“Sometimes you have to be your own hero.” Writer Charles "Zan" Christensen and artist Mark Brill have joined forces to raise funds on their Kickstarter page to publish a comic book that tackles the subject of teen bullying. The Power Within tells the story of introverted high school student Shannon who, when bullied on at school, is told by his dad and his teachers that the other kids wouldn't tease him if he just "fit in" more.
Faced with all this, Shannon has created a super-powered alter ego that he can escape into whenever he's in a bad situation. Pretending he's a powerful hero helps him stand up for himself. But will the power within be enough to save him? The story sends an inspirational message that "you can summon the power inside you and live through your toughest challenges,” and now that message can be shared with LGBT youth through the large run print of the book.
An allstar line-up of comic book royalty have contributed to the book including writers Greg Rucka (Whiteout, Wonder Woman, Batwoman) and Gail Simone (Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey, Secret Six), and artists such as Stephen Sadowski (JSA, Avengers/Invaders, Warlord of Mars) and Phil Jimenez (New X-Men, Spider-Man,Legion of Super-Heroes). Other contributors include Carla Speed McNeil, the Eisner-Award-winning creator of Finder, longtime LGBT comics advocate and Gay Comics editor Andy Mangels, Desert Peach creator Donna Barr, and Dan Parent, the creator of Archie Comics' pioneering gay character Kevin Keller!
Fundraising will continue on their Kickstarter page until 7PM EST today, allowing them to do a large run print of the book and get copies of the book into the hands of young people through youth centers, gay-straight alliances, and teachers' groups. Those looking to donate to this remarkable effort to spread a positive message can do so on their website, and watch for The Power Within to be published through Northwest Press, the Lambda Literary Award nominated publisher of LGBT graphic novels and collections.
For now, here’s a video of writer Gail Simone talking with creator Zan Christensen about the inspiration for the book and the importance of sharing this message: