Bullying addressed in graphic novel with help from local writer

Credit: GrayHaven Comics
Credit: GrayHaven Comics

Marc Lombardi was bullied because of his weight.

“I’ve fluctuated in weight since I was a kid, it went up and down,” said Lombardi, a native of South Philadelphia. “And when I was fat, things were a problem.”

These stories, his personal tales of battling the bullies, were his contributions to the graphic novel “You Are Not Alone,” published by GrayHaven Comics, which attempts to reach out to the bullied and to show them – with images and words – that it’s not forever.

“The general message,” Lombardi said, “is to give hope to the victims of those issues and let them know they are not alone.”

Lombardi, 40, a graduate of Central High School and Temple University but an Abington resident since 2003, works in transportation. He joined GrayHaven recently as a fun side project.

And then 20 children and six adults were shot and killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., 11 days before Christmas in 2012.

Pondering how a collection of comic book writers and artists could help in its own way, the company’s creative directors decided to try and help address an entire issue instead of an isolated incident. They wanted to try and offer hope to those young people who are tormented and abused because of their race, creed, color, sexual orientation or physical appearance. Those who are most likely to lash out violently.

So they combined their powers and talents to create what would become – hopefully – a beacon of hope.

The result was a collection of short stories in the form of a graphic novel that would be distributed to schools, youth groups, shelters and other locations for free to help students deal with typical instances of bullying.

They felt their medium was a perfect megaphone.

“We figured that comic books are sort of an outlet that kids might be a little more accessible to the message,” he said. “There are only so many after-school specials that you can watch. And you sort of hear the same message delivered the same way time and time again. It loses its impact.”

And they hop to reach the bully as well.

“Not only do we want to reach out to the people who have been bullied and kind of give them hope,” he said. “But reach out to someone who’s bullying someone and really give them some perspective.”

Besides bullying, stories cover violence, homophobia, racism. “We really tried to cover as many topics as possible,” Lombardi said.

At the end of each chapter contact information for resources that can help with similar problems are listed.

The team is already planning a sequel, which brings the victims to the forefront.

“The goal,” said GrayHaven Editor-in-chief Andrew Goletz, of Reading. “Is to have the kids write it.”

‘Kids can be very, very brutal’

District Attorney Seth Williams, who spoke at an anti-bullying event Wednesday at Dimner Beeber Middle School in Malvern, said talking about bullying helps to open discussions concerning conflict resolution.

“Kids can be very, very brutal and it leads many students to not want to go to school, it leads to violence,” he said. “And so us talking about bullying really allows us to begin the discussion about how can we resolve conflict.”

Copies

Any educational, youth or victims organizations interested in a copy of the book should email the company at gatheringanthology@hotmail.com. The book is also available for purchase on its website.

____________________

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.