Cover of Young Liars #1 (May, 2008). Art by David Lapham.
|Publication date||May 2008 – October 2009|
|Number of issues||18|
|Letterer(s)||Jared K. Fletcher|
|Daydream Believer||ISBN 1-4012-1978-0|
|Rock Life||ISBN 1-40122-601-9|
The book centers around a group of 20-somethings in modern day New York City, though the story quickly expands to other parts of America and the world. All of them have disturbing secrets about themselves that they keep from the others, and even the readers are left to decide what is true and what are lies.
In April 2009, Lapham announced that the title had been cancelled, with the last issue being #18.
- Danny: The protagonist of the book. He is an aspiring musician who moved to New York from Texas along with Sadie. He obsesses over Sadie, and often falls into extremely self-destructive behaviour. He has tried to kill himself multiple times in the series, including trying to set himself on fire, leaving horrific burns on his torso (though he claims to the others that he got them elsewhere).
- Sadie: The other central character in the story. Sadie is the daughter of the owner of the Lloyd Browning-owned Brown Bag Superstore (a Wal-Mart-style store, but bigger), and has run away from her family. As a result, her family have sent Pinkertons, or wetworks spies and assassins, out to find her. She repeatedly brings up warnings about "The Spiders from Mars" and their plans to enslave humanity. As the series progresses, it is revealed that prior to being shot in the head, Sadie was a self-involved manipulator who constantly argues and fights with Danny. After being shot in the head, the bullet becomes lodged in her brain, turning her into a "living cartoon character" with a lust for dancing, fighting, performing insane stunts, and upon losing her virginity to Danny, sleeping with him. Danny develops a hold over Sadie after she is shot, and she will do anything for him.
- Loreli: Towards the end of the series, it is revealed that Sadie was becoming as perverted as the rest of the Browning clan, so her mother put her younger sister up for adoption early on. Danny finds out about the existence of Loreli, and goes to find her. He sets up a new persona for himself, and eventually comes to believe Sadie's "spiders from Mars" to have altered reality and to have buried Sadie in Loreli's subconscious after he is told Sadie died at age 6 when she fell down a well.
- CeeCee: CeeCee is a groupie for rock bands. She is considered Sadie's best friend, and Danny hates her and insultingly calls her "Big C". She was in college but dropped out to "have a rock star's babies" instead. Instead, she got syphilis and is now unable to have children, though it does not stop her from sleeping with musicians. It is later revealed that Danny dislikes her because she slept with him, feigning neediness so she could manipulate her way into Sadie's life. Later on, she sleeps with him again when they bond over their pasts. It is later suggested Danny raped her at one point instead, and that she does not know him at all except as the rapist.
- Donnie: Donnie is a male cross-dresser. All the other characters seem to like him, despite their own conflicts amongst themselves. He is also a heroin addict, and has overdosed at least once.
- Annie X: A former fashion model, Jackie (her real name) is a waitress at a club initially. Ironically, despite the nickname, she is not anorexic but actually bulimic. She generally dislikes both Sadie and Danny's neediness, especially when the Pinkertons begin to cause trouble for the entire group, even though she calls Sadie's location in. Jackie also pulls double duty as an observer of Danny and Sadie for the Martian spiders, though she quits to "join the rebellion".
- Runco: Although rich, Runco is obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes. At one point, he suggests the group "recover" a painting. He has repeatedly informed the Pinkertons of Sadie's whereabouts in hopes of profit, though this always backfires on him.
- Puss Bag: An English punk rock fan that the group meets in Spain. According to him, his mother was kicked in the stomach by Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols while he was still in the womb. Though he's friendly to all of the characters and even saves them on a couple occasions, Danny takes an immediate disliking to him, largely because he thinks Puss Bag slept with Sadie, though he never did.
- Lloyd Browning, Lloyd, Jr., Jack Wonderwall, and The Pinkertons: Lloyd Browning turned his wife's parents' mom and pop store into a retail empire that provides everything from car to groceries to entertainment to health care; his son and spider lord who wishes to wrestle control of the Brown Bag from Sadie so he can propagate a world takeover with his spider army; and the President of Brown Bag, who is a spider, but claims to be rebelling against the invasion force. Lloyd's personal army, The Pinkertons, are a group of elite killers who chase Sadie down when Browning receives tips of his wayward daughter's whereabouts. Sadie describes them as "Nazis injected with special powers by the Spiders from Mars". They tend to be somewhat questionable masters of disguise (sometimes adopting elaborate ones, and at others wearing eyeglasses with fake noses and moustaches attached), but make up for this with their brutal sadism, including castrations and beheadings. The general public believes the faces of the Brown Bag chain to be as American as apple pie, but in reality, they are a group of deviants.
