Student-Created Graphic Novel Seeks to Impact Industry

Upset with how graphic novels and the media-at-large champion idealized body types and flawless characters, Zack Rocklin-Waltch ‘17 and friend Tessa Beatrice ‘17 set out to make a difference.

They recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $4,500 to fund printing of the first issue of Fury’s Forge, a nine-part series which they have been working on for over two years—ever since Beatrice, who attends Keefe Technical High School in Framingham, brought the idea to Zack.

The story follows five teenagers who must learn to trust each other to survive in a labyrinth-like facility. Featuring a majority of female characters, the graphic novel also showcases differing sexual orientations as well as racial diversity.

“We set out to write a story about real people,” says Rocklin-Waltch. “They look like real people and they act like real people. There’s a little bit of all of us inside of them, and the world really needs to hear them and their story.”

Most mainstream comics feature predominately good-looking white, straight, male characters. Recently, Marvel has introduced a female Thor, an Asian-American Hulk, and a black Captain America. DC comics has also introduced a lesbian Batwoman and a gay version of a Green Lantern. Still, these characters are far from ordinary looking.

“You won’t see the typical storyline of ‘does the boy get the girl,” says Rocklin-Waltch.  “The relationships are much more complicated than that. Despite sexuality being an important part of his character’s identities, Rocklin-Waltch says that “it doesn’t define who they are—it’s just one part of them.”

With 26 days left in the campaign, the Kickstarter is over 29 percent funded. Discover all sorts of cool rewards for donating. Check it out by clicking here.

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