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Darkness Calls - A Suicide Prevention Comic: Worth reading because it is good
Article by Scott Tingley, December 07, 2007

Teens know when they are being talked at and Public Service Announcements are quickly spotted and ignored by a lot of the people that need to hear the message. I was recently sent a pdf of a suicide prevention PSA comic called Darkness Calls. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I got more out of it that I was hoping for.

It's the story of a teenager who is bullied at school, is misunderstood by his teacher and feels socially isolated from his family.  Even though our hero, Kyle, has tremendous artistic talent and the support of a good friend he finds one day just too overwhelming and considers taking his own life.  It's a story of one youth's struggle to find his way.

The story is well crafted, using well known superhero archetypes or clichés in a way that fits perfectly. This is not really a superhero comic, but the legend character of Wesakecak is portrayed as such to add some action to the story and put ancient legends in a visual language that comic readers would relate to. The art is very nice and the rich colors are a perfect fit for the serious tone of the book. I am very impressed by the whole thing a very professional comic by Steve Sanderson, an Aboriginal youth cartoonist .

I have to say that I was a little put off at first that the one white guy in the whole book was the worst kind of teacher the one that almost pushes Kyle to commit suicide - I know this guy and many like him exists out there, but he looks like me in 15 years (no mustache though)! I've been that white teacher in an Aboriginal school before and it was one of the best experiences of my life (hello Stony Rapids, Sask !). Because of my time there I know how important a book like this can be, and this IS a wonderful book.

Self esteem is hard to come by, and while I'm not sure that it can be found in a comic book (or any novel), Darkness Calls might give some readers a bit of hope and a reminder that there are other choices available. Even though it is writen directly for them, this is not just a book for Aboriginal youth - it is too useful for that.

Aparently, the website isn't fully functional yet but pricing can be found at thehealthyaboriginal.net (5.35 a book, and the price goes down the more you buy).




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