Road Trips and the Apocalypse 

I’m on the road for a bit, so some of the usual style for On the Shelf is being set aside — like a comic that you simply had to buy and then tossed aside onto your ever-growing stack of books to read.  An accumulation of various stories, thoughts, and ideas with the tenuous connection of being co-located in a pile.  A stockpile that is haphazardly placed with no organizational logic.  Without cats to inspire… without sunbeams… without a comic shop… but with the Internet we shall prevail.

There are many comics that explore the road trip of individual discovery.  Many of them occur in a post-apocalyptic world.

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1-10. Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marian Jr. Vertigo Comics, 2003-2008.

Yorick Brown is the only male human left alive after a mysterious plague kills all Y-chromosome carriers on earth. Why are he and his male monkey, Ampersand, still alive?  Yorick sets out on a road trip to find his girlfriend and the answer.

Animosity. Marguerite Bennett and Rafael De Latorre. Aftershock Comics, 2016 – ongoing.

The animals awake.  They start thinking, talking, and taking revenge.  The bloodhound, Sandar, and his human girl, Jesse, set out on a road trip  from New York to San Francisco to find the one person who can save Jesse.

If the world as you know it suddenly ends, would you hit the road to find someone or something?  These stories are usually told from the perspective of the traveller.  Imagine the story of the person who isn’t on the move.  The one who greats each traveller who passes by, updating them on road conditions and other local hazards (zombies, aliens, giant monsters, or other roving bands of mischief).  Imagine the story of the one being sought by the traveller.  The reaction to being that one person who can save the world, with all of the answers, and the recipient of true love.  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any anti-road trip tales from these opposite perspectives.  If you know any, leave a comment.

Why does it take an apocalyptic event to get some people out the door to find what matters to them most?  Being motivated to do difficult things takes a greater push.  The world of comics let’s us experience a journey through unlikely events.  Often, these journeys lead not to where the traveller wanted to go, but to find what needed to be found.

Travel safely with comics.


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