Jason Sacks at Comics Bulletin recently reviewed Mark Brill and Charles “Zan” Christensen’s anti-bullying comic, The Power Within and gave the book highest marks: five out of five silver bullets! We were especially pleased to note that the book had reached beyond the LGBT audience and resonated with a straight married man with three kids; we were able to portray the experience of being bullied in school as a gay teen in a way that everyone can relate to.
This is not a maudlin or preachy comic; instead The Power Within effectively puts readers inside the head of a young teenager who’s struggling to find his own unique way in the world. In some ways it doesn’t even matter if Shannon is gay; what’s more important is that he is a depressed outsider who feels hated by everyone around him.
He’s subject to bullying, but the bullying could just as much been because he’s a creative kid, or a brain, or handicapped, or even if he’s just depressed because his parents are getting divorced. What’s important is that Shannon feels like an outsider, like someone who will never be an insider. Because of this, he’s become the victim of bullying, and that bullying helps to lead a tremendous level of self-hatred in him.