People often say that if you want to find the best stuff, you need to know the right people. I say that if you want to find the best comics, just follow Becky Cloonan’s career. This artist from Italy has proven to be versatile behind either the artist’s or writer’s pen. Her style keeps the story grounded even when everything around the characters seemingly spins out of control such as discovering superpowers in Demo or delivering a message to a castle in The Mire. Exceptionally prolific, Cloonan remains a rising star within the industry as she looks to craft more stories through ink and words.
While Becky worked with Brian Wood (DMZ, Northlanders) previously on Channel Zero: Jenny One, it would be their next collaboration with him, Demo, that would rocket her into the spotlight as an artist with multiple awards and Eisner Nominations for that year. The series focuses on the lives and relationships of different young people dealing with special abilities. When you are trying so hard to fit in with everyone else, being extraordinarily different comes with a price. Think more Twilight Zone than X-Men when you pick up a copy. As the series moved on, the focus shifted to that of the relationships rather than the super powers.
Cloonan delivered some of the most riveting scenes in her next project, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. We see Cloonan not only tackle a coming-of-age store in extreme conditions as before, but also we see her manage to keep a sense a drama through her artwork. The story takes place after the original series, Danger Days, as the only survivor of the first gang of Killjoys must unite a new crew to take on the evil Better Living Industries. Even after getting work in more mainstream publications, Cloonan has never forgotten her indie roots and continues to self-publish her own comics such as Wolves, The Mire, and the award winning Demeter. Check them out at her website and pick up a copy while you’re there.
While Cloonen could have jumped on any of the bat projects, she chooses Gotham Academy, a high school placed in the center of the Batman universe. In an interview with DC comics, she mentions creating a comic that could potentially be the first comic to a lot of new readers. Not only could this be a gateway into the world of Batman, but she sees it as a way for students to start thinking about ways to start making their own comics. As the start for many young readers, it’s good to see that they are in the more than capable hands of Becky Cloonan.