When you can’t find the comic book you want to read, write it yourself.
That’s how Colorado Girl Scout Jessica approached her Gold Award project. A long-time fan of comic books herself, Jessica enjoyed the stories but often noticed that none of the characters looked like her.
“Representation matters. Being able to see someone who looks like you achieve great things inspires the community you represent,” says Jessica.
One way to change that? Write your own comic book. Jessica decided to focus her Gold Award project on addressing the lack of representation of Black women and women’s issues in comics. The result was her own comic, The Rise of Sorceress.
The Rise of Sorceress features a young woman of color named Lucy who is a superhero. Her call to duty? Fighting social injustice in her community. The comic book was Jessica’s idea, but she built a team of writers, illustrators, and editors to help turn her dream into a reality.
"The main reason why nobody is talking about these problems is because [the problems] keep going unnoticed,” says Jessica. “Women need to rise up, but first they need the spark to do it. The Rise of Sorceress brought the spark that inspires others to make positive changes in their communities, no matter where they live. Lucy’s determination and insecurities is what drives her story and inspires others.”
Once it was finished, the comic was made available on Webtoons, a website specifically for creator-written comics, and Amazon for anyone in the world to read it. In addition, Jessica was also able to make her comic a part of her school’s curriculum in English 4 classes and it’s available in classrooms and the guidance counselor’s office.
Writing The Rise of Sorceress helped Jessica realize it’s possible to be the catalyst of the change she wants to see in the comic industry. “This project also made me realize that the Gold Award's impact lasts much longer. I learned so much in terms of networking, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. With these skills, I feel ready to take on whatever the future holds for me—whether I'm creating an all-female drum line or becoming an astronaut.”
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