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Markosia Returns To Contraband With Christiana
Out in 2023
I reviewed the excellent graphic novel Contraband from Markosia in 2021. Since then, creator Thomas Behe’s son has joined the comic creator ranks with Johnny Recruit.
Now, Theo Behe’s sister has joined in with a spinoff in the world of Contraband, with Christiana coming in April 2023.
A social hack shifts control of web app Contraband to any top influencer - and now everyone everywhere wants to be #1.
A vibrant spirit liberated by a strong community, she’s grown resilient to a mainstream culture dominated by citizens seeking superficial status.
She’s endured hard drug dealers, police crack-downs and criminal biker gang dominance - but she wasn't prepared for a malicious attack from a fame-chasing sensationalist who wants to control, then destroy Christiania and everything she represents.
13-year-old girl signs publishing deal for two books exposing social’s darker side
Social media-active teen’s graphic novels inspired by personal experiences with online influencers
Abi Behe, a British/Canadian teenager has signed a 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 be published 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.
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“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.”
Five Facts about Christiania
At 13, Abi Behe is publisher Markosia’s youngest ever creator
Influenced by her experience interacting with social media influencers Behe’s story follows a resilient girl struggling to deal with social media crime and peer pressure
Graphic novels consist of double-page spreads and no dialogue to emulate the vivid single-scene, multi-character graffiti scenes created by dozens of artists in Freetown Copenhagen
Set in an alternative social media world, everyone’s fed up of mainstream social’s state censorship, sponsored spam and cancel culture - and chases the fame and ownership of dark web app Contraband
The Contraband graphic novel series has been praised by the FT, Wired, EW and the Comics Beat as ““an intense, dark foreshadowing of today’s tech-driven paranoia and online political chaos.”