This month marks the arrival of the 5th annual 30 Characters Challenge, the excellent event run by ComixTribe publisher Tyler James, where participants have to create a new comic character for every day of the whole month of November. I participated in the first year, successfully completing the challenge with 30 badly-drawn characters of my own, but haven’t done it again since. I won’t be participating this year either, but thought it might be fun to spend each day writing up a little showcase to celebrate a new comic character who showed up in comic pages for the first time this year. Comics are one of the most highly inventive mediums around, and this has been a particularly strong year for pumping out exciting new stories packed with compelling new characters. Let’s take a look at some of my favourites.
There is perhaps no character in this month-long list scarier than Lucas. I think it’s because he’s a monster that is utterly human and believable, yet at the same time eerily unknowable. A teenager in a secluded community of “preppers”, Lucas masterminds a scheme…. SPOILER ALERT… for all the communty’s children to massacre their parents and take over. As far as first issue switcheroo’s go, it’s an absolute doozy that leaves you floored. But it’s in the creeping dread of what follows in the subsequent issues that the true darkness of Lucas emerges.
On one hand, he can quite passionately argue about how he has compelling evidence for a huge apocalyptic scenario being just around the corner, and how murdering all the adults was a desperate play for self-preservation, with no other choice in site. But then you get these flickers of ambiguity that suggest he’s just utterly batshit and just opted to kill all these people because he could, and because being king and controlling all these younger kids seemed like a good idea at the time. And though he presents himself with the cold authority of an adult leader, Brisson cleverly reminds us that he’s still ultimately a child, giving him these petulant, petty moments of adolescent angst. And I think it’s the smallness and the meanness of his evil that makes him truly chilling, little bursts of hormonal anger elevated to murderous proportions.
The end of the latest issue of Sheltered promises a left-field reversal of circumstance for Lucas, and I’m intrigued to see where that takes us. But as dupicitous and unhinged as Lucas is increasingly appearing to be, I still have this sinking feeling that his predicted disaster is going to happen and prove him right.