Back in 1997, an art school student named Brian Wood (Generation X, DMZ, Demo) published a 5 issue series called Channel Zero, intended to be part of his final project for graduation. He was angry about New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani enforcing his freedom restrictive ‘Clean Act’.  As Brian Wood will tell you himself in one of many footnotes included “ I feel a strong sense of pride that Channel Zero still exists in print today. I’ll never be able to recapture that same creative moment I had working on this book.” He admits it’s a relic of the times, but not completely irrelevant in today’s atmosphere of conservative backlash against media, art, film and video games.

In addition to getting a gem of a look at the roots of Brian Wood’s future comic success, Channel Zero The Complete Collection also includes a prequel story illustrated by Becky Cloonan (Demo, East Coast Rising, Wolves) and represents the pair’s first time working together. The artwork all throughout this collection is raw and sharp. It’s minimalist, no fancy scrollwork or elaborate shading, no colors. What it lacks in fancy it makes up for in texture and heavy mood. The setting of Channel Zero relies on the reader feeling restricted, contained, a little on edge watching all the freedoms of America being washed away under power hungry political sewage. 

Channel Zero is about the loss of rights in a future America drowning in mindless consumerism. It’s also the story of Jennie 2.5, an art student who embarks on a commitment to fight the repression through hacking, cutting-edge media manipulation, and eventually befriending international rebels and supporters. This series presents a super unique view of the comic genre through heavy graphic arts techniques and touches on real world fears of politics, police aggression and commercial absorption of self expression.

The Channel Zero Complete Collection  includes the original series, the prequel graphic novel Jennie One, the best of Public Domain design books, years worth of extras, rarities, short stories and unused art. Throw in a great introduction by Warren Ellis and you’ve got a must-own collection. 

“For all its black and white somber mien, Channel Zero is, to me, one of the most uplifting comics of the nineties. Channel Zero is about winning. It’s about learning how to give a shit again, about finding ways to make things better. It’s about anger as a positive force of creation. It’s about your right to not have to live in the world they’ve built for you.” -Warren Ellis

If you’ve enjoyed Channel Zero in the past, this collection is a fantastic way to display it and share it with someone who hasn’t been there yet. If you’re new to Channel Zero , take my word for it and pick this collection up, as it’s best enjoyed in it’s entirety. And collected editions are pretty on the bookshelf.

Available now from Dark Horse Comics.

Clip this story