Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Best of Comic Book Dystopic Nightmares


"From Wiki: A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as "not-good place", an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by Sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his best known work, Utopia, published 1516, a blueprint for an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty."

Once I start any good comic series I tend to pursue the back issues as soon as my budget allows.   In the case of the series shown below there is a bit of frustration.  They are so good and three of the five did not have a finale.  Timothy Truman's end to Scout War Shaman was amazing, but, it is a generational saga, so we know much more should be/is coming.  Chuck Dixon's Winterworld is powerful work that truly shows how the climate and weather can make lives miserable.  His work had 12 more issues or so added, but it has been placed upon hiatus until it can make enough money to justify further issues.   And Jack Kirby's characters Omac and Kamandi each had finite ending that the creator of the series had planned, but one of the books was canceled too early, and the other found the creative talent becoming so frustrated he left the series without an end.

SCOUT by Timothy Truman

The world has suffered enormous disaster, and the rest of the civilized world has aimed its ire at the United States.  Canada and Mexico are enemies of the now divided US.  A former special forces member, Emanuel Santana, is known now as Scout.  He is Apache and travels the now dying US.  He ends up married, has two children, and they accompany him in the second book of the series, Scout War Shaman.

Truman's ability to tell a vivid story is on display here, bringing violence, hope, love and pain all together to scramble the readers expectations.  This work is far more believable now, with the global issues at hand.
 "In October 2016, Chris MacBride is set to adapt and direct for the big screen for Studio8. Truman will serve as a consultant through the development."

KAMANDI and OMAC by Jack Kirby The future world faces a "Great Disaster".  In the world of Omac he is a genetically improved human with a mission of being a superman to preserve the peace.  The Great Disaster then happens, and we are introduced to Kamandi, and his changed world.  Talking animals go through many of the human emotions, motivations, and cruelty to others.  The series always entertained my ass.

NAUSICAA by Hiyao Miyazaki 
Nausicaä is the princess of a small kingdom located in the Valley of the Wind.  The series investigates and tells the stories of a post-apocalyptic Earth.  Despite enormous swaths of land destroyed in a ecological disaster, earth is finding ways to rid itself of the pollution.  Nausicaa uses peaceful means first, then a form of mental telepathy, and finally, she is a great warrior.  She defends her kingdom as she tries to understand the process earth is going through.

WINTERWORLD by Chuck Dixon

Although the world of Winterworld doesn't seem to reveal the source of the disastrous change in climate, Dixon smacks the reader in the head with the depth here.  In a long term winter food doesn't grow.  So, underground warm shelters with water access would be like rivers of gold.  The smallest to the largest character in stature as well hunger, all share the same motivations, survival and find shelter.  The desert or burning heat would be hard to survive without preparation.  But the truth is, during ice ages, people died from lack of food, cold, and the fact that everyone fights over resources.  Cold weather kills.

Antony Johnston writing
Christopher Mitten art

I haven't read this comic series to the end, but I did read up to issue 20.  It is powerful in many ways. There is a mythology about what happened that turned the earth into a dry bone dust bowl. The event that started it is the Big Wet, and whatever that was, the current population can only imagine.  This is a very well written work, with appropriately excellent art.

There are many great dystopias.  I recommend checking them out.

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