Radio Apocalypse

Cartoonist by Kyle O'Reilly

In a dystopian future, the last remnants of humanity huddle together in walled cities, fighting back marauding scavengers and strange mutant beasts called “xenos” that resemble a cross between a werewolf and a plate of spaghetti. Resources are running out, and doom seems certain.

Indeed, things are grim, but somewhere in the vast Mojave desert, in the approximate location of Bakersfield, California, stands a beacon of hope-the last radio station on Earth!

Enter a boy, a girl, and a host of otherworldly yet very human characters, and the stage is set for a compelling series from author Ram V and artist Anand RK.

The junkyard aesthetic of this comic is pure poetry set to Rock and Roll, as the mantra printed on the inside cover states: “This comic was written to music playing over speakers. Sometimes on vinyl, others remembered on CDs and audio cassettes. This story was told with tunes and words and images twining into this inseparable thing in front of you.”

Written in a voice of compelling, dreamlike poetry, Radio Apocalypse tells gritty tales through vignettes about the human tragedy of characters that are full of life in a world of death and despair.

The artwork weaves a unique visual style-loose, languid, electric lines evoke a high-fidelity feel that further elevates the story. The independent talents of the creators blend and gel like a Hot Tuna bass/lead guitar riff, like a Gibson Humbucker plugged into a Marshall stack, like Purple Rain sung in an autumn downpour.

Issue one largely sets the tone for the series and introduces the characters. The episodic dilemma of the story involves two young women racing against time to reach Bakersfield before nightfall, when the xenos will come out to hunt. One of them is hurt badly and can’t travel. Serious choices have to be made, and lead to a dramatic ending that is set to the tune of I’m on fire by the Boss.

Issue two continues to explore the characters of the series, but focuses more on the independent story line of the episode, this time about the “Day Tripper,” a woman and her dog on a motorcycle tasked with delivering supplies to outlying posts.

Naturally, the story is set to the Beatles tune of the same name and does a good job of creating post-pop psychedelic undertones.

The driving story lines of these first two issues are well supported by subplots that are beginning to sketch out the framework of a greater arc.

There are some really good comics hitting the stands right now, and there are many titles worth picking up, but this one really stands out.

With a proven track record that includes Grafity’s Wall, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr and Blue in Green, Ram V is at the top of his game, and Anand RK’s artwork is top-notch. These guys are rising stars settling into their skin and finding new stories to tell. They seem unburdened by methods or expectations. Their work is in a groove that hasn’t been muddied into a rut by money or prestige. They are the Real Deal.

Issue two is already on the stands, so you may have to beg, borrow or steal a copy of number one to start collecting this comic series worth re-reading, that you can loan to friends with good taste.

This is a Rock and Roll feast for your eyes, a real page turner that will make you drool from both corners of your mouth (make sure to wipe the drool off your chin with the sleeve of your shirt so you don’t smudge the ink!).

Buy one copy for yourself and one to donate to the Philistines at work, whose unenlightened minds are wasting away in the break room, because maybe there is still hope for them.

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the best rag to hang on the rack at your local comic shop! Tune your dials to a funky frequency and fall into the groove of RADIO APOCALYPSE!