Elevate Difference

Lynchpin #1

You’re a bold Canadian Mr. MacLean. For your first full-length comic, Lynchpin #1, you decide to tackle sexual assault in high school, and then sent it to the Elevate Difference. You even went so far as to specifically request our uncensored assessment. Well, you asked for it.

Though you clearly had the best of intentions and appear to want to help your friend find a little justice by sharing her story with the world, you missed the mark. Your courage in tackling this very personal subject matter is astounding. Few people, and possibly even fewer men, would dare such a thing in a comic book. But the story to the many, many women and men affected by this issue is extremely triggering with no warning to them at all. Noting only lust, villainy, philosophy, heroism, survival, confession, and chewing gum as topics covered was incredibly misleading to me (though it may not be so for others). There were so many opportunities to allude to the plot line of comic before diving into it. The most obvious to me is Alanna’s (the author’s friend who is the survivor) opening frames.

As Alanna calls it, this is her true high school story, and it is the slut-shaming aspect of assault, captured here so well that, to me, makes it so true. Rarely are there fictional depictions of young women who are shown before and after an assault and how that changes their day-to-day life, most specifically here being labeled a “slut.”

From simply a visual perspective, I think the work is really strong. Your panels are incredibly well laid out and balanced in their diversity, and your illustration has a voice of its own. You just have to let it speak for itself. Your character’s Modigliani-like eyes say so much alone, don’t be afraid to depend on your art more. There is no need for you to step into the comic as a character yourself. That transgression, though seemingly personally necessary, distracts from the power of the story. Your apologies to the universe from men everywhere is only making yourself feel better.

I hope this is a sufficiently uncensored assessment for your liking.

Written by: Nicole Levitz, October 5th 2010