6:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'2 Broke Girls' Star Launches YA Webcomic 'Dents' (Exclusive)
Beth Behrs is known to television audiences as one of CBS' 2 Broke Girls, but her new project centers around a girl more broken by her world than broke — a 14-year-old mutant in a postapocalyptic future who finds herself shut out of society with super owers she doesn't fully understand. Welcome to Dents.
Co-created and co-written by Behrs and childhood friend Matt Doyle — an actor and musician who has appeared in The Book of Mormon on Broadway and the CW's Gossip Girl — Dents is a new digital comic series launching next month on the LINE Webtoon platform. Behrs and Doyle talked to THR about the series' origins, and their inspiration for the science fiction world they've created together.
"Matt and I grew up together in Marin and Matt was always a huge comic book nerd. I remember stacks of X-Men in his bedroom," Behrs revealed about the duo's shared love for the comic book medium. "Over the past couple of years, I kept asking Matt what he was reading on his iPad and he introduced me to some really incredible graphic novels and I became hooked — Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Saga, Y The Last Man, LadyKiller, etc. We’ve set the main part of our story in the San Francisco Bay Area as an homage to where we grew up."
Dents might be the first writing credit for Behrs and Doyle, but the actress said that "it doesn't feel like a departure for me, it’s still storytelling. When I’m acting, I’m serving someone else's narrative but I’ve felt equally as happy and creatively fulfilled being the author of my own." She also admitted, "it’s an opportunity to flex a different creative muscle for me, and unleash my inner nerd."
The series is a YA fantasy set in a 2111 ravaged by climate change, following a 14-year-old girl named Eleanor ("named after Eleanor Roosevelt," Behrs pointed out) who discovers that she is a "dent" — one of a pair of twins born with superhuman powers as the result of a vaccination to combat a virus caused by climate change (No, she didn't know she had a sibling beforehand). As she comes to terms with her new abilities, she becomes part of an underground society of similarly superpowered children.
The story is born of their personal interests. "I've always been intrigued by twins," Doyle said. "When I was a kid I had an imaginary twin. I've been fascinated by their profound closeness and the things that make them unique from each other."
For Behrs, it's the chance to "explore sexuality, feminism, environmental issues and prejudice through the eyes of our 14-year old heroine" that appeals the most. "The catalyst for the setting of the story in the postapocalyptic world is due to global warming," she said. "Climate change activism is something that Matt and I are both very passionate about and it was important for us to incorporate sociopolitical elements into the comic."
Doyle added that Dents is also designed to reflect real-world bigotry in a science fiction setting. "I think the genocide against the dents, and the prejudice against them for being different, is something that's very relevant right now," he explained. "In the case of our story, it's a supernatural world, but with some very real and human themes."
The series continues LINE Webtoon's efforts to increase female readership of comics by working with female creators (The promotional artwork for the series comes from another female artist, Renae De Liz, currently working on DC's Legends of Wonder Woman series); to that end, Behrs will be appearing on the "Women in Digital Comics" panel at this year's SXSW to help promote the series.
The conference appearance will also underscore Behrs' (and Doyle's) commitment to the concept. "This is definitely longform," she said about the series' future. "We already know the ending of our first book of 26 chapters for LINE Webtoon, and the vast Dents world we’ve created has endless possibilities. We plan to continue Eleanor’s story for as long as possible."
Dents begins in March.