It’s Small Press Spotlight Wednesday and I am personally excited for this one. Version Control: The Reckoner Rises from HighWater Press has its second volume set to release on April 26. This next installment is a followup to Breakdown (The Reckoner Rises, Vol. 1), a graphic novel for young adults ages 15 through 18 by Governor General’s award winning writer David A. Robertson. The tale explores the topic of mental health alongside the adventures of indigenous superheroes.
Read details here:
“Shortlisted for Joe Shuster Awards (Artist) and mentioned as one of the best books for kids and teens by Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC), this series explores the topic of anxiety disorder, which is deeply significant and personal to the author—and the most common mental health problem in Canada, with one in ten Canadians affected, which was further exacerbated by the pandemic.
In this second installment of the series, the protagonist Cole—a teen Cree superhero—is badly injured after a vicious fight and is supported by the resolute, empowered Eva—an Indigenous female superhero who takes this story forward.”
Robertson chatted with The Beat briefly about the upcoming book and how he manages his own mental health struggles:
“I’ve found that over the course of my writing career, the more I talk about anxiety, it helps me as much as it helps others. We all need to know that we aren’t the only ones living with mental health struggles. Anxiety is a lonely feeling, but we are not alone.
It was cathartic for me to write about my own struggles through Cole. It was hard to face and write about my experience with anxiety and depression this way, but in the end, I think it was a good thing for me and it has helped others feeling less alone.”
And on the importance of shedding light on not only mental health but also indigenous characters, female heroes, and more:
“It’s all about representation. I want people to feel seen. I want people who are going through their own struggles to meet Cole and recognize in him what they are going through. And it’s about time there were authentic, powerful Indigenous superheroes that do not fall into any stereotypes, and that have agency. Especially for a character like Eva. She is a strong, smart, non-sexualized Indigenous female, and that’s so important.”
Check out the cover below!