Border Town 2: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

PatrickBorder Town hinges on an obviously loaded concept: the membrane between the monster world and the human world lies along the border between the US and Mexico. All the xenophobia, all the paranoia, and all the actual danger is exaggerated. But there’s another component of the traditional border dispute narrative that’s cranked up to ten — culture. Writer Eric M. Esquivel and artist Ramon Villalobos take care to bask in the cultural specifics of our heroes, while only hinting at the implied culture of the monstrous villains. It’s a fascinating look at what humanizes people on either side of either border. Continue reading

Contemporary Fears in the Near Future of Analog 4

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Science fiction stories are often set in the future, but they reflect the contemporary anxieties of the societies in which they’re created. The Los Angeles of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner was heavily inspired by the modern landscape of Tokyo — it’s bustle and aesthetics cranked way up to sinister levels. As Sarah Emerson notes in a 2017 piece for Motherboard regarding cultural fetishization in the franchise, Blade Runner was a product of its time; in the 1980’s the West was still feeling the effects of an economic downturn just as Japan’s economy began to kick into high gear. Couple that with already high fear of cultural invasion thanks to the ever-present Cold War, and the futuristic dystopia of Blade Runner where, as Emerson writes, “communities are ghettoized beneath Asian-branded skyscrapers” comes into focus.

Unlike Blade Runner, which consciously or unconsciously stoked audiences’ fears for mere atmosphere, Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan use Analog to actively exercise their fears about the present. That’s exercise — not exorcise. The internet run amok, neo-Nazis, greed and corruption in the systems meant to protect us, Duggan and O’Sullivan are writing a noir story of the meanest kind, where the rot in society is too deep to be cured and the best one can hope for is making it out alive. There are no solutions to be found in Analog. Jack McGinnis managed to shut down the internet and it wasn’t enough to make things right.

But like any good noir, just because Analog is bleak it doesn’t mean it’s joyless. As someone who spends most of their time tied up with anxiety about the state of the world, I’ve found there’s catharsis in Analog’s pessimism. Have a few thoughtless internet billionaires seemingly fucked everything up for the rest of us? Hell yes they have! Doesn’t it suck how the world continues to get hotter and hotter? Absolutely! Can you believe that we have to regularly talk about white supremecists — like on an almost day to day basis? No, I can’t! Reading an issue of Analog is like going to Angry Liberal Church on a regular basis and I love it. Amen!

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

Indifference is the Enemy in Analog 3

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

“Oona can handle herself…”

Analog 3

We find ourselves in a wholly irrational place in history — a swing away from progressive ideals. Regressive. Part of what makes this era so fucked up is that we believed ourselves to be beyond history. The concept of the “end of history” is contingent on society having reached a perfect state of civility. There would be no war, no famine, no racism, no inequality, no income disparity if only we reached this civil equilibrium. Here’s the problem: we never got close to perfection before white America declared that we were living in a post-racial world. And why would they? We are Americans and we are exceptional! We saved the world from the most obvious evil history has ever seen, and everything since 1945 has been a victory lap. Essentially, the belief has been that the system would find justice, or that society can “handle itself.” Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s Analog 3 explores the dangers of expecting a situation to fix itself. Continue reading

Defeat and Retaliation in Analog 2

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad

Penny Arcade, 2004

Back in 2004, the Penny Arcade guys were disgusted by the behavior of some people playing Unreal Tournament online, leading to them publishing the strip referenced above. Fourteen years later, and we know better than to ever be shocked by a faceless teenager hiding behind the gamertag “6ftcock” using hate speech in PU:BG. Vile behavior begets other vile behavior, and as long as the bullies never have to meet their victims, that fuckwadery is as make-believe as the game they’re playing. At least, that’s what John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory postulates. But what if those hateful impulses, those destructive anti-social tendencies are just part of who we are, with or without the internet? Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s Analog 2 dutifully moves the series’ plot mechanics forward, while continuing to mine this thematically rich vein. Continue reading