Rose & Thorn #3, April 2004, cover by Adam Hughes
Incredibly proud of this book, a really dark story that takes place in large part in the lead character’s mind. The first time I met Greg Rucka, he came up and raved to me about it, and let me tell you, I walked on air for the entire weekend.
It’s never been collected…but the wonderful Mark Waid had the entire series bound in green leather for me for my birthday one year. Best present ever (except for the other presents he’s sent…Mark is AMAZING at presents!)
Wow. I had no idea Gail Simone wrote this series. I read it when I was a teenager, back before I started paying attention to those things. I still have the whole series, though, saved in protectors and occasionally displayed for the fact that the cover art is glorious. Still one of the best written mini-series I’ve ever read.
Thank you so much, it means a lot to me, personally.
When I write teenage characters, you will see a theme pretty routinely, which is a little darker than much of my other work. The common way to write them is usually as happy go-lucky adventurers, horny party time funsters enjoying life and their powers, like the Teen Titans or some of the younger X-men, as an example.
My teenage stories have a bit of an edge to them, which is that a young person without a support system is a target for victimizers. Our society is very, very rough on young people whom it deems as vulnerable. If you are poor, and young, there are people who want to take advantage of that, and life can get very hard and very dangerous very quickly.
I’m not talking about sexual abuse, although that’s obviously out there. But the entire package…abusive employers, apathetic (if not worse) police, dangerous living situations, the whole thing. If you’ve been young and poor, you know how hard it is, when you are a step away from being homeless or incarcerated at any moment. It’s when the system that at least makes a token effort at protecting children stops worrying about you entirely, and every official eyes you with suspicion and mistrust.
And you are ripe for abuse…who are you going to tell? Who will believe you?
Roshyn in the Rose and Thorn book is based on a real girl and the real obstacles she had to face in a system that views teenagers as the enemy. Expendable. It was a similar theme in my Gen13 run…I know Wildstorm picked me because they expected funny, carefree stories. But when the issues came in, they were very much about the darker side of being without a support group at an age where you are just approaching adulthood. It resonated with a lot of people, for which I’m thankful.
Rose and Thorn is still one of the most personal stories I’ve ever written in comics.