Tag Archives: mental health

IDW, Hasbro, and G.I. Joe are Raising Awareness for Veteran Mental Health

G.I. Joe "Hope Lives Here"

To bring attention to the serious issues facing the heroes who have served our country, IDW and Hasbro have teamed up during September’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with promotions timed to coincide with The Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
 
At the center of IDW and Hasbro’s combined efforts is the G.I. Joe comic book series, based on the iconic military toy brand. The recent seventh issue in the series, entitled “A Soldier’s Heart”, focuses on Shana “Scarlett” O’Hara, a combat veteran struggling with the return to civilian life, who joins a support group and navigates both everyday challenges and tragic losses on a path toward recovery. The G.I. Joe creative team consulted with proud service members and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to craft the story and provided valuable real-world information on mental health and resources for support in the issue for the benefit of readers who might require it.
 
During the month of September, IDW and Hasbro have made G.I. Joe #7 available to read for free online, in an effort to spread awareness of suicide prevention and mental health. IDW also commissioned original artwork from fan-favorite artist Freddie Williams II as a public service announcement, featuring G.I. Joe characters and a banner proclaiming “Hope Lives Here”, a message of encouragement ubiquitous with suicide prevention initiatives.
 
Furthermore, IDW and Hasbro have hosted a virtual panel to raise awareness. Moderated by George Gustines of The New York Times, the panel brings comic book creators, licensors and publishers, combat veterans, and experts on mental health issues together to discuss this important topic. Participants include:

  • Paul Allor                   Writer, G.I. JOE
  • Michael Kelly             VP Global Publishing, Hasbro
  • Patricia Watson         PhD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and G.I. JOE #7 Consultant
  • Duane K.L. France    U.S. Army SFC, LPC, and G.I. JOE #7 Consultant
  • Tom Waltz                  IDW Senior Editor, Writer, and Former U.S. Marine

Around the Tubes

Hawkman #23

We’re plugging along just waiting for things to really get rolling in the industry. While you wait too, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

CBLDF – 12 Grown Up Graphic Novels to Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month – Some good suggestions. Any that you’d suggest not on this list?

How to Love Comics – 12 Wolverine Stories You Should Read – What wolverine stories would you suggest?

The Beat – Geppi, Groth, Richardson, Richie and Wood talk the state of comics: “The industry is going to see a lot of change.” – An interesting discussion.

Review

Newsarama – Hawkman #23

Review: Eternity Girl #1

EternityGirl1Cover“Laid yourself out under the stars. Some peace at last so don’t be sad. A fitting end to your end…” from “Some Kind of Nothingness” by Manic Street Preachers (2010)

Abandon hope all ye who enter here, this article is more of a self-therapy session than a review of a DC comic book. Gallows humor about suicide, therapy sessions, cake and vodka veg out time on the couch, Eternity Girl #1 is definitely not your typical superhero/espionage book. This new book from Magdalene Visaggio, Sonny Liew, and Chris Chuckry fits like a glove with the Young Animal imprint’s ethos of telling stories about strange, yet extraordinary individuals that explore universal human themes in an experimental way with a psychedelic color palette. Caroline Sharp, the superhero/spy operative formerly known as Chrysalis or Eternity Girl (See the “Milk Wars” backups.) has been suspended because her shapeshifting abilities glitched and hurt a fellow Alpha 13 operative. She has to get the green light from her therapist before going back to active duty, but that seems light years away. Really, Caroline just wants to die and collapse in the nothingness of Chuckry’s electric blue  color palette.

To steal a phrase/cliché from an old children’s game, Liew’s art in Eternity Girl #1 can be light as a feather or stiff as a board depending on the mental state of our suicidal, “elemental superwoman” protagonist. When she dissociates, Liew’s pencils are fluid as Caroline becomes an energy wave, almost one with the universe. But when she’s forced to take up space in public, Liew’s sharp, rigid lines make you feel the pain in her body as she tries to maintain a frail human form on public transportation. He also has a real gift from switching gears from emotive slice of life, two friends at a coffee shop style art to throwback superhero work when Caroline is thinking about her past as Chrysalis and is confronted by the spectre of one of her old, presumed dead foes and finally pure Kirby crackle when the story gets really philosophical/trippy. My one minor critique of Liew’s work is that Caroline’s therapist and her good friend Dani look very similar, and I thought they were the same person until finally realizing they weren’t thanks to context clues/a second reading.

