While many young LGBTs find strength and support in the videos posted on Dan Savage’s It Gets Better channel, some feel the campaign doesn’t directly address the anxiety kids can feel, other than to say “hang in there.”
Realizing that gay teens often have no one but themselves to rely on, out comic-book creator Zan Christiansen was inspired to create The Power Within, a new graphic novel that addresses gay-teen bullying head on.
Published by Lambda Literary Award-winning LGBT comics publisher Northwest Press, the book follows shy gay boy Shannon, whose parents and teachers think he gets picked on because he doesn’t make an effort to fit in. To cope with the harassment, he escapes into a super-powered alter ego when trouble arises.
In addition to a 25-page lead story by Christensen and artist Mark Brill, The Power Within offers bonus pages by comics-industry heavyweights like Gail Simone (Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey), Phil Jimenez (New X-Men), Greg Rucka (Detective Comics), Stephen Sadowski (Justice Society of America), Dan Parent (Archie Comics) and Andy Mangels (Gay Comics).
Below, Simone interviews Christiansen about the book’s origin.
The Power Within ($4.99, Northwest Press) is available online and at comic-book shops around the country. Free copies are also being made available to youth and teachers’ organizations.