“The day I chose humanity over religion”: Student Project for Graphic Narrative/Script Assignment Part II

Matthew Teutsch
6 min readDec 10, 2022

Over the past couple of posts, I’ve been writing about the Graphic Narrative/Script assignment I did in my “Monsters, Race, and Comics” class this semester. Today, I want to continue that topic by looking at another student crated project. Like the previous project that I wrote about last post, this project floored me. When I initially read it, I saw the influence of Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander’s work, specifically Nita Hawes Nightmare Blog, as well as Pornask Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell’s Infidel and other works. However, when the students presented their product to the class, they discussed so much more, relaying all of the allusions contained within the comic, notably songs such as Kendrick Lamar’s “Auntie Diaries” and references to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. I could do a whole post on all of these that they mentioned; instead, though, I want to take some time a look at some specific moments in the product that really stood out to me when I initially read it.

The students’ product centers on LGBTQ+ rights and the constant barrage of discrimination and violence against individuals, as we’ve see with the rhetoric surrounding the Respect for Marriage Act, mass shootings, and fear mongering on various media platforms. One need only look at recent events at libraries where armed individuals shut down Drag Queen story hours and demand books be removed from the library to community functions across the nation to see this. The students’ project approaches this milieu through the horror genre, presenting LGBTQ+ youth in a local community going missing and connecting a lot of it, as well, with the role of religion, and Christianity in particular, of fueling the rhetoric and violence.

The story centers on two friends, the unnamed protagonist and his friend Gerard. They are, in many ways, like Vee and El in The Low, Low Woods. They are both part of the LGBTQ+ community, but they are not sexually involved with one another. They are friends. After another teen, Riley, goes missing, Gerard and the protagonist talk about what has been going on. As they walk, they talk about their fears following Riley’s abduction. After walking past a building with “fairy” spray painted on the side and caution tape surrounding it…

Matthew Teutsch

Here, you will find reflections on African American, American, and Southern Literature, American popular culture and politics, and pedagogy.