Christiania

Category: Alternative

13-year-old signs deal for two graphic novels exposing social media’ darker side

Young teen’s stories inspired by personal experiences with app sensationalists and influencers

Abi Behe, a British/Canadian teenager has agreed a book deal with UK publisher Markosia for her graphic novels Christiania and Charlie Dirtbags.  Co-created with comic artists Taka, Thomas Muzzell and Thomas John, both books will come out in 2023.

Released this spring, Christiania is set in Freetown Copenhagen — Scandinavia’s crown jewel of artistic expression — and centers on social media’s disruptive impact on a defiant Danish teenage girl. Left alone to raise herself after her parents are forced out of the community, the resilient girl thrives withstanding a barrage of social media peer pressure – until a seemingly trustworthy friend starts using her in an effort to become a dark web app’s top influencer.

“When I thought about making the female characters, I wanted them to have experiences similar to girls my age,” says writer Abi Behe. “I hope people can relate to her because I sometimes feel how she feels in the story.”

In the tradition of noir Danish comics portraying idealistic societies with a darker, dysfunctional underworlds, the lead character is a personification of Freetown — a energetic community constantly resisting mainstream superficiality whilst struggling with violent crime and rife addiction within its boundaries.

“Christiania the girl represents what the real place is all about,” says Behe. “She has gone through all sorts of problems over the years and survived. But then a social media villain tries to destroy Christiania’s real spirit.”

Wordless double page spreads emulate the rich vivid single-scene, multi-character graffiti and street artwork created on walls throughout Freetown – a stark contrast to rapid-fire content streams in the criminal digital world it seeks to expose.

“We wanted to make big double page spreads so readers could soak up each scene and calmly pick up all the meaning,” says Abi. “And that is completely different to reading lots of social media messages or news feeds on our phone.”

Both of Behe’s books are set in the world of Contraband, an exploding dark web app attracting people jaded with state censorship, sponsored spam and cancel-culture on mainstream social media. Contraband becomes a voyeur digital underground where profit hungry mobs prowl city streets filming radical events to satisfy society’s insatiable demand for sensational content. But when activists hack the app giving control to any influencer with the most followers, chaos ensues as people everywhere go to any lengths to get the money and fame of being Contraband #1.

Released later in 2023, Charlie Dirtbags is a dark action thriller about sensationalist social criminals seeking fame and wealth on Contraband at the expense of vulnerable followers. CharlieDirtbags, SeamStressed, OllyGark and other online crime titans share investment and schemes promising to split the billions if one of their ultra-radical clips hits Contraband #1 — but chaos ensues when the villains decide not to play ball.

Markosia publisher Harry Markos is excited about the upcoming publications. “These graphic novels are both excellent. Christiania clearly shares a personal message from the author and Charlie Dirtbags will be quite a lot of fun.

For more information, tjbehe@gmail.com | contrabandgraphicnovel.com/christiania

ID: 9760
Published: December 27, 2022
Views: 238
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