"Denial," a 24-page graphic novel created by a group of students at Chula Vista High Tech High, was selected to be showcased at the San Diego Comic-Con International this year.
The project, conceived from an after-school comic reading group by multimedia instructor Patrick Yurick, teaches the creation and development of professional-grade comics.
As the project’s editor and chief, Yurick spent more than 1,000 hours working with students with the goal to create a definitive product at Comic-Con.
“Going to Comic-Con was a very intentional part of the project — having them do comics that will compete with professional work,” Yurick said. “Traditionally we do comics based on social and local issues… For this one, the kids pitched ideas and the group worked for about a month on something they could all agree with.”
The students have self published at least six graphic novels.
Although students began working on “Denial” last December a couple days a week, most of the work was completed during spring break within a 24-hour period.
Yurick said he’s watched his students mature creatively and as individuals.
Former student Julian Diaz took two of Yurick’s classes before graduating this year.
Julian, 17, attended Comic-Con last year for the first time and will go again this year, where they will have a booth and panel focusing on creating comics for all ages.
Julian said everyone was responsible for creating artwork for “Denial” and that he created the initial concept for the dark, end of day artwork.
“Over time we’ve created a collaborative artwork that’s definitely improved,” Julian said. “We took a sci-fi topic and turned it into a moral struggle with the main character.”
Julian said that with other comics they created they had trouble with consistency, but it was attention to detail and teamwork that made “Denial” surpass the other comics.
“The whole purpose of our group is to show people that a small group like this could get to Comic-Con,” Julian said.
“This is the best comic that we’ve created since our group’s existence and we’re really proud to showcase it.”
For 16-year-old junior Nicole Sarabia, it’s her first year working with the project. She said it has affected her greatly.
“It’s the slow building of yourself — raising your self-esteem,” Nicole said. “I almost think it’s a rite of passage. I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of this.”