Congratulations to Comic Creators Named to Out 100

Charles “Zan” Christensen and Mark Brill have been named to the 2011 Out100, Out magazine’s annual list of “the year’s most inspiring people”. Christensen wrote and Brill drew The Power Within, a one-shot comic about teen bullying available from publisher Northwest Press.

The two are pictured here in a photo by Gavin Bond from the magazine slideshow, which was “inspired by iconic portraits of the 20th century” — in their case, a classic Laurel and Hardy moment.

Charles "Zan" Christensen and Mark Brill

Charles "Zan" Christensen (left) and Mark Brill

From the publisher’s press release:

Christensen and Brill started work on The Power Within in October of last year for 24-Hour Comics Day, an event where artists and writers attempt to create a complete 24-page comic book in 24 hours. Their story focused on a boy named Shannon who deals with bullying at school by escaping into a super-powered alter-ego but ultimately has to find the strength to face the harassment in real life. The decision to do a comic that tackles antigay bullying was prompted by the previous month’s numerous reports of teen suicides linked to bullying and harassment.

…”We didn’t go into this project knowing where it would go,” said Christensen, who scripted the book and coordinated the project. “We just felt compelled to tell a story that confronted the epidemic we saw unfolding before us and offered some hope. We’re humbled to be recognized for our efforts, and hope that others will continue use their skills and their resources to change kids’ lives for the better.”

… “It’s been really amazing — this project seems like one of those things that was just meant to be,” said Brill. “I think Zan and I were both really inspired and motivated to do something positive with this story and people have really responded to it.” … To date, Northwest Press has distributed over 700 free copies of the book to over 50 Gay-Straight alliances, schools, churches, community centers, and other youth organizations across the United States and beyond. Northwest Press encourages organizations to request copies of the book to use as teaching and outreach tools. In addition to the main story and bonus pages, the book contains a page of discussion questions and resources for LGBT teens.

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