The story opens up outside of a nightclub, where Sadie beats up a Bouncer and later a Gang member. The main characters are all introduced inside, where Runco tries to convince them to go to Spain. When they refuse, he calls the Pinkertons, who quickly advance on the nightclub. Meanwhile, Donnie shoots Heroin in the bathroom, and Danny tries to tell Sadie he loves her, with no success.
In a flashback, it is revealed how Danny met Sadie. He worked in a Brown Bag Superstore (in the firearms department), and was trying to put a band together with his best friend Kenny and Joannie. Kenny has sex with Joannie when he promises to take him to a rock concert, then she stomps off when he goes back on his word, saying he's taking his best friend Danny. At this point, it is clear that Danny is obsessed with Sadie, and was upset when Kenny ditches him for Sadie. Forced to work because Ronald, his boss and Joannie's brother, is paying Kenny back by punishing his friend, Danny steals a gun and almost kills himself because he cannot go to the concert. He then decides to go anyway when Kenny says Sadie, who he helped escape from her home, abandoned him for some other people. Pinkertons, looking for Sadie, start a fire and saves a drugged Sadie from a local thug. Sadie is revealed to be a self-absorbed, verbally abusive woman, but after Danny steals some alcohol for her, she warms up to him and he takes her home. When he gets to his own home, Danny finds Kenny's severed head in the fridge, and his mom and brother dead.
Back to the Nightclub, the Young Liars flee just as the Police raid the building, while Donnie is having an Overdose. Outside, they encounter the gang member from before, as well as some of his friends. The Pinkertons arrive and kill the gang members, but Sadie steals a Garbage Truck and they make their escape. They take Donnie to a hospital, where yet another Pinkerton (disguised as a doctor) takes Sadie at gunpoint. Sadie and Danny kill him, which freaks out the others. They all eventually decide to flee the country, and go to Spain on Runco's get-rich-quick scheme.
On the cruise to Spain, Danny and Sadie have sex. They eventually have to hijack the ship and go the rest of the way by Lifeboat, as Runco lied to the others about paying for the tickets. Once they get there, Sadie goes missing. This causes extreme anguish for Danny, as he thinks that she will now start having sex with other people. She is in actuality at a Bar, where she meets Puss Bag and fights him, keeping score for the fun of it. Danny also reveals he worked at a compound as a clown.
Danny drinks with and confides in Big C, and reveals that it was actually him who shot Sadie in the head. The two drunkenly have sex, but are interrupted by Maxim, the midget head of the Pinkertons. He proceeds to castrate Danny and rape Big C, but then is attacked by Donnie and Puss Bag, stabbed in the eye, and jumps out a window.
Danny leaves the hospital shortly after, determined to save Sadie. Puss Bag tells him that she went with Runco and Annie X to steal the painting. In flashbacks, we see what led up to Sadie getting shot in the head. Where she killed a man (though she claimed he was one of the Spiders from Mars) and Danny helped her cover it up. Sadie constantly belittled Danny and seems to have different memories of meeting him than what was in issue #2. In a rage, he chases her down and shoots her.
Meanwhile, both Runco and Annie contact the Pinkertons in hopes that they will be rewarded, but instead get captured. When the others arrive, Runco gets decapitated, and the Pinkertons demand to know where Sadie is. Sadie drives through the window on a motorcycle and kills all the Pinkertons. Immediately after, she has a stroke resulting from the bullet in her brain and collapses. Danny attempts to kill himself, but Puss Bag knocks him out.
In an odd flashback, Sadie is on Mars, where the Spider race is planning to use her to lay thousands of eggs and amass an army to conquer the earth. She listens to the Earth DJ Danny Duoshade, and wins a contest to go to a concert. She stows away on a flying saucer heading to Earth, and causes it to crash land. She takes Spider form and possesses a young girl.
She goes back to the child's dysfunctional home (the mother and father being Danny and Big C). However, other Spiders have also survived, including Sadie's father, who impregnates her with eggs. The DJ Danny Duoshade (Who also looks like Danny) arrives, and Sadie is able to acquire a gun from him. She kills all but five of the Hatchlings, and vows to get the others. Back in "the real world", Danny reveals (to the reader) that he created the Duoshade identity to try to manipulate Sadie and bring her back to the "real world". Danny, Puss Bag, and Sadie visit her mother, as Sadie wants to destroy all of the space spiders. Her brother comes in, and Sadie shoots him, killing him as the mother's lover comes in with a militant group. The group manage to get away, and in the process, Sadie's mother is killed along with the entire group, but not before two flashbacks reveal that Cee was once pregnant and miscarried, and manipulated Danny into sleeping with her so she'd have leverage against Danny. She later miscarries again and saves the fetus' developed arm and keeps it in a box. Danny finds out, and throws it in a garbage disposal. CeeCee is sent away and returns later, not recalling sleeping with Danny or the fetus's arm.
