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'I didn't relate at all': Queer comic artist creates the characters he lacked growing up

"Z Class" features a diverse cast of characters across many identities.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — If you ask Kevvo about his first memory of a gay character, he'll tell you about North Star, a member of "Alpha Flight." If you ask him about the first character he thought represented him, that's a different story.

"I didn't relate to him at all," Kevvo says. That's his pen name, but as a kid growing up in love with comics, alias or not, he didn't see people like himself. That's why he created "Z Class", a graphic novel, meant for young adults that anyone can relate to.

"The themes are universal," he says. "It's about recognizing that we're all unique, celebrating those differences and figuring out how to come together as a team." 

That team is intentionally intersectional. From an Indian-American main character, to mixed race teammates and the LGBTQ+ characters absent from his childhood, Kevvo wants anyone who picks up his comics to feel seen.

"I think it's cool for a queer kid to see queer characters in comics," he says. "I think it's also really cool for straight kids to see queer characters in comics and realize that this is the is totally normal every day."

The book was funded through Kickstarter, nearly doubling its goal. Though not originally intended for comic shops, Kevvo says he hasn't ruled that out. The book is scheduled to ship out before the end of 2021.

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