In 2017, Dark Horse Comics published Cecil Castellucci and Jose Pimienta's graphic novel, Soupy Leaves Home.
Set in 1932, this is the story of two misfits with no place to call home, who build a relationship during a train hopping journey from the cold heartbreak of their eastern homes toward the sunny promise of California
Pearl Plankette ran away from her abusive father, but has nowhere to go until she stumbles upon a disguise that gives her the key to a new identity. Reborn as a boy named Soupy, she hitches her star to Remy "Ramshackle" Renault, a hobo who takes her under his wing. Ramshackle's kindness and protection go a long way to help Soupy heal from her difficult past. But Ramshackle has his own demons to wrestle with, and he'll need Soupy just as much as she needs him.
Dr Meryl Jaffe, PhD teaches visual literacy and critical reading at Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Online Program and is the author of Worth A Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Visual and Verbal Literacy, Raising a Reader: How Comics and Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love to Read and Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning. So she has chops. In 2018, she wrote educational materials for the CBLDF (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) about the use of Soupy Leaves Home in educational classes.
It is now getting a second edition, especially for schools, including and expanding on that CBLDF text.
Through nuanced characters, the use and layers of art, design, and color, and pithy, touching dialogue, Castellucci and Pimienta relay:
Different ways we all struggle to find and follow our inner voices as we figure out who we are
Gender stereotyping and gender equality issues
Finding ways to be oneself—even when it breaks with others' expectations
Dealing with fear
Dealing with abusive relationships
The power of friendship, especially when things get tough
The power and perils of dreams
Finding ways to "see" truths in life and within the people around us
The difficulties of being uprooted and finding oneself and one's place in the world
Soupy Leaves Home Second Edition will be published by Dark Horse on August 17th, 2021.