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Comic Book / The Intimates

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"Ed Brubaker and I were musing about the success of Marvel's Ultimate line of books and I blurted out how I wanted to create a comic book series that was the complete antithesis of the Ultimate "style." So, for me, the opposite of Intimate. In other words, get ready for the Intimate Age of Comics!"
Joe Casey

The Intimates was a short-lived Wild Storm Comics series written by Jim Lee and Joe Casey, and featuring art by Giuseppe Camuncoli. It told the story of a group of students at the Seminary, a school for superpowered kids, and was notable for having very little superhero action, instead focusing on the students' more mundane struggles.

This series contains examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Summer Swan, alias Destra, was one of these before she was shipped to the Seminary; she was considered the leader of her peer group and the other girls obeyed her every command. Now, she doesn't consider any of her classmates her peers, except for Empty Vee, the only other girl in her homeroom.
  • Blessed with Suck: Empty Vee's power is becoming visible. If she doesn't maintain her concentration, she simply becomes invisible again.
  • Bruce Lee Clone: Kefong, who even wears a Game of Death-style jumpsuit in his first year (and one with the colors reversed in the second). He's also immune to psychic assault because he is that zen. He's also a bit of a subversion in that he's literally always relaxed and calm - and identifies his role model as Dean Martin.
  • Captain Ersatz: Mr. Hyde is a clear Superman parallel; Hyde is actually his real name and a joke about Superman's obvious dual identity, he wears glasses and teaches the Secret Identity class, he's squeamish around reporters (it's his ex...), and has all the powers you'd expect. Most of the other seminary teachers are also ersatzen; the Principal used to be Mr. Big, a Giant Man type hero, while the school counselor was once Dash Man, an ersatz Flash. Interestingly, none of the main characters are ersatzen.
  • Companion Cube: In a bizarre variation on the typical usage of this trope, Sykes is actually a living human being... but one who's never heard to speak and shows no real signs of consciousness ever. His fellow Seminary students theorize his mental powers may be at the root of this, that he's so advanced he operates at a different level that they can't understand. In any case, he's in a permanent state of catatonia.
  • The Conspiracy: Destra believes that the food at the Seminary is being chemically treated to control student behavior.
  • Death by Origin Story: Punchy first donned his costume after his older sister was murdered.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the fifth issue, Dead Kid Fred (a zombie who used to be a sidekick) tries to kill himself, but Punchy intervenes.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Dead Kid Fred's zombie-like appearance makes him an outcast at the Seminary, causing the other students to shun him and thus he usually eats lunch alone. Sykes sometimes sits with him, but since Sykes is barely conscious, he's not much for company.
  • Empty Shell: Sykes is essentially a walking vegetable. He doesn't talk and his face never changes expression; while he seems to be capable of going to school and taking tests and the like, his pals Duke and Punchy more or less treat him as their Companion Cube. Apparently his (lack of) behavior is due to the side-effects of his psi-shield, which he needs in order to keep his psychic powers under control.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The last issue features Punchy talking about how much he hates when companies just suddenly cut off a comic book series without providing a resolution, which is precisely what happens.
  • Expy: Dead Kid Fred is a very thinly-veiled expy of Robin (specifically Jason Todd, who at the time was still dead.)
  • Failure Hero: During summer vacation, Duke is given missions by the army as part of a program because he was noted to be more obedient than his classmates. Unfortunately, his inexperience, lack of awareness on the field, and general anxiety result in all his missions failing, culminating in his dismissal from the program.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Destra claims to have a boyfriend in Niagara Falls when Dead Kid Fred approaches her. Destra is incredibly sexy and could easily get a real boyfriend at the drop of a hat, but none of the boys at her boarding school interest her, hence the lie.
  • Green Thumb: Flora, one of Punchy's neighbors, has the ability to control plant life, and apparently has flowers growing out of her head instead of hair.
  • Invisibility: Empty Vee is naturally invisible, only becoming visible if she concentrates.
  • Love Hurts: In the third issue, Empty Vee develops a crush on Punchy and enlists Destra's help in wooing him. When Punchy finds out, he just mocks Vee and walks away.
  • Mischief for Punishment: Destra has a long history of trying to get expelled from the boarding schools to which her parents keep sending her. The Seminary is her sixteenth school, and she spends much of the series trying to figure out a way to get kicked out.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Destra, in case it wasn't obvious. See the page image.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Destra's body appears to be nearly indestructible, which is probably a good thing considering the explosive nature of her powers.
  • Second Year Protagonist: Punchy is in his second year at Superhero School the Seminary... but due to his poor grades, he was held back and is thus technically still a freshman. Still, his status as the only main student already familiar with the school pegs him as your primary protagonist.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Miss Klanbaid, Homeroom Alpha teacher. She's said to have a deep, dark secret, and rumors abound as to what it is. Some believe she was once the boy sidekick of an urban vigilante, others claim she was a college activist in an alternate timeline where the Vietnam War lasted 30 years.
  • Superhero School: The Seminary is a private boarding school for kids with superpowers.
  • Touched by Vorlons: It's hinted that Destra's powers of nigh-invulnerability and incendiary fingernail projectiles are a side-effect of her summer romance with an alien.
  • Vapor Wear: Destra doesn't wear a bra — or, for that matter, a shirt. She's got a little sheer cape draped over her shoulders that barely covers her up (and is probably held in place by double-stick tape), but it's, you know, sheer. Her nipples don't seem to exist in the comic, but artist Giuseppe Camuncoli did a few sketches where they're plainly and completely visible.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Keifong's standard outfit is basically Bruce Lee's tracksuit from Game of Death.