cover image Rave


Jessica Campbell. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 (168p) ISBN 978-1-77046-460-5

Unfolding at the intersection of budding sexuality and evangelical Christianity, this gripping graphic novel from Campbell (XTC69) depicts a quietly tragic coming-of-age. Fifteen-year-old Lauren appears no more swayed by her pastor’s warnings about remaining “a pure bride of Christ” than his own disaffected, heavily pregnant daughter. After Lauren is paired with classmate Mariah—rumored to be a witch—for a school project on evolution, the two quickly become constant companions: talking, making out, and engaging in some light shoplifting. Certainly, Lauren finds Mariah much more appealing than the church boy who wants to get married and “have a kid every nine months,” or the vibe at the youth ministry rave (“Jesus Christ was the first raver”). Yet, amid sermons against same-sex marriage and swirling rumors about her, Lauren breaks up with Mariah. As the pastor preaches about how girls must fend off weak, lustful boys, Mariah tries to do just that, to no avail, one night at the local reservoir. The church blames her subsequent disappearance on Wicca; and a sharp turn in the plot is genuinely shocking. With thick black lines and contemplative, wordless sequences, Campbell effectively conveys both Lauren’s turmoil and the harm done by a religion set on turning youthful passion into intolerance. It’s a testament to the hold of belief systems, even when one no longer believes. (Apr.)