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In Time for Comic-Con, HIV-Themed Comic Books

In Time for Comic-Con, HIV-Themed Comic Books


Just in time for Comic-Con, an intro to three worthy comic books about HIV-positive characters.

Lost Raven (Bluewater Productions, 2007)
First published in 2007, but recently re-released and available as an e-book, the adventure comic Lost Raven,  tells the story of big city lawyer, Zak Raven, who quits his job after he learns he has HIV and sails away; only to be shipwrecked on a mysterious island and attacked by strange creatures. Written by HIV-positive Bluewater publisher, Darren G. Davis, and illustrated by Keu Cha and Sean Murphy, Lost Raven follows familiar comic book tropes, but stands out for its HIV-positive hero, who is capable of overcoming great odds as he struggles with the emotional turmoil his diagnosis raised. Lost Raven includes some “facts about AIDS” a young, straight, male audience should find particularly compelling. A portion of the profits are donated to Evergreen AIDS Foundation.

7 Miles a Second (Fantagraphics, 2013)
Seven Miles a Second is an autobiographical comic written by the late gay artist/AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz and illustrated by his friends James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, both artists living with HIV. Originally released in 1996 by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, it is being reissued by Fantagraphics. The illustrations are an over-saturated  brew of sjuxtapositioning styles and synthetic colors mixed withavant-garde, impressionist and watercolor art, swirled with porn, horror and monster movie imagery. Additionally, the narrative of 7 Miles a Second captures a moment in time, forever memorializing Wojnarowicz’ life and the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when having the disease was a death sentence.

AIDS in the End Zone (University of South Carolina, 2013)
A commendable effort to teach teens about HIV/AIDS, AIDS in the End Zone is a comic book edited by two University of South Carolina professors, Karen Gavigan and Kendra Albright and written with the help of boys incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Illustrated in four-color by S.J. Petrulis, it will likely appeal to its target audience with the story of bullying, teen rivalry, and HIV transmission. But — to resolve some troubling errors, simple omissions and unintended messages — it could have used another round of edits. 

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