Traumatized "For Life"

Christopher Long is someone we at CBR have been paying attention to for some time. The Los Angeles-based writer has for the last few years been steadily building a reputation for himself as a creator of smart and entertaining indie comics about troubled people in bad situations making very bad decisions, most notably in IDW's "Easy Way," a story about drug addicts trying to steal drugs from drug traffickers; in Image Comics/Shadlowline's "Ward of the State," which finds foster kids trained as professional assassins; and now in Silent Devil's "For Life," his new May one-shot with artist Ilkka Lesonen about dark love, needs and desires, where things are not always what they seem on the surface. CBR News spoke with Long about the Silent Devil book and its difficult subject matter.

Nancy Cartwright is a haunted girl with a troubled past. She struggles constantly with the pain of sexual abuse inflicted upon her by her own father when she was very young, and the trauma remains with her into young adulthood, affecting her daily life. In seeking relief from the unrelenting fear of people, places and things that haunt her, "Nancy has created a portrait in her mind's eye of the perfect man to keep her safe, a knight in shining armor, if you will," Christopher Long told CBR News. "But Nancy's boyfriend Harry Crews isn't this man. Harry is a lanky and quiet man who isn't someone to protect himself, much less anyone else."

After a near-tragic accident in which her university's star athlete Ryan Jorgenson comes to her aid, Nancy's instincts are to gravitate towards the "alpha male" protector and allow herself to be swept off her feet. But what "For Life" teaches readers is that instincts are not always to be trusted.

"I hope people will read the book and come away thinking that I handled it delicately," said Long. "I took great pains to not trivialize a heinous crime that affects countless people each year. What I really wanted to show is that these victims are victimized for the rest of their lives – but that there is hope for them."

In partnership with Silent Devil Productions, a portion of the sales of "For Life" will be donated to Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency (CAPSA), a non-profit organization in Long's childhood home of Logan, Utah. Helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, CAPSA is dedicated to educating the public and preventing violence in the community. "This group," Long explained, "and groups like these, are in the trenches helping people that are victims of these heinous crimes."

Illustrating Long's script is Ilkka Lesonen, best known for his dark and evocative artwork in Cellar Door Publishing's "I Am Spartacus." "I felt Ilkka's moody and dark style was perfect for this material," said Long. "He did a wonderful job on this project. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of his work in the future."

As for the future of Christopher Long, the first of three issues of "Ward of the State" will hit stands in May from Image Comics and Shadowline Productions. Also coming out through Shadowline/Image is the first issue of Long's next miniseries, "Hiding in Time," which goes on sale in July.

"For Life" ships this May from Silent Devil Productions.

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