"PopApocalypse #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written and Illustrated by Matt Harding
42 Pages, $4.99
The threat of another world war could probably start any day now, right? I mean, it almost did fairly recently due to a Seth Rogen movie. Matt Harding's PopApocalypse is set 10 years after World War III, also known as “The Advertising War.” The planet was devastated. The biggest companies around the globe saw all the media attention that the war was getting and decided to cash in by creating genetically enhanced super-soldiers and other monsters to join in the fray and gain some more customers. These weren't a bunch of logo-filled versions of Captain America. These were bloodthirsty beasts like The Clown or the Grimace or ruthless killers like the Rabbit or the Redhead.
You'll quickly notice that PopApocalypse is filled with some well known mascots, mostly from cereals and fast food chains. Using the actual names would probably result in some angry lawyers knocking down Harding's door with copyright infringement papers so they go by generic names. They're pretty easy to figure out though (and on the nose with the Grimace). Harding brings forth the personality of each character in the design and mannerisms. These versions are not that far off from the current renditions seen in advertising today when you think about it. I would definitely eat at KFC a lot more if the Colonel rode around on a giant mutant chicken.
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This issue spends most of the time introducing the characters and giving you a lay of the land. The world is a total shithole right now and there's a war between two factions. The Burglar is currently in charge and The Rabbit wants to take him out. Everyone else falls on one side or the other. Although it doesn't seem like a lot actually happens in these pages, the book is filled with information and a brief history of this world (not to mention a bunch of really cool pin-ups by various artists).
Harding's art direction in PopApocalypse is top notch. He provides some really cool shots throughout the comic, including a view from inside the Captain's mouth after getting a tooth punched out. The fight scenes feel amped up, like it's a blockbuster movie with a soundtrack booming in the speakers. (Speaking of those, Harding pulls in the Noid in one battle. Do you remember that thing? Yeah, it's in here and it's crazy.)
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The issue is bookended with a blindfolded man falling to earth from a floating city. I will admit that I don't know who he is yet or why he's important, even when he's referenced by name. I'm very curious about it. It adds a bit more mystery to the story.
PopApocalypse is a dream comic for any pop culture fans. Anyone that grew up in the ‘80s or ‘90s will love this book. You'll find a Mad Max version of your favorite mascot. This is just the first issue, and I really hope that creator Matt Harding has more planned because this whole premise is just brilliant.