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Monday, August 15, 2022

The creator behind the ‘Heartstopper’ phenomenon: book, series and topic of debate in UK Parliament

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The delicate literary universe of heart stopper, Translated into Spanish by Crossbooks (planetary group), never stops captivating. This story, which has its origins in an internet comic and revolves around the romance between two teenagers, has reached environments as unexpected as politics. He recently received praise from British Labor MP Luke Pollard in a sober parliamentary debate on conversion therapy for transgender people. “In the world Alice Oseman wrote about, diversity is celebrated, not excluded. People come together in a big hug and not with sticks. We should try to achieve that in this legislature,” emphasized the politician. The work’s impact is such that it has garnered exceptional acceptance for its way of depicting LGTBI relationships, including through an adaptation on Netflix.

But what does the figure behind it think of this phenomenon? Oseman (Kent, United Kingdom, age 27), a writer and cartoonist, thinks she can identify some of the keys that have brought her work to the fore. “With heart stopper I let the readers enjoy the happy moments without having to add a lot of drama and fear. There are many situations that are pure joy,” explains the author via video call. However, it also insists on the need for diversity in the tone of the stories that touch the world. funny [término paraguas para las orientaciones sexuales e identidades de género no normativas]. “There are stories that focus very much on serious issues and are not so pleasant to read. There will always be people who prefer one style over the other,” he explains.

While the Netflix series, which has already been greenlit for two more seasons, has been instrumental in spreading Oseman’s story, the truth is that it already had a sizable following on the small screen long before it premiered. . Evidence of this is the seamless transition from web-based comic to publisher-published graphic novel. In late June 2018, Oseman decided to launch a campaign on the Kickstarter platform to raise funds to fund the physical publication of his story. The goal was reached in just two hours, and three months later the Hachette Children’s Group acquired the publishing rights to the first two volumes. To date, four volumes of the story are in circulation, plus a coloring book and another with curiosities, author’s comments and unpublished illustrations.

For Oseman, his readers’ quick reaction to the idea of ​​facilitating a physical edition marked a before and after in terms of his perception of the scope of heart stopper. “When I got so much unexpected support on Kickstarter, I knew I had to work harder. It was a lot of pressure, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything,” says the author. Like other young authors taking their first steps on the Internet, Oseman places great importance on interacting with his readership. “Occasionally, when I’m not sure if a particular cartoon is what I want, I’ll just ask my followers what they think. If they don’t understand it, I have an opportunity to fix it before it’s published in a book,” he explains. He also doesn’t hide his general satisfaction with his audience: “I very seldom come across something that I don’t like.”

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Another aspect that should be highlighted heart stopper it’s his inspiration, which doesn’t exactly come from Western comics. It is in Japanese manga, which has grown in popularity over the past several decades, that Oseman found many references for the style of his work. Specifically, it was called the genre of love stories aimed at a young female audience shojo, the one that caught his attention the most. “I read a lot about it when I was in school as there was a lot in our library. In the manga, a lot of emphasis is placed on the expressions, gestures, body language and feelings of the characters,” he points out. In fact, the Japanese influence is readily apparent in Oseman’s stroke, which he admits enjoying more than writing the screenplay. “This part is where I can get distracted and have fun,” he admits.

The protagonists of “Heartstopper”, Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, in the comic.Alice Oseman (Cross Books)

This pleasure has been put on hold for the time being. On May 26, 2022, the author added a note to Chapter 208 of heart stopper in which he announced that he wanted to pause for a few months. “I have suffered from stress for a long time and it has affected my physical and mental health, so I cannot continue the comic in the best of conditions. My apologies to anyone who is disappointed, but if I continue I will not be able to create something that makes me happy and proud of,” Oseman said. In the previous episode, one of the play’s protagonists, Charlie, went to therapy and received advice from a professional on how to deal with his insecurities. Luckily for the author, her audience has managed to reproduce the same tolerance and positivity towards her that is shown in heart stopper in difficult situations of others.

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