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WATCH: The Making of “Living In the Shadows,” Comic Journalism About Ohio Mixed Status Family

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Story Powerfully Depicts One Family’s Origins, Fears, and Hopes in Comic-Strip Form

Cincinnati, OH — Earlier this week, we highlighted the ground-breaking comic-strip series by political cartoonist Kevin Necessary of WCPO, about the life of a “mixed status” American family from Cincinnati.

“Living in the Shadows” is an illustrated story, in three parts, that goes deep into real-life experiences of an anonymized family, with mother Elana at the helm, big brother Alejandro (a DACA beneficiary), and two sisters, Adriana and Leticia, native-born American citizens.

Last night, WCPO “9 On Your Side” aired a short documentary about the making of “Living in the Shadows.” In addition to describing how and why Necessary told this story in this format, and the choices he had to make throughout his creative process, the most moving moments of the film are seeing reactions from the family depicted, and the cartoonist as he watches their reactions.

“Together, the comic-strip and documentary offer an intimate look inside a loving family that is rarely captured in regular news articles about immigration,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio.

When Elana, the mother, cries upon seeing her likeness and reading about her life in artistic form, Kevin knew that he had succeeded in staying true to her reality. He hoped that this meant that others who did not live the story would be able to identify or empathize.

Elana’s experience overcoming an abusive husband and becoming a single mother of three, in a city and country that were foreign to her, are particularly acute. Her son described it as learning how to walk again, with no one there to teach you.

He also talked about the anxiety mixed-status families go through on a daily basis due to the fear of deportation, and the fact that the only time they can be truly happy is when the front door opens and everyone is home safe.

There’s much more to see and read. Watch the documentary and read “Living in the Shadows: Part 1Part 2, andPart 3” via WCPO Cincinnati. See this America’s Voice Ohio statement for a brief chapter-by-chapter outline.