A new comic book depicting American youths rising up against the surveillance state is taking the comicverse by storm.Young Terrorists #1, released on August 19th by Black Mask Studios, was written by Matt Pizzolo with art by Amancay Nahuelpan and Jean-Paul Csuka.
The book follows Sera, the daughter of a man connected to the American elite, and Cesar, a young man on the run who is recruited by the Young Terrorists. The Young Terrorists is the name given to those who choose to live off the grid and rebel against the tyranny of the state. The story also involves drones, sex between clones, and enough attitude to satisfy both regular readers of comic books and those who are more interested in the message.
In one panel from the comic, we see Sera meeting the man who will soon be known as Cesar. As Sera points to a building in the distance, she says, “This neighborhood is what one might call a failed state. In the dawn of the industrial age it was an affluent suburb for auto industry elites, but they’re gone now.”
Sera goes on to describe how the group operates amid the failed state and constant surveillance. “We made deals with the corrupt police and local drug lords, carved out an eight-block radius. No cops patrol here, they don’t respond to calls. The immediate perimeter is the drug dens – they hold the line. Next perimeters no-income housing – free rent, free food, free utilities.”
Sera also describes the surveillance. She tells Cesar, “Drones fly overhead sometimes, just keep your hood up when you’re outside. You can be invisible here.”
The book has received rave reviews and is already sold out. A new printing is scheduled for September 16th. Perhaps there is hope for society when a comic book marketed towards a younger audience — with a story that resembles a possible future — sells out within days of its release. However, Young Terrorists is only the most recent in a wave of books and graphic novels that address surveillance and invasions of freedoms by the government and its corporate partners.
In November 2005, the first edition of DMZ was released to critical acclaim. Written by Brian Wood, the series is set in the near future, where a second American civil war turned the island of Manhattan into a demilitarized zone, or DMZ. The DMZ is bordered by the remaining forces of the United States of America and secessionist Free States of America.
Another popular book aimed at the youth is Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother,which followed four teenagers in San Francisco defending themselves against the Department of Homeland Security. The book does a stellar job of depicting violations of the Bill of Rights and Constitution that take place in our world today. Like Young Terrorists, the book was well received, debuting at No. 9 on the New York Times Best Seller List for children’s chapter books in May 2008. You can download Little Brother for free.
More recently, we saw the release of The Voluntaryist comic book. According to the book’s website, “Voluntaryist is the tale of a superhuman hero who finds himself pitted against the government as the government tries to enslave humanity once and for all. He is a young man with extraordinary powers created through a chance encounter with cosmic radiation. His personal mission is to rescue his parents from government agents, but that objective is often frustrated with the likes of giant monsters, super-villains, and even the U.S. armed forces.”
The Voluntaryist comic book features issues such as “The Voluntaryists VS The Tsa,” “The Voluntaryists VS Statist Zombies,” and an upcoming issue called “Saving Snowden: The Voluntaryists VS the NSA.” The writers state that the purpose of the book was “to give a sense of what is going on in America and, in addition, to offer the reader inspiration that something can be done to stop the coming dystopian future. It also promotes voluntaryist values in the narrative.”
Each of these comics and novels represents a powerful opportunity to connect with the youth of not only America, but the entire world. I clearly remember the impact that reading Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 had on my young mind. Perhaps by using a popular medium such as comic books and graphic novels, these writers and artists can help shape the next generation of revolutionaries.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist, community activist, gardener and promoter from Houston, Texas. He is the co-founder of The Houston Free Thinkers, and The Conscious Resistance Network. Broze also hosts and produces a weekly podcast under the name the Conscious Resistance Live. His writing can be found on TheConsciousResistance.com , The Liberty Beat, the Anti-Media, Mint Press News, Occupy.com and Ben Swann.com