QUEEROES: From Glitter and Pompoms to Head Wraps and Jockstraps

Bereznai - Photo Credit Mitchel Raphael

By Steven Bereznai

During the first COVID lockdown, I really struggled because I was cut off from the organized weekly social outlets I had in my calendar, particularly the masters water polo I’ve trained with for more than 10 years.

So, I pursued a long-ignored dream, which was to create a graphics novel for my gay teen super hero novels, Queeroes (originally published in 2009).

In true autistic fashion, once I got into digital art, I went into a deep hole of learning and productivity. I no longer missed water polo and ignored the dreaded burnout that many of us face even as I felt it coming on. I made it through, have slowed down, and am thankfully back in the pool.

While I did finish the graphic novel, I ultimately moved on to create stand-alone images to accompany a reimagined version of the original Queeroes stories, which I’m now releasing on the story-publishing website Wattpad (it’s free, and they allow images).

One of the big differences in the Wattpad version of Queeroes is I now know I’m on the spectrum (officially diagnosed a few months ago). As I’ve learned more about my neurodivergence and ability to mask, I now see one of the characters, Troy, through a very different light.

Troy likes order, emotional control, logic, tracking his nutrients, and routines. He tries to imitate his BFF Jesse who is fun, gregarious, and a social star as a way to fit in.

All of this is based on me, and it’s so clear now that Troy’s on the autism spectrum.

With this recognition, I can now write Troy’s autism, and how he’s masking, so much more intentionally as he slowly figures it out. At the same time, I appreciate sass, fitness, and a bit of darkness, so there’s plenty of creep-show fun as a shadowy menace challenges him and his fellow Queeroes along the way.

I didn’t expect the style to take on a retro horror pulp fiction vibe, but I was going for Riverdale meets Elite and American Horror Story, so I’m feeling it 😊.

The first three chapters of the reimagined Queeroes launched on Wattpad this past week with new chapters coming every Thursday and Saturday, all for free. And hope you all enjoy the 3D art.

Bereznai - Photo Credit Mitchel Raphael

I’m an neurodivergent Achillean author. My writing ranges from young adult dystopias (Generation Manifestation) or gay teens with superpowers (Queeroes) to adult books (How A Loser Like Me Survived the Apocalypse, Gay and Single…Forever?) to kids’ picture books (The Adventures of Philippe series). What they all have in common is heart, humor that is paradoxically light and dark, and a love for the fantastic. I’ve also been known to play master’s level water polo and be really particular about my eating 🙂

Photo Credit on Header: Mitchel Raphael

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