Returning to the present, Sadie and her friends stage a showdown against the Pinkertons at her father's home. In the midst of the ensuing carnage, where Puss, Jackie, C, and Donnie all die, Danny commands the Pinkertons to release Sadie, shedding his shirt to show his burn scars and a spider tattoo underneath it, declaring himself the King of all Spiders.
He is then beheaded by Sadie, and events show Danny at a home for the mentally disturbed and interviewing a psychiatrist. Danny is told that Sadie Dawkins died at age 6, CeeCee doesn't know the name of Danny Noonan, and can only identify his face as a possible rapist. Danny is somewhat startled by this, and eventually he is sent home under observation, where his father, mother, and brother are all okay. He goes to stalk CeeCee, and she screams when she sees him. He runs away, and eventually encounters Donnie, Runco, and Annie X, all alive, but not wanting anything to do with him. He then skips town to Browning, Arizona, the home of Sadie's sister Loreli. He introduces himself as "Johnny Jukebox".
Six months later, "Johnny" and Loreli are together, and he is a musical hit along with his best friend, Kenny (engaged to Joannie, their former bassist) suddenly resurrected. "Johnny" is able to do what he wants in the tiny town thanks to his big time popularity, but Kenny is beaten. At one point, he sets fire to his house, only to have it miraculously undamaged and even cleaned when he returns home. He asks Loreli to marry him.
Danny lives through a haze of drugs scored from a nurse, Jackie, and when he stops taking them, he begins to recall the "real" events of his life and that his real name is Danny. He threatens Loreli, forcing her to put a wig and racing jacket on, but she can't recall anything about him. Jackie reveals that she is working for the spiders, but is a double agent feeding him information. He begins to try to leave Browning along with Loreli, but is constantly thwarted until he confronts some of the local enforcement, who shoot her. He escapes, and finds a wall. Tearing through it, he witnesses some events.
When Danny angers Loreli after leaving her for dead, she has hooked up with Puss Bag. She tells him that Danny is always talking to some spider named Jackie. Jackie is carried off, and Danny shows Loreli that he has beheaded Puss Bag. The two notice a spider was in his skull after all, and they blow up the house to kill it.
Events then shift to years before when Browning, Arizona was just Freedom, an area near an Indian reservation. There, Ronald (Danny's former boss at the Brown Bag) and Joanie (his former bassist) live with their diabetic mother, who was raped and conceived both children. Ronald uses his college funds to create a sandwich shop, and Joanie eventually leaves for a while. She comes back with a man, their real father, with lots of money, and a Brown Bag superstore is opened in Freedom. Joanie begins stealing and getting away with many crimes, even helping her boyfriend Kenny steal things. Their mother is put on a waiting list for new kidneys. Joanie then loses her newfound privileges when she tells her family that she lied and said that she was the missing Brown Bag daughter, Loreli. Angered by many events such as Freedom absorbing the nearby town Browning and getting renamed, Ron spits in Loreli's sandwich, and to pay him back she has the Bag open a sandwich shop and remove his and Joanie's mother from the kidney waiting list, which causes her to die. Ron's sandwich shop closes and eventually he becomes a manager at the Brown Bag.
In the present, Danny wakes up in a hospital after having a strange dream about himself interviewing Danny Duoshade, who is speaking for David Lapham and saying people didn't really get what he was saying. Danny tells Loreli he realized some things, and that many of the people they know in Browning are actually his "real life" friends, Runco, Annie, and Donnie. He is unable to find the "real" CeeCee, but eventually Annie sends her over to Browning. Danny says he saw a harsh wake up call through the wall earlier, and that he is a monster. He saw himself as a clown, raping Sadie. CeeCee tells Danny and the others that they must blow up the town to kill all of the Spiders from Mars.
While the group is talking, the Pinkertons show up, saying Sadie is hard to find, after Danny nearly kisses CeeCee. Loreli runs off and comes back, violently killing all the Pinkertons and saying she has found herself as Sadie. Danny is ready to blow up the place and leave, but CeeCee says they must kill every spider, and he is one of them. He eventually submits, and Donnie gets high. Sadie tells him that she loves him, whoever he is, when the bomb goes off. A note appears, saying "I never lied to you."
Danny then wakes up in bed with a spider beneath his head, and proceeds to put on clown makeup.
The series is being collected into trade paperbacks:
|#||Title||Release date||Collected material||Pages||ISBN|
|1||Daydream Believer||December 2008||Issues #1-6||144||ISBN 1-4012-1978-0|
|2||Maestro||June 10, 2009||Issues #7-12||144||ISBN 1-4012-2272-2|
|3||Rock Life||January 12, 2010||Issues #13-18||144||ISBN 1-4012-2601-9|
- Meeting the Young Liars with David Lapham, Newsarama, December 18, 2007
- Vertigo On the Ledge: with David Lapham, DC Comics.com, March 5, 2008
- Review of Yougn Liars #1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, Comics Bulletin
- Review of Young Liars #6, 8, 9 10, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 18 Comic Book Resources