Something Terrible

Originally posted on October 24, 2013

I stumbled onto a comic about sexual abuse:

Something Terrible is a short autobiographical comic by Dean Trippe, and deals with mature subject matter, including childhood trauma and Batman.

Dean Trippe is best known as the creator of the superhero parody webcomic, Butterfly, and as the co-founder and co-editor of Project: Rooftop, the superhero costume redesign art blog. He is also co-host of The Last Cast podcast, and you can follow him on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Email for more information.

It is a powerful story, and reminds me much of my own. Comic books and comics-based TV shows and films, especially Batman: The Animated Series, were a refuge for me growing up. Once I left that house, I bought as many comics as I could afford.

They gave me a sense of something better than what I was dealing with. They helped me understand that I could move passed what happened to me. They showed me that I did not have to become like the people who hurt me. I could be a better person. That was something no real person ever said to me for a long time.

Trippe mentions the idea that abused boys will become abusers in his comics. That idea stayed with him, and plagued me as well. It had enough of an impact that I could not stand my godson hugging me when he was a toddler.

People often fail to realize how much these narratives and stigmas affect abuse survivors. People rarely see it up front. They rarely see the struggles, the pain, or the indecision. They do not see the doubt, the confusion, and the fear.  It is easy to tell someone to “get over it” when you do not know what they have to get over.

Trippe’s comic gives an insight into what some male survivors go through. It is definitely worth the read.

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13 thoughts on “Something Terrible

  1. Powerful stuff. This song had a similar affect on me, though my abuse was not the same the feeling it evokes and the imagery of the child hit home for sure.

  2. While it’s a great story (and very touching), I fear he probably won’t understand or know that women can rape men and boys too. I mean, he was abadonned by his father, raped by a male teen, then he feared having a son, and the only people who supported him were girls and women.
    :( I wish there was a comic out there depicting girls and women who rape and hurt boys and men. :(

  3. Eagle, it is no problem. As I noted to others before, WordPress loves to randomly moderate comments.

    As for someone writing a comic about female perpetrators, I know an artist who has an idea similar to that. I do not know when he plans to work on it.

  4. Nothing so terrible ever happened to me, but when I was a kid I took refuge in comics too.

    “I wish there was a comic out there depicting girls and women who rape and hurt boys and men”

    Coincidentally enough, in the movie “Super” the hero’s borderline-psychotic sidekick–a woman he meets at a comic store–forces herself on him sexually.

  5. “Coincidentally enough, in the movie “Super” the hero’s borderline-psychotic sidekick–a woman he meets at a comic store–forces herself on him sexually.”

    Yet how much you want to bet it’s played off as not a big deal or for laughs? Or he never defends himself and the action is depicted as a real “Grrl Power” moment?

    Then again I haven’t seen it myself.

  6. Eagle, it has been a while since I watched the film, but from what I recall the scene is played as disturbing. The film itself is a disturbing dark comedy (think an Alan Moore version of Kick Ass), so very little is presented in a serious way, although there is some heart to the film.

  7. TS: “The film itself is a disturbing dark comedy (think an Alan Moore version of Kick Ass)”

    Please don’t get me started on Alan Moore. Like Clive Barker, he’s a brilliant writer but a gynocentric ignorant idiot who tows the feminist line. God, I tried reading League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and raged like hell when I noticed just how bumbling and dysfunctional he depicts the male literary figures while the female is all brains and keeps everything together, getting them out of jams.

    Apart from that, “Super” sounds enticing. I’ll check it out.

  8. Please don’t get me started on Alan Moore. Like Clive Barker, he’s a brilliant writer but a gynocentric ignorant idiot who tows the feminist line.

    I have not read all of Moore’s work, but nothing I have read gave me that impression. I thought all the characters in LoEG were dysfunctional in some way.

  9. TS: “I have not read all of Moore’s work, but nothing I have read gave me that impression. I thought all the characters in LoEG were dysfunctional in some way.”

    You’re WAY wrong, Toysoldier.

    All the male literary figures (especially Quartermain) have vices, squabble with each other, and are basically dysfunctional louts (save for Captain Nemo).

    Meanwhile, Miss Murray may have had her traumatic encounter but that doesn’t prevent her from bossing them around, insulting Quartermain and even belittling him after getting the both of them out of a jam in that homeless shelter (after Quartermain explains the reasoning behind kissing her, she basically says “Fine, apology accepted”. I was so close to tearing the pages apart while I yelled “BITCH, HE GOT YOU OUT OF HAVING YOUR COVER BLOWN YOU UNGRATEFUL TWAT!”), and gets them out of trouble (like when the men struggle to contain the invisible man, they’re bumbling their way around and all she does is hit him with a pan of some sort after making him visible with paint. You know, just for fucking once I’d like a male character to solve a problem. Why did it always have to be Miss Murray?”) Even when the men come out on top it’s y accident.

    Sorry, but Alan Moore is too triggering for me now. All because he had his Jack The Ripper character make a speech based on the workings of Margaret French in “From Hell”. The same Margaret French that made her character say “All men are rapists and that’s all they are”, still blames men for women’s troubles and even wrote another book degrading them. Alan Moore even RECOMMENDED her works!

    Alan Moore and Margaret French are fuck buddies as far as I’m concerned, with the same ideological underpinnings.

  10. Eagle, I think Murray’s behavior is a clear example of dysfunction. Her bossy nature made it difficult for others to get along with her. As for From Hell, just because Moore has a character make a speech does not mean he supports what the character said. Take Rorschach from Watchmen. Moore has left-leaning tendencies, yet the most pronounced character in Watchmen is a right-leaning misanthrope.

    You must be careful not to conflate a single character’s behavior or views with the author’s views.

  11. yet the most pronounced character in Watchmen is a right-leaning misanthrope.

    Who is heavily implied to have been sexually abused by his mother.

  12. TS: “Eagle, I think Murray’s behavior is a clear example of dysfunction. Her bossy nature made it difficult for others to get along with her.”

    Yet she’s the one that always comes out on top and portrayed as in the right every single god-damn time. In other words, she doesn’t earn a single iota of her character development.

    This is another pet peeve, particularly when writing female protagonists: The authors always feel that they don’t need to pay their dues just like every other character in a story.

    In my opinion, a strong female character has to EARN her development. If Miss Murray is bossy by nature, have it be a detriment to her development and the others call her out on it, that way she can develop some god-damn sense and realize that this flaw is preventing her from being fully-rounded. But no, she gets them out of jams, points out they are wrong, and isn’t called out on her ego; kid gloves treatment to the max.

    Or maybe it’s because I just want people to see that females, even as characters in a story, aren’t perfect after being bullied and seriously hurt by them along with the males in my life. I seriously doubt anyone will get it even after busting my ass to get my story in the mindless masses fucking conscious.

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