One of the biggest challenges in doing “advocacy” storytelling is striking a nice balance between getting your message across and telling a good story. If you fail, you end up with something much less entertaining than preachy. The most rewarding feedback we’ve gotten since releasing our anti-bullying book The Power Within is that we’ve succeeded in telling an engaging, honest story that resonates with readers, and isn’t just a “me too” message book. François Peneaud, who reviews everything, it seems like, on his site The Gay Comics List, has seen his fair share of preachy comics, and I’m glad to say that The Power Within wasn’t one of them.
As much as one can enjoy seeing queer characters in both mainstream and indie fantasy fiction, the problems of the real world should always take precedence. Sometimes in a ham-fisted way, and sometimes in a moving, heartfelt way that shows the sincerity and skills of the creators involved. Fortunately, it is the latter that happens with Zan Christensen and Mark Brill’s The Power Within, a comic about LGBT teen bullying.
Later, he says:
The Power Within goes well beyond what’s expected of a project done with the best intentions. It’s a moving depiction of what’s unfortunately the real life of some teenagers in our society, and the creators involved can only hope it will contribute, in its own ways, to the improvement of that situation.
Check out François’ site for the whole Power Within review, and take a look at his numerous other reviews of great LGBT comics. It’s truly a treasure trove.