All he wants to do is sparkle — but all he seems to do is suck.
But when you’re Teenage Satan, that seems par for the course — life is Hell, and high school is just only the beginning. A home-school flunk-out, Teenage Satan has to deal with his disapproving dad, survive the bullies and pine for his next-door neighbor.
But while dear old Lucifer might think his sparkle-crazy son might be a waste of space, there are three women who think he’s the bee’s knees — writers Marsha and Candis Cooke and artist Stephanie Buscema. Releasing Teenage Satan this September as an online comic extravaganza, they finally broke the news about their upcoming project recently at the Boston Comic Con.
“High school is like a horrible haircut,” said Candis. “You don’t want to go out into the world everyday, but you have to.”
And for Teenage Satan, getting away with that horrible haircut isn’t exactly going to be a piece of cake, not when your dad is the Lord of the Underworld. While he’ll be picked on by football player Joey and will crush hard on his next-door-neighbor Mary, he will have a few friends to back him up: Nick and Nikki, a Jack and Meg White-esque pair of conspiracy theorists whose exact relationship is strangely indeterminate, and Gabe, a ghostly pal who wants to help our hapless hero.
“It’s Hell for everyone — teenage life is Hell and we’ve all been there. There’s people going through it now,” Candis laughed. Everything gets better but teenage life, the years between 14 and 16, are the worst years of everyone’s life.”
For the Cookes, you might recognize the name — Marsha is the wife of DC: The New Frontier writer Darwyn Cooke, while Candis is his niece. Coming from that industry background, the Cookes felt that digital was the real platform for growth.
“Darwyn and I talk about digital all the time and we talk about the lack of material in the marketplace for young people,” Marsha said. “We go through the comic boxes and look for comics we can give during Halloween, and both are from Art and Franco. We didn’t think there was anything age-appropriate.”
Realizing that kids “don’t want sparkly vampires and werewolves anymore,” Marsha laughed that her only two choices left were aliens or demons. After researching teen fads, Teenage Satan quickly became the premise of choice. Bringing on long-time friend Stephanie Buscema, the project soon became addicting as Hell for the three creators.
“He’s a loser — it’s Hell for everyone,” Marsha explained. “Even Lucifer is in Hell … he has a son that he wants to take over, but he’s the 98-pound-weakling. What could be worse?”
And with that digital platform, Teenage Satan will have plenty of opportunity to break out of the traditional comic story format, as well as to appeal to readers who aren’t caught up in the inside baseball of today’s print comics industry. The series will also have extra features including jigsaw puzzles, word jumbles and “6-6-6 Sudoku.”
“These things have worked on a daily format for years, why not make it digital?” Marsha said. “That’s the funny pages.”
In addition, there will be content such as diary entries for some of the main characters, as well as opportunities to educate. “Say a character might say ‘To be or not to be’ — kids aren’t learning Shakespeare in class, but if you click you’ll see another piece of art coming up that’ll explain iambic pentameter,” Marsha said. “The kids don’t know that they’re learning.”
The site will have some free content, but will have a 99-cent monthly subscription to access the entirety of the comic, which will be updated daily. By going through the digital route, the Cookes say they’ll be able to cut out the middleman seen through the Apple Store. “Any place you can get the Internet, you can get this,” Marsha said.
“We’re going after the 11- to 16-year-olds that are stuck on their phones — they don’t know who Neal Adams is, they don’t know who everybody else is,” Marsha added. “Being women I think we have something unique to offer and a voice that isn’t heard in comics right now, but that’s not something we’re hanging our hats on.
We’re just three chicks doing one comic.”