Updated: Jun 24, 2021
A thoughtful exploration of belonging, prejudice, religion, and queer identity, with some ultra-violence, enchanted narcotics, and a well-endowed horse demon along the way.
The Hellbent Kickstarter is live! Co-written by DJ Wooldridge (Chaos Theory: Zombies VS. Dinosaurs Vol. 1 & 2) and LGBTQ+ counselor and academic Jayna July, with art by Heather Vaughan (Kids On Bikes, Unmatched: Buffy the Vampire Slayer), colors by Ellie Wright (Betty Page Unbound), the thrilling 44-page comic follows Jezi, a trans woman with incredible supernatural powers, and Nick, a deadly arcane assassin, who must cross the country together with a cult of religious fanatics hot on their heels! You thought the Devil was the fun guy downstairs? WRONG! In the world of Hellbent, the Devil is the original narc. A sanctimonious zealot who’s big on authoritarianism, laissez-faire capitalism, and borders (specifically between Heaven and the mortal world). He loathes humanity in general, and free will in particular. So every generation he sires a new son, in hopes that they will be the antichrist who jumpstarts the infamous “End of Days”.
However, Jezi, the Devil's latest offspring, is not about that life. She rejects her demonic destiny, and comes out as a trans woman in the process. Instead of destroying the world, she could be the only one that can save it, and teaming up with Nick, an occult hitman who’s like a badass blend of John Wick and John Constantine, may be her best chance at survival!
“Jayna and I have been friends for almost twenty years, and collaborators for just about as long,” said DJ Wooldridge. “Hellbent is the culmination of a bunch of ideas and themes that have interested us since we were kids, but reflect our current, more mature sensibilities. In a lot of ways it’s a throwback to classic Vertigo comics that weren't afraid to push boundaries, but also allowed room for characters and stories that didn’t always have a voice in the mainstream. It’s the kind of comic I’d like to see more of!” “I have always been a fan of the comic format, as the marriage of words and images can convey a very unique vision,” said Jayna July. “It’s absolutely wild to be publishing a comic book which I co-wrote! Working with DJ has us offering up all of our wildest ideas, doing our best to make them cohesive, and playing sad funeral music for the parts we eventually had to cut (well, just kidding about the last part). My hope is that transgender readers will see themselves represented in the work, and other folks can gain greater empathy while enjoying a kick-ass story!”