Crossed is without a doubt the most depraved, stomach-churning, hopeless work of art currently circulating in the comics world. By that, of course, I mean it is the best thing ever.
Beginning with Crossed #0 on August 27, 2008, Crossed is a ground-breaking independent comic series owned by creators Garth Ennis and artist Jacen Burrows.
The story follows survivors dealing with a plague that causes its victims to carry out their most evil thoughts. Carriers of the virus are known as the Crossed due to a cross-like rash that appears on their faces. This contagion is primarily spread through bodily fluids, which the Crossed have used to great effect by treating their weapons with their fluids, as well as through other forms of direct fluidic contact such as rape and bites, assuming the victim lives long enough to turn.
The outbreak spread rapidly, apparently overwhelming the entire world. The infected run amok, killing, raping, and maiming for fun. Infected pilots crashed their aircraft into buildings whilst technicians who had also succumbed to the virus intentionally blew up nuclear power plants. Families and friends turned on one another and butchered each other with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. Within hours, society was in a state of collapse as entire cities burned, government officials fled or became casualties along with the general public and police and military response dwindled to nothing. Outbreaks were reported in every city in every state of the US on the first day of the outbreak, rendering any attempt at quarantine pointless. Emergency bulletins on the radio from the White House urging citizens to remain indoors and avoid contact with the infected seems to do little if anything to slow the spread of the Crossed, and soon human civilization is all but gone, and mankind appears to be an endangered species.
It is the hopelessness and savage nature of the book that makes it so memorable.
Following Garth Ennis’ original run with his creation, he said, “To be honest, there was never really going to be a volume two- William [Christensen, editor-in-chief/publisher of Avatar] would ask me regularly about the possibility, but apart from one or two vague scenes I pretty soon realised I had no more Crossed stories in me. I didn’t want to force the issue, either, because I’m very pleased with Crossed and don’t want to dilute it with a sequel that I hadn’t the ideas to sustain. That said, it’s pretty obvious that what you have with Crossed is a ready-made fictional world with a good deal of potential for further development, and the Crossed themselves seem to be strong enough villains to maintain an audience.”
So, a series of excellent sequels and spin-offs have followed in the wake of the original series, starting with Family Values, which was written by David Lapham with art by Javier Barreno.
The story continued with Crossed 3D, an experimental take on the story, available only in the innovative 3D format. The story follows SWAT veteran Lt. Hunt MacAvoy as he leads a rescue mission into the middle of Crossed-infected New York City to rescue a stranded doctor.
Crossed 3D was followed by Psycopath, which follows a group of survivors who pick up a man, Harold Lorre, who understands the way the Crossed think, and is tracking a specific group of Crossed who killed a woman he had stalked prior to the outbreak, and subsequently forced a relationship upon her as they survived and kept a fragment of her breast in a plastic bag when she was turned into a Crossed and killed. He is a psychopath and is killing members of the group as they discover his true nature, passing them off as the grisly acts of Crossed.
Psychopath is followed by “Wish You Were Here”, which began life as a weekly webcomic you can read for FREE here. The story is increasingly desolate here, following the daily life of a group of survivors trying to get buy on a remote island off the coast of Scotland. It is written in a journal style by “Shaky” (short for Shakespeare) and has an enthralling storyline, which is a great expansion to the Crossed universe.
You would think that doesn’t get much more depraved than a maniac fucking a dolphin in the blowhole while screaming for his Mommy, but that happens on the first page of this sick and twisted work of art, and things degenerate from there…
A newer monthly series called Crossed : Badlands is out now, and focuses on a different group of survivors every few issues. If you have never checked out Crossed, do your homework!
Thank me later.
Find them for sale directly through Amazon below, and be sure and dig on the free webcomic right here.