Join The Comic Book Liberation Army

Teenagers From Mars by Rick Spears and Rob G. Gigantic Graphic Novels, 2005. 0976303809.  Collects Teenagers From Mars #1 – #8. 268pp.

I remember how much I loved this graphic novel when I first read it over ten years ago, and it’s just as good now. It’s a beautifully rendered fuck you to Frederic Wertham* and all the would-be goons who keep his attitude toward comics alive.

When Madison is shopping at Mallmart, some creep looks up her skirt. She beats the crap out of him and is escorted out by security. Nearby, at the comics counter, Macon argues with a woman complaining about a comic her son read. Macon’s boss intervenes, apologizes, and tells Macon to take down the comics and cancel the store’s next order. He says no. Macon doesn’t do well in the ensuing fist fight. When he arrives at a zombie party later that night, he pretty much already looks the part. He drinks too much. Madison arrives and goes to get made up like the rest of the undead. After she sits down in the makeup chair, instead of saying something inane like, “Go ahead and put on my zombie makeup,” she utters my favorite line of the book: “Kills me.”

They fall in like in the bathroom, and in love as they vandalize the Mallmart. The cops are pissed at their Comic Book Liberation Army graffiti — they see it as anarchy. Soon Macon is in jail, the zombie comic he’s been working on has been seized, and the town’s real zombies are burning comics in the streets. As soon as Macon understands that he doesn’t need to save or protect Madison (it’s clearly the other way around), they decide to retrieve his art and flee to avoid obscenity charges. Things do not go according to plan.

*Wertham is the asshat who, back in the 1950s, convinced Americans that comics caused juvenile delinquency. This resulted in all of the interesting adult comics titles disappearing and the mainstream American comics industry creating all comics content for kids for far too long. For more on this read The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America.

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