Everyone becomes inspired by something and sometimes that inspiration turns into pieces of creative gold.
For Los Angeles based writer and illustrator Jules Rivera, she was inspired by her own life experiences and turned them into a magical, urban-fantasy graphic novel titled, “Misfortune High.”
Currently campaigning on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, Rivera’s colorful graphic novel is an all-age story of magic, diversity and friendship.
“Misfortune High” is about a teenage wizard named Will Bicksford—or Biscuit for short—who is quite the rich and snobby young man.
After getting caught cheating at his very prestigious, private school for wizards, Biscuit finds himself being sent away by his father to a public wizarding school in a bad part of town nicknamed Misfortune High.
In his new school, Biscuit finds himself out of his element and surrounded by diversity, something that he is definitely not used to.
“It’s also worthy to note that ‘Harry Potter’ and plenty of other fantasy stories have nearly no people of color, and Misfortune High is kind of a jab at that,” said Rivera in an email interview.
Rivera, being greatly inspired by the diversity at her own school as a young teenager, wanted to incorporate more people of color, which isn’t seen as much in graphic novels and anime.
After Biscuit racially insults one student named Johnny Cuervo, a rather intimidating guy who can shape shift into a crow, Biscuit ends up literally running for his life as Cuervo and the rest of the school hunt him down to beat him up for being so naive.
Just in the nick of time, Biscuit is saved by three wizards who create an illusion of Biscuit to distract the students who are after him.
The three wizards, Star, her brother Warren and Sonia all befriend Biscuit although much to Warren’s dismay, who is not as pleased to look after him all day.
Throughout the graphic novel we see what happens during Biscuit’s first day of school at Misfortune High and his interactions with the other wizards as he tries to (unsuccessfully) find his place in his new environment.
What really caught my eye about this graphic novel was Rivera’s brilliant and bold use of colors.
Instantly from the first page you see her bright colors that she incorporates into her drawings.
As a professional illustrator for seven years, color and atmosphere in storytelling was extremely important for Rivera when creating “Misfortune High.”
“When designing characters, I try to think about their personalities and their role in the stories when picking their color palettes,” said Rivera. “Colors are also great for invoking mood and atmosphere.”
The main characters Biscuit, Warren and Star all wear blue tones in their clothing which Rivera talked about being what people typically associate with the “good guy” while using black palettes for her more evil characters.
“It’s about invoking stereotypes and subverting them at the same time,” said Rivera.
With less than 20 more days left in her campaign on Kickstarter to reach her $3,000 goal, Rivera is only about $500 away.
If she earns enough money, Rivera plans to transform “Misfortune High” into a five-issue graphic novel series.
“I wanted to make a story where people like me could identify with the situations of the students—students who were good people but trapped in bad schools because of a lack of resources,” said Rivera.
With such a strong message of diversity, friendship and bravery this graphic novel is perfect for all ages and definitely brings a refreshing new take on the magic and fantasy genre.
For more information on how to back the “Misfortune High” project and to get a free eight page preview on Kickstarter visit, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/julesrivera/misfortune-high-book-1.