A few weeks ago, I happened upon an article on Matthew Lickona’s blog about a comic book project he’s undertaken: Alphonse. Here’s how he describes the project:
Alphonse is the story of eight lives that intersect because of an attempted abortion. Why “attempted?” Because while there are no angels or demons on either side, there is definitely a monster in the middle: Alphonse. Rendered “grotesquely abnormal” by his unwitting mother’s use of controlled substances, he is both sentient and freakishly coordinated. He is also deeply wounded, twisted by fear and rage after the attempt on his life, and bent on revenge.
But violence begets violence. Alphonse is pursued even as he is pursuing, and haunted by the claim that there may be another way…
I ordered a copy of the first issue, and read it as soon as it arrived last week. Now, I’m not much of a comic book guy — didn’t grow up with them around, except the occasional Archie Comic. But I think Alphonse is very well-conceived and well-done. It has the potential to reach an audience that is largely ignored in the abortion discussion… It could appeal to a demographic that ordinarily wouldn’t care, or might be paying for their girlfriends’ abortion(s). It’s not didactic, or saccharine, or otherwise radioactive to the young male audience. It will appeal to their thirst for justice, and to their preference for violence as mediator of meaning, but, in a parable-like way, may reveal some readers as perpetrators of injustice. The plot is dark, fast-paced, violent, and unconventional. Imagine the movie Juno, but hijacked by writer-directors Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”) and Tim Burton (“Corpse Bride”).
Alphonse is treated not so much as victim as protagonist in the story line. He’s taking matters into his own hands, motivated by the way he has been treated. It’s an interesting story choice, a kind of twist on the common perception of the unborn as aggressor against one’s future happiness, as a sort of disease agent attacking one’s dreams.
I’d recommend that you buy the comic book if you have an interest in this effort. Like most worthy artistic projects, it won’t continue without patronage / financial support:
This is, for me, a labor of love – I just want to tell the story of Alphonse. But my artist and letterer need to eat. I think Chris and Wes are very good, and their work is well worth what I pay for it. But it was only because of the generosity of friends that I was able to afford the production of Issue One. So, if you’re curious to see what happens next, here are some ways you can help.
- Buy Issue One of Alphonse, and tell others about it. I have a feeling that support for a story like this is going to spread by word of mouth or probably not at all. If you like what you read, if you think there’s something worthwhile there, tell someone. All profits from Issue One will go to finance the rest of the series.
- Ever hear of Kickstarter.com? It’s a micro-financing site that allows you to make donations toward the creation of a project, donations that will be transferred only if a given project is 100% funded. So if you pledge $10, that $10 goes into my account only if enough money is pledged to complete production of Issue Two. If I don’t get enough pledges, no money is transferred, and everyone walks away clean. My Kickstarter project page can be found here.