I read, write and talk about books all the time which isn’t a surprise considering the blog I’ve created but I’m also a huge fan of comics and graphic novels. I thought it would be cool to have a day that looked at the topic of sexual assault in the context of comics and I wanted to use Dean Trippe’s mini comic: Something Terrible.
Something Terrible is about Dean Trippe who, at six years old, was sexually assaulted by teenage boy. The comic takes us through Dean’s journey dealing with the emotional trauma of the event and hardly any dialogue is present which places the burden of the storytelling on the art work. Trippe’s art is so powerful and so emotive that the burden feels lightweight as the reader is taken on this journey that will either give fellow survivors something that can understand their own pain or educate and give people like me a look into this issue. We learn while reading the comic that the 1989 Batman film introduced Batman’s origin story (he watched his parents get murdered in front of him as a child) to Dean for the first time which really resonated with him.
I started writing Something Terrible a little over a year ago, after a conversation with my friend, Ben, in which I offered my own secret origin to explain my dislike of crazy/broken depictions of Batman. I feel like Bruce Wayne would’ve gone crazy if he hadn’t become a bat. He need an outlet for his pain. He had only a child’s solution to an unsolvable problem: He became a superhero.
I wrote a little bit about boys and sexual assault and Trippe talks about that as well in his Afterword which is a fantastic read. Trippe also talks about the misconception that the abused become the abuser which isn’t true and that most abusers aren’t even victims themselves.
I think it’s important to keep that in mind when watching television programs that say otherwise and, as we’ve learned all week long, there are so many misconceptions out there regarding sexual assault. Something Terrible as a title doesn’t only reflect what happened to Dean but also what he’s afraid is inside him due to those misconceptions. I hope that, by reading this post, the comic will get a signal boost so that more people can become moved, informed and spurred into acquiring more information on the subject. I want this knowledge to be paid forward so that maybe we can all be a little less removed for the things others suffer.
You can read the comic here for free but I suggest purchasing it so you can have access to the Afterword I mentioned before.
A. A. Omer