Youth Group graphic novel breaks conventions

Youth Group graphic novel breaks conventions

A group of teenagers that pray by day and slay demons by night is the premise of a new graphic novel releasing in July. 

Writer Jordan Morris and artist Bowen (Bones) McCurdy are collaborating on Youth Group, which is about an Orange County teen church group. First Second will publish the comedic graphic novel. 

Mr Morris is the creator and co-writer of Bubble, the a scripted podcast turned two-time Eisner-nominated graphic novel, which Seth Rogan will produce as an animated feature. His comic credits include Archie Comics’ Chilling Adventures comics line and he is the co-host of the long running podcast Jordan Jesse Go! with Jesse Thorn. 

“I’ve always loved stories that mix horror and comedy,” Mr Morris said. 

 “I appreciate it when creators can play with the push-pull tension between laughs and screams.” 

When Kay reluctantly agreed to join the youth group at Stone Mission Church in Orange County California, she expected the Jesus talk and the dorky singalongs and the colorful posters about dodging temptation. What she didn’t expect was to stumble on her youth group leaders, Meg and Cortland, in the middle of a read-deal exorcism. Turns out they’re both soldiers in a secret organization of demon hunters in a war that’s heating up, and even if Kay wanted to stay on the sidelines, she doesn’t have a choice — she’s a “Blight,” a human who demons can’t possess, and apparently that’s made her a target.  

According to the creators, Youth Group mixes humour and horror to tell a story about putting aside differences to overcome evil. 

Bowen (Bones) McCurdy has worked with Marvel, Boom!Box, IDW, and First Second. Their first graphic novel, Specter Inspectors, co-created with Kaitlyn Musto, won the YALSA award for Great Graphic Novels for Teens.  

“This was any artist’s dream collaboration, with such a kind and talented writer to boot,” they said. 

 “Jordan’s characters are immediately lovable and relatable, regardless of their faiths and/or demon-butt-kicking abilities. I’m so grateful to have been able to bring to life his goofy, affectionate, wild ride of a story.” 

According to Mr Morris, the graphic novel does not aim to turn its characters into “punchlines.”

“One of our goals with Youth Group was to make the humor character-based rather than spoofing horror conventions,” Mr Morris said.  

“Our characters are extreme goofballs but hopefully they’re not pure punchlines.” 

“Bowen has given them such humanity and likability that you’ll be genuinely concerned that they’re going to die. We want all sorts of folks to be able to enjoy this book, regardless of where they’re at with faith and religion. Our characters are all kinds of believers (non-believers included) who have to find a way to work together to achieve the common goal of not getting killed by demons.” 

Youth Group will be available in July from bookstores and comic shops. For more information, follow Jordan Morris on Twitter, Bluesky, and Instagram. 


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