Zero Press Comics 2015
Written by Brendan Hykes
Illustrated MJ Barros
Lettered by Sean Rinehart
Editor/Consultant Mey Valdivia Rude
Campaigners is set in the year 2076, where Presidential debates have been replaced with a no-holds-barred fight, usually to the death. The story centers around Kydra Franks, a high-school girl who finds the “Debate” barbaric and disgusting. When she publicly denounces the event, her rant goes viral and she unwittingly finds herself at the center of a massive social upheaval.
We open up and meet Bee and Kyd. Kyd is a normal teenage girl who worries about the rules whereas Bee is a transgendered girl who shows up to school as a girl and that’s technically against the rules. Best friends who have each other’s backs and that’s evident from the writing and characterisation that Brendan does.
I will say that if it’s 2076 I’d hope that transgendered people would have an easier time of it however that isn’t the case here. Though I will say this Brendan and his consultant Mey do a wonderful job of depicting such an honest reaction nowadays to the situation. While not everyone is freaked out by Bee and who she is there are still those who are and I guess that being different will always stand out, specially when they are used to seeing you as a boy and then you don’t dress/act that way anymore.
This isn’t about Bee though it’s about Kydra. She’s outspoken and gutsy and I like her. She’s easily the kind of friend you want to have and the kind of girl who doesn’t care if she’s liked or disliked she’s going to do and say what she thinks is right. Again incredibly good writing here from Brendan. There’s so much characterisation going on it’s great to see because all of it really leads up to the catalyst of the story. By establishing her personality and who she is leads into the event that will change her life forever.
We see the reaction to her event, you have to read the book to truly appreciate it, from a myriad of sides and people including the current President of the United States. However we see it best through Bee and her life and her new friends. There’s a division between those that are complacent and those who are young and whose voices are often overlooked.
The interiors are done in black and white. I applaud this decision as it readily shows off the artist skills of MJ. She’s a talented artist and the work is very expressive and nicely detailed. The flow of the story through the use of page layouts is easy to follow. The use of backgrounds is fantastic to see and it really does help flesh the world and where they are more. Also I like the androgyny of Bee right now the whole boy going to be a girl look is done well.
As far as I can see this only available digitally, you can find it on Comixology as well as zeropresscomics.com. There’s an interesting premise here surrounding how we elect a President, right on cue with the current election, and one girl’s view of the world today. Social issues and personal choice make for fascinating character studies.