Prepare to be enthralled by “A Haunted Girl,” a brand new four-issue miniseries co-authored by renowned comic book writer Ethan Sacks. But this isn’t your typical superhero tale; it’s a story deeply rooted in the complexities of mental health and empowerment.
The narrative revolves around Cleo, a 16-year-old Japanese-American girl who battles depression and anxiety, leading her to contemplate suicide and land in a psychiatric ward. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers her unique connection to an ancient lineage with the power to combat paranormal threats. Yes, get ready for a looming supernatural apocalypse!
What makes “A Haunted Girl” even more special is its personal connection to the co-author, Ethan Sacks. In a poignant moment of inspiration at a hospital’s cafeteria, where his daughter Naomi was undergoing treatment for severe depression, the idea for this series was born. Naomi, now 19 and a co-author herself, contributed her personal experiences to the story, offering a fresh perspective on her journey through her mental health struggles.
The series explores the genre of supernatural horror, serving as a metaphor for the real-life horrors faced by those dealing with mental health issues. As Ethan puts it, sometimes, the experience of dealing with mental health challenges can feel like being in a horror movie, but just like in the best horror films, there’s catharsis and hope.
Both Ethan and Naomi were dedicated to portraying mental health sensitively and responsibly. They collaborated with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to ensure their story didn’t perpetuate myths or stigma around mental illness. Their dedication to authenticity led to adjustments in the script to make it safe for readers, especially young ones.
Naomi’s contributions to the story include scenes set in school, the hospital, and therapy sessions, drawing from her own coping mechanisms during her recovery journey. On the other hand, Ethan handled the supernatural elements and demon scenes, creating a balanced and engaging narrative.
The first issue of “A Haunted Girl” will be available from October 11th at comic stores and online, and it includes an AFSP guide to suicide prevention resources, highlighting the importance of open discussions about mental health. Next year, you can look forward to the miniseries in a trade paperback.
Ethan’s hope for this project is clear: to empower young people and their loved ones to openly discuss mental health challenges. As he says, “With this project, we’re just leaning into this idea where you should not be ashamed or afraid of telling people.”
So, mark your calendars for “A Haunted Girl” and get ready for a unique and empowering comic book experience that delves deep into the world of mental health while offering a thrilling supernatural adventure. It’s a story of strength, resilience, and the power to overcome even the darkest of challenges.