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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 29, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 17
LGBT publisher raises funds for anti-bullying comic book
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LGBT publisher raises funds for anti-bullying comic book

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Northwest Press, a publisher of LGBT graphic novels and comics, is raising funds to produce an anti-bullying comic book for youth groups and teachers.

The Power Within tells the story of a junior high school student who imagines himself as a superhero to deal with his constant harassment at school. The project is written by Charles 'Zan' Christensen and drawn by Mark Brill, and features bonus material by Dan Parent (creator of Archie Comics' first openly Gay character, Kevin Keller), Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman, New X-Men), Gail Simone (Secret Six, Wonder Woman), Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), Andy Mangels (Gay Comics), Donna Barr (The Desert Peach), and others.

According to Northwest Press, the project was conceived in October 2010 for 24-Hour Comics Day, an international event where comics creators attempt to produce a complete comic book in a single day. In September of 2010, there were numerous high-profile news reports of Gay teen suicides all over the U.S., prompting a public outcry to combat LGBT teen isolation and bullying. Christensen and Brill decided to tackle the topic in their book, and by the end of the event, they had completed a rough version of the story.

Brill continued to polish the artwork and the book was completed and published in a limited run in March, where it sold at comic book conventions in Seattle and Chicago. In order to mass-produce the book and provide free copies to Gay-straight alliances and other youth groups, Christensen sought the participation of some high-profile artists and writers for bonus features and began a fundraising effort to cover printing and shipping costs. In six days, the project reached a third of its funding goal.

The publisher is offering a variety of incentives to encourage people to fund the project, ranging from signed art prints and copies of the finished book to a ticket to join Northwest Press at the Lambda Literary Awards in May, where two of their books - Teleny and Camille and Glamazonia: The Uncanny Super-Tranny - are finalists for awards.

Christenson and Brill will promote the new book and other releases at several conventions around the U.S. this month. They will appear in partnership with Prism Comics at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in Ontario; Gaylaxicon in Atlanta, Georgia; and Fanaticon in Asheville, North Carolina.

For more information about The Power Within, visit northwestpress.com.

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