In the lead-up to Young Liars ending on September 2 with issue 18, I will be rereading the 17 issues already out and discussing them at a rate of one issue per day. I haven’t reread any of these comics since they came out, so it should be fun. Spoilers, of course. Let’s dance!
Young Liars #11, “Exploding Heads,” by David Lapham ups the ante and moves closer to another complete shift in the world of What You Thought You Knew. But, that comes at the end of the issue, which I caused me to write: “When I hit the final page of this issue, I sat there, holding the comic and stared, mouth open and I didn’t do anything for half a minute or so. That’s how shocked I was.” Young Liars is a surprising comic, isn’t it? I’m not an easy man to shock or surprise and, yet, Lapham does it on a fairly regular basis. How exactly does he do it?
By delivering on the title of the comic.
At the end of this issue, Danny reveals that he set himself on fire to cover up the Spider symbol/totem on his chest, marking him as the fifth Spider — and true ruler of the Spiders. He narrates:
IT’S ALL A LIE! OKAY?!
I’M A LIAR.
I’VE BEEN LYING THIS WHOLE TIME.
AND FUCK YOU IF YOU THINK I’LL STOP NOW.
Now, is that Danny narrating or Lapham? It works for both, don’t you think? (Especially with next issue’s bigger alteration to the status quo…) In an interview with Blog@Newsarama on one of the issues, I recall Lapham saying that his approach to the book was improvisational (with clear tent pole ideas along the way) and something about the end of this issue stands out as one of those improvisational moments where he just said ‘Fuck it’ and went with the insane cliffhanger idea. I’ll get into that a bit more tomorrow, but wanted to raise it now…
By the way, my personal soundtrack for Young Liars is the Dears — specifically their two albums No Cities Left and Gang of Losers. Just saying. (Key songs: “Who Are You, Defenders of the Universe?” “Pinned Together, Falling Apart,” “There Goes My Outfit,” “Ballad of Humankindness,” and “Warm and Sunny Days.”)
In this issue, Danny recounts two events for us as he travels to Texas, where Sadie will be trying to kill her father. The first, what happened after the events of issue nine where Jack Wonderwall came in. Wonderwall is a Spider — but a good one, kind of. Sadie decides to take on her father once and for all, while Danny advises against it. As a result, Sadie knocks him out to keep him out of harm’s way — he wakes up to find the car crashed, Wonderwall dead, murdered by the Pinkertons. He contacts the gang in New York and flies to Austin.
He also recounts a dream he’s had where he is Danny Duoshade, a rock star (but not Mick Jagger big), and it’s a mixture of a lot of things that will be later revealed as real, and of what we already know, like the night Sadie got in a limo to make some money. It’s a great little transition concept as it bridges the two realities that this book exists in — the New York/Austin/LA/Spain one and the Browning one. Both true in dreams…
In Austin, the gang agrees to go after Sadie and find her already attacking the house. All but Danny join in and they all die save Danny and Sadie when Danny makes his shocking revelation, alluded to earlier by Wonderwall. Danny is a Spider prince. What the fuck?
Danny Duoshade shows up twice in this issue: once mentioned by Sadie (telling Danny that he could be as famous as Danny Duoshade)… except that THAT Sadie is just in Danny’s head; and the Danny in his dream. The various iterations of Danny are fascinating, but none more than Danny Duoshade, the rockstar persona that Danny so wants to be and Sadie loves so much. His description of Danny Duoshade is fantastic: “A BIG, UNDERGROUND, INDY, STICK-MY-MIDDLE-FINGER-UP-AT-THE-WORLD EXPERIMENTAL, AVANT GARDE, POST-PUNK ROCK STAR.” Talk about not-too-high aspirations. Also, in Sadie’s Spiders delusion, Danny Duoshade is a DJ, not a rock star. Interesting difference. Danny always wanted to be the rock star, the guy with the guitar, but he becomes Sadie’s saviour by being a guy who simply plays other people’s music… that’s quite the difference. In one case, he’s a creator, he’s an originator, he makes people like him for what he does; in the other, he’s a user, he gets by through the work of others, he’s cool by association. Something to think about.
I would point out some character moments here, but they’re meaningless, because everyone dies and this never happened.
Danny Duoshade has a room devoted to a girl like Sadie. He’s obsessed with this girl.
Loreli is revealed to live in Browning, Arizona here. Loreli is Sadie’s sister, given up for adoption by her mom to keep her away from Sadie’s father. Loreli is Sadie. I think. Maybe?
Next issue, everything changes. And all of this didn’t matter.
See you tomorrow.
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