The Sky Has Fallen!

apocalypse_nerd

Apocalypse Nerd - Peter Bagge (Dark Horse Comics)

If R. Crumb was the preeminent cartoonist to capture the ethos of the '60s and early '70s, then Peter Bagge is his successor in capturing American culture and society in the '90s and new millennium. His frenetic, caffeinated cartoon style brilliantly exposed the dysfunctional energy of slackers and Xers alike. His first solo title, Hate -- starring everyone's favorite loser, Buddy Bradley -- was my literary junkie's fix for all 30 glorious installments.

I recently happened upon his latest title, Apocalypse Nerd, while perusing some pop culture magazine. How I'd missed it was utterly inexcusable on my part, but I was happy to reach out to Mr. Bagge via his Myspace page and a few short days later his publisher winged me this new collected anthology.

This terrifying tale of post-apocalypse Seattle unfolds like the prequel to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, though it is both hilarious and darkly violent. Not an easy feat for any writer, but something that Mr. Bagge perfected in the past with his real-life nuanced narratives. You can't help but feel empathy for these unwilling victims trapped in a one-dimensional comic book paneled world. Software engineer Perry and his friend Gordo are just two average suburban guys on their way to a friend's cabin in the North Cascade Mountains near Seattle when their city is destroyed. It's inspired by the real-life threat of North Korea's Kim Jung Il, who once suggested that a first-strike nuke from his country could easily hit Seattle. The New Jersey-bred and Seattle-based Bagge took this to heart ,and from his fertile mind this cautionary comic was spawned.

One can't help but gasp as men and women become monsters in the footprint of post-nuclear fallout. This disturbing six-part limited series serial is about survival of the fittest, especially when computer nerds and lesbians are outfitted with firearms and ammo. How far would you go to protect your family? You last bit of food and water? Probably all the way. And that's what Mr. Bagge examines so effectively; all the moral and social dilemmas are exposed in his latest and required comic. Suitable for bomb shelters and nightstands alike. - Dusty Wright

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Mr. Wright is the former editor-in-chief of Creem and Prince's New Power Generation magazines as well as a writer of films, fiction, and music. He is also a singer/songwriter who has released 3 solo CDs, recently contributed to Chris Butler's The Devil's Glitch project (the longest song in the world), and a member of the folk-rock quartet GIANTfingers. And before all of this he was an agent at the William Morris Agency!

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