The Democratic presidential primaries of 1968 were darkened by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., race riots, and protests against the Vietnam War. For the May 24 cover that year, Time magazine featured Senator Robert Kennedy, who was attracting crowds of supporters with his antiwar stance and support of racial equality. The cover artist, Roy Lichtenstein, was as famous and controversial as Kennedy. Beginning in 1961, Lichtenstein had shocked the sensibilities of the art world by basing his pop art paintings upon comic-book illustrations and advertisements. Lichtenstein rarely chose real people as subjects, but he was intrigued by Kennedy's "lively, upstart quality and pop-heroic proportions as part of a legend." In this key drawing for the cover's color separations, Lichtenstein portrayed Kennedy as a cartoon-perfect champion of truth and justice, just weeks before the senator's assassination.