Later this month Humanoids will release Painted, a new graphic novel coming from the publisher’s Life Drawn imprint. Written by Kev Sherry & Helen Mullane and illustrated and lettered by Katia Vecchio, the graphic novel follows a pair of high school-aged girls as they navigate bullies, drug use, death, and everything that being a teenager has to offer. Today The Beat is proud to present an exclusive five-page excerpt from the opening pages of the forthcoming book.

Here’s how Humanoids describes Painted:

Selene and Sophie are typical high-school girls. One day, when Selene’s period is used to make her the target of schoolwide humiliation, she realizes it’s time for a revolution. Inspired by the Celtic face-painted warriors of her ancestry, Selene sets out with her friends to challenge the patriarchy. But when the ferocity of the real world comes crashing in, the girls’ identities are shattered, and they are le to pick up the pieces all on their own.

Along with the exclusive excerpt, Sherry, Mullane, and Vecchio all spoke to The Beat about their experience working on Painted, and how they related to the graphic novel’s story on a personal level:

Katia Vecchio: As I began work on Painted and immersed myself in the project, I kept thinking about that period of adolescence and the continuous search for approval, the worry about publicly making mistakes, of being too weird. In Painted, I explored all those restraints I had, both as a human being and as a 16-year-old girl. I was more worried about what others thought about me than focusing on myself. Painted made me question and think about what I was and still am, what I can give now and in the future. I hope that readers can feel empathy for the story and the characters and have faith that even with the little things you can change the world.

Kev Sherry: Having grown up believing that comics can fundamentally change your world, I wanted to write a piece about hierarchical power structures and taboos and all the macro and micro oppressions that women (and men) face on a daily basis (I feel like I’m still blind to most of these.) It wouldn’t have been possible to aim that high without both Katia’s narrative input and the way she brought the comic to life striking the perfect balance between the innocence of passing childhood and the inevitable weights of adulthood. It still brings tears to my eyes and I feel moved by the whole experience, to the extent that it is bleeding over into my musical life. My band, Disco Mary, [are later this week releasing] a song called ‘Kids Games’ inspired by the characters in Painted.

Helen Mullane: Painted was an exciting collaboration for me, I found Kev’s bold and uncompromising vision very inspiring. The characters really resonated, and after spending so much time with the insular protagonist of Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen I was keen to explore the experiences of girlhood and teen angst through a new lens.

Check out the exclusive five-page excerpt of Painted below. The 120-page softcover graphic novel arrives in bookstores on Tuesday, October 12th, and in comic shops on Wednesday, October 13th.