STATEMENTS: Medialia Gallery & The Ethyr Presents: From Panel to Panel: Read for Change Comics & Picture Book Exhibit :: March - April 2018 :: NYC :: The Avenging Angel by Jen Wojtowicz

"The Avenging Angel is a direct response to that day of shame and infamy, November 8th, 2016.

I was driving by the woods the next morning in a state of disheartened disgust and anger. I thought about the trauma so many girls and women face, have faced. I thought about how I used to walk a lot, but I stopped because walking alone past the woods made me feel unsafe. I thought about all of the places I just don’t go alone because I feel unsafe. I thought about feeling like a person, but being targeted because I’m a female person. I thought about how great it would be if no person had to fear violence. I thought about taking back the woods. And because our country had just taken a giant step backwards, because I was angry, for myself and for every single person who has so much to lose because committing rape and sexual assault, because practicing and professing misogynyracismbigotry and prejudice DID NOT PRECLUDE A PIECE OF SHIT FROM BEING ELECTED TO THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE UNITED STATES, I thought about someone, a guardian and protector, an omnipotent being, who would stop the evil and avenge the wronged.

I asked her who she might be, and she told me.

This is her story.

After my youngest daughter died at birth in 2011, I read Sukie Miller’s excellent book
Finding Hope When a Child Dies: What Other Cultures Can Teach Us. The thing that stuck with me was Miller’s invitation to the reader to use their imagination when thinking of their child and where they might be, what their afterlife might be like, what they are doing now. It was the single most important thing I internalized, and it helped me be ok. Different, but ok. The next most important thing was that Miller addressed the perception the living have that our dead are somehow “frozen” in time- that they stopped when they died, and so our relationship with them is stuck in time too. It helped me to understand that the trauma around my youngest daughter’s birth and death were not actually her, and that she was far bigger and more important than how she died.

The things I learned from my younger daughter I brought with me in writing about Aniela. Death does not stop her, violence does not stop her, and her whole life is not about what an evil piece of shit did-it’s not the most important-or the most interesting- thing about her. There are no descriptions or depictions of Aniela’s death in the story. She does mete out some heavy vengeance on the evil, though."

~ Jen


From Panel to Panel: Read for Change: A group show of original and print cartoons, comics, illustrations and picture books