Dark Horse's IT'S ONLY TEENAGE WASTELAND Flips Teen Sci-Fi … – Screen Rant

Most sci-fi teenage dramas get right to the weirdness from the start. Dark Horse’s new series takes a much different approach by focusing on drama.
Warning: SPOILERS for It's Only Teenage Wasteland #1It's Only Teenage Wasteland is a new teen sci-fi drama from Dark Horse Comics, and it has a much different approach to the subgenre than books in the past.
From classics like E.T. to more recent smash hits like Stranger Things, fans have always loved a good teen sci-fi adventure. This trend continues in modern day comics with sci-fi books like Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, and What's The Furthest Place From Here? by Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss. These books, however, usually open by focusing heavily on the sci-fi elements, giving readers a sense of wonder and adventure right from the start. It is only after the sci-fi is established that the characters and their respective drama begin to flourish.
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It's Only Teenage Wasteland #1 by Curt Pires and Jacoby Salcedo does something different. The book opens and closes with some sci-fi, but 95 percent of the first issue has no science fiction or fantasy in it at all. In fact, aside from the issue's beginning and end, the comic plays out like a typical teenage drama. The protagonist of It's Only Teenage Wasteland is a queer boy named Javi who convinces his sister to throw a house party when their parents go out of town. He hopes to use the party to increase his social standing as he views himself and his friends as outsiders. Unfortunately, some bullies arrive at the house and cause problems for him. It's only in the issue's closing moments when everything goes white that he somehow awakens to find himself in a dystopian city.
There's no right or wrong way to approach a teen sci-fi story. Since single issue comics are relatively short, books tend to put the action, adventure, and sci-fi craziness front and center to hook readers quickly. Then, once things settle down, the meat of the story and characters can be fleshed out. It's Only Teenage Wastelands flips this and front loads the drama so that readers can become invested in the characters before their sci-fi journey begins.
A similar approach is taken in the movie Cloverfield. This movie is about a monster attack on New York City, however the first portion of the film is devoted entirely to a going away party for a man about to leave, and a woman for whom he has feelings. Their emotional journey is the core of the story. It's only once that's established that the monster attacks. It's Only Teenage Wasteland does the same with Javi. The reader becomes sympathetic to his plight. He has friends, but they may not understand him. He feels a bit lost, which will make his journey in this dystopian city all the more relevant. It's only the opening issue, but so far, it looks as if It's Only Teenage Wasteland will be a solid series for Dark Horse.
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It's Only Teenage Wasteland #1 is now available from Dark Horse Comics.
Frank Martin is a comic writer and author who is not as crazy as his work makes him out to be. He’s written the one-shot comics Macabre Motel and Grimm Space as well as the 2-part stories Polar Paradox, Pipe Creepers, and The Last Homicide. Frank’s novels include the YA sci-fi thriller Predestiny published by Crossroads Press, the lake monster tale Oscawana published by Severed Press, among others. His work on Screen Rant primarily focuses on comics. Frank currently lives in New York with his wife and three kids.


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