Centerstone Prevention Services has created its second comic book for students who are dealing with important social issues. Smokescreen: No Time for Bullies is available now, just in time for Bullying Prevention Month, for distribution throughout Tennessee and Southwestern Kentucky and can also be read and reprinted for free online at whoyouwant2be.org/comics
Written by Centerstone Senior Media Specialist Ian Skotte, with illustrations by Nashville artist Michael Cribbs, Smokescreen: No Time for Bullies teaches kids the importance of not acting on impulse when provoked by a bully. The 16-page, full color comic introduces the character Smokescreen, a student attempting to master his skills at a school for superheroes. A fellow student, the Manipulator, and her henchman, Hippo, attempt to lure Smokescreen into retaliating against their bullying, which results in the hero being kicked out of school. Luckily for Smokescreen, he develops the ability to turn back time with the help of his superhero schooling. Unfortunately, in real life that can’t happen.
“That is something we want to teach students,” says Centerstone Program Coordinator Ashleigh Hall, a Certified Prevention Specialist. “Real life choices have a lasting effect on you and those around you.”
By creating this comic, Centerstone aims to reach students and help them make the right choice when facing a bully – or even seeing a fellow student being bullied. There’s even a special Q&A insert included stimulating conversation among students about the educational information they just read.
Tabatha Floyd, team leader for Centerstone’s Violence and Bullying Prevention services, points out that more often than not, bullying stops within ten seconds of a bystander stepping in to help.
“There are scenes in this new comic book where bystanders comment about the degree of bullying taking place,” Floyd said. “What we’d like to see is students stepping in and saying something – or telling a teacher or an adult about what’s happening – rather than sitting back and watching the bullying unfold.”
Prevention specialists at Centerstone will distribute Smokescreen: No Time for Bullies during presentations at schools where the organization is already present and will give copies to teachers at those locations. The comic will also be distributed at various school and community events, shared with counselors and promoted online via social media.
This isn’t Centerstone’s first go around in the comic world. Spark and the Sext Message that Nearly Destroys Her recently won a 2015 Davey Award from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts.
“My students really enjoy these comics,” said Kristi Huffine, a school counselor at Ellis Middle School. “I really liked the insert. It gives us a way to discuss these topics after reading.”
Through its Teen Pregnancy Prevention services, Centerstone has a presence in schools, community centers and juvenile detention facilities throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. Learn more, read the comics or make contact at WhoYouWant2Be.org.