gather his brothers and sisters and the chickens on the family farm to hear him play preacher.

"I'm convinced some of those chickens I preached to in the '40s and '50s listened to me much better than some of my colleagues in the Congress," Lewis said Saturday morning at Book Expo America. The chicken story is depicted in his new graphic novel "March: Volume One," co-written by Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell, with a cover endorsement by former President Clinton.

Lewis said he chose the comic book format because he hopes to connect with younger readers.

"I want to see young people here in America find a way to get into trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble," said the civil rights activist. The novel is set for release in August, and guests at San Diego Comic Con this year will get a preview.

The panel, introduced by Chris Matthews, took place in New York City.

"It's good to be in the Big Apple, or as it was once called and may be again, the Naked City," said the MSNBC host, getting in a zing on former Rep. Anthony Weiner. "I guess it depends who wins the mayor's race, right?"