Visaggio and Liew convey a feeling that everyone who has ever suffered from anxiety or depression can understand of putting on a brave, happy, competent, and/or professional face when you want to cry, scream, or most of the time, just lie there motionless like when Caroline is making dark quips to her therapist about her suicide attempts. The use of humor to mask pain is definitely relatable, and using it to kick off Eternity Girl #1 immediately shows that Visaggio understands the nature of depression. She doesn’t sugarcoat things and isn’t afraid that after losing her purpose in life as a member of Alpha-13, Caroline feels like she’s just “killing time” and hoping that one of her futile (Due to her power set.) suicide attempts actually pan out. Immortal plus depression seriously sucks. However, in a literal earth and reality shattering third act, Caroline realizes that she has to pass as a functional human before she tastes death’s sweet release.

As a book, Eternity Girl #1 is nestled in a nice niche between artsy indie and superhero comic, but leaning more towards to the artsy side thanks to the fragmented nature of Magdalene Visaggio’s plot and Sonny Liew’s art plus scattershot, intergalactic colors from Chris Chuckry towards the end. However, Visaggio, Liew, and Chuckry use this niche to honestly probe and explore the feelings that come with depression and create opportunities for connection and empathy in regards to mental health through this engaging comic book. Because sometimes you don’t fear death, you long for it…

Story: Magdalene Visaggio  Art: Sonny Liew Colors: Chris Chuckry 
Story: 9.6 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Valiant Entertainment and Threadless Join Forces for Mental Health Awareness Month

To mark the 68th annual Mental Health Awareness Month during the month of May, Valiant Entertainment and Threadless Artist Shops will offer a selection of limited-edition t-shirts featuring Faith, Valiant’s groundbreaking comic book character. All proceeds from the items sold will be donated to Hope for the Day, the mental health education and suicide prevention organization.

Featuring the artwork of renowned Faith cover artist Kevin Wada and available only through May 31st, Valiant and Threadless’ first charity-focused collaboration features Valiant’s high-flying superhero.

 

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. One in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family. Take action today to help others as we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Throughout May, Hope for the Day and participants across the country are raising awareness for the importance of mental health. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

You can find Threadless’ Hope For The Day Artist Shop here and, in addition to the newly unveiled Faith design courtesy of Valiant, will also feature new, limited-edition contributions from popular Chicago radio station b96, world-renowned artist Derek Hess, and mental health advocate and illustrator Sow Ay through the month of May.

NYCC 2015: A Force For Good

broadcast thoughtFor the first time, the psychiatrists of Broadcast Thought, H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., and Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D., will bring their unique expertise in mental health and pop culture to New York Comic Con for a fun and informative panel!

On Sunday, October 11, 2015, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm in Room 1A24, Broadcast Thought will be joined by a team of entertainment and mental health professionals to present “A Force for Good: The Powerful Partnership Between Mental Health and Pop Culture.”

Awareness of pop culture’s power to help people with mental illnesses is reaching new heights, from celebrated depictions of superhero struggles to the personal stories of creators themselves.

  • Actress and writer Mara Wilson (Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda, Welcome to Night Vale, What Are You Afraid Of?) will share her personal struggles with anxiety and depression and how her experiences have shaped her career.
  • Eisner-nominated writer Alex de Campi (Smoke/Ashes, No Mercy, Grindhouse) will talk about the creator and mental illness, as well as treating mental illness respectfully in fiction.
  • Comedian Jenny Jaffe (Camp Time with Jenny Jaffe, CollegeHumor) will discuss her outreach to teens and young adults through her innovative mental health nonprofit, Project UROK.
  • Psychologist Janina Scarlet, Ph.D., (Superhero Therapy) will share moving stories of patients inspired by accurate comic book depictions of mental disorders in their recovery from mental illnesses.
  • Forensic psychiatrist Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D., (Broadcast Thought) will discuss Aura, his PRISM Award-winning short story about a stigmatized superhero with bipolar disorder, published in Rise: Comics Against Bullying #2 from Northwest Press.
  • Forensic psychiatrists H. Eric Bender, M.D., and Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., (Broadcast Thought) will discuss why accurate mental health depictions matter and how less stigmatizing — and more creative — representations can benefit patients and publishers alike.

Attorney Jeff Trexler (The Beat, The Comics Journal) will moderate, highlighting how entertainment can be a force for good in mental health and why more accurate and less stigmatizing mental health representations are a “win-win” for media outlets and people with mental illnesses alike.