WHO IS AURA?
Alexis Pope, a fledgling fashion designer based in Brooklyn, lives with Bipolar Disorder and associated migraines. Her headache harbinger – a rainbow-tinged visual aura – is actually an energy form that transforms her thoughts into physical projections. Alexis can also fly and levitate objects, all with the polychromatic power of her mind!
But despite her powers, Alexis has faced difficulties related to her Bipolar Disorder – she survived a suicide attempt and has struggled to find the right treatment. As if these challenges aren’t enough, the stigma associated with mental illnesses like Bipolar Disorder has caused Alexis to feel isolated and marginalized.
With effective treatment, an empowered Alexis reframes the role mental illness plays in her life and embraces her heroic identity, forging ahead as the super hero AURA!
WHY MENTAL ILLNESS?
Over half of Americans – 183 million people – have experienced a diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Why, then, are there so few representations of people with mental illnesses in comic books?
And why, when mental disorders are depicted, are they overwhelmingly associated with violence and villainy? The vast majority of people with mental disorders do not commit violent acts; studies show only about 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illnesses.
As a psychiatrist, mental health advocate, and life-long comic book fan, I felt the need to take corrective action, so I teamed up with artist Marguerite Sauvage (DC BOMBSHELLS) to redefine how mental illness is portrayed in comics.
HOW IS AURA DIFFERENT?
The PRISM Award-winning short story, AURA, featured in RISE: COMICS AGAINST BULLYING #2 from Northwest Press, eschews the shameful, archaic depictions of mental illness that have become ubiquitous tropes in comics. You’ll find no “psychotic serial killers” here; AURA provides a positive role model, not only for people with mental illnesses, but for anyone who defies stereotypes and believes they’re more than just a label.
Please support AURA as we build on the success of the short story and pitch an AURA mini-series to comic book publishers!
- Writer: Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D.
- Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
- Letterer: Rachel Deering
- AURA logo design by OkPants