RISE: COMICS AGAINST BULLYING
ISSUES 1 & 2 AVAILABLE
AMBER LOVE 03-MAR-2015 I’m so proud to be included in this important comics project, RISE: COMICS AGAINST BULLYING. This was an idea that began on Twitter and took a few years to reach publication. Adam Pruett, Erica Schultz and Zan Christensen worked hard over these couple years to find the right plan and publisher for it.
RISE copies were funded through Kickstarter, but it was a different approach than other indie comics being funded. The funds were used to pay for printed copies to be distributed by a couple of nonprofit organizations to young readers they feel will benefit from the variety of stories.
A couple geek celebrities are spokespeople for Stand for the Silent. You may see ARROW’S Stephen Amell or LOST GIRL’S Ksenia Solo promoting the organization. SFTS is one of the main causes supported by RISE. ARROW producer, Marc Guggenheim, and HUSBANDS executive producer and actor, Brad Bell are among the RISE contributors. Even with the celebrity connections and comic stars like Rafer Roberts and Sina Grace, I worried during the Kickstarter that the project wouldn’t reach goal. It only did two or three days before the campaign ended. To me, that’s a nailbiter. But some of us tweeted and shared links relentlessly and now it’s a real product available to everyone. According to Zan Christensen, the team is working on a plan to make even more copies available to schools and educators for free.
DIVERSE CREATORS & CHARACTERS
Now that I’ve had the chance to read all the stories, I can say that it’s the most inclusive YA comic of its kind. The stories have one overall theme regarding bullying and feeling marginalized. Diverse creators and diverse characters and plots make up the two issues available so far. Some are about LGBTQ harassment, childhood bullying, having uncaring teachers, and so much more. There are couple that even bring up the cosplay hobby and acceptance by creators of the fans. AURA by Vasilis Pozios, Marguerite Sauvage, and Rachel Deering tackles mental illness through a female POC lead character.
My personal favorite is BARBIE AND THE BOY by Brad Bell and George Zapata about a little boy who wants a Barbie doll for Christmas. I can remember when my cousin was that young and asked for a Barbie and his father flipped out. Little boys like dolls as much as trucks and toy guns, but there are kids who aren’t allowed to have fun the way they want to because of gender norms.
My story, illustrated by the wonderful Carolyn Belefski, is called LEFT BEHIND and is a sad tale about a young African-American girl who committed suicide after naked pictures of her were circulated through school; it’s about her mother and former friend trying to move on after the ordeal. No one has asked me why I wanted to make the victim of the story a young non-white girl. The thing is, when stories about violence against girls and women make headlines, we usually only hear about it when it’s a white victim. As horrendous as Steubenville’s Jane Doe and Canada’s Rehtaeh Parsons stories were, there are girls of color who are victimized, humiliated, and scarred for life every day, but their stories never make the headlines. Unless there is something that the media producers can sensationalize from it, for example if there’s a celebrity/politician connection, these girls are invisible. It’s something I only became aware of because of the people I choose to follow on Twitter and hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter.
An interview with Marc Guggenheim in Previews World: http://www.previewsworld.com/Home/1/1/71/977?articleID=160625 and my interview was posted March 13 http://www.previewsworld.com/Home/1/1/71/1264?articleID=161134