Comics have the apocalypse pretty well-covered yet somehow Oni Press’ The Long Connever feels like it’s treading on any other comic’s toes. A post-apocalyptic story set at a comic con, it doesn’t feel or look like any post-apocalyptic story I’ve read before. The Event in question happened while the comic con was taking place. Victor had stepped outside the Los Spinoza Convention Center for a minute. Now, five years later, he’s being sent back, to report on whatever’s left. The center is in a quarantine zone and Long Con, as Victor’s about to discover, has lived up to its name, in that it’s still going on. Everyone inside isn’t dead.
How could such a major oversight happen? The same way everyone inside the con believes everyone outside is dead, or at least a zombie, which is what Victor gets accused of being when he first shows up.
Luckily, not long after arriving, Victor runs into his friend, Dez (or, more accurately, falls on her and the hot dog cart she’s pushing). Five years ago, Dez was the person who showed Victor around Long Con. A publicist and a fan, Dez now uses her knowledge of the various franchises to survive in the society that’s developed in Los Spinoza’s halls.
A world where your knowledge of comics and TV shows keeps you alive – there’s something massively appealing about that, and if writers, Dylan Meconis and Ben Coleman, stopped there, you might not have much of a story. What raises the stakes is these various fandoms have gotten a hold of actual guns and are using them to kill people.
Outside of the opening scene, and Victor’s meeting with his editor, the entire volume takes place inside the Los Spinoza Convention Center. Essentially, you experience the apocalypse in a bubble and it’s a completely fresh take.
Flashbacks are likewise centered around the Center. That means you get to see the con at its best and at its doomsday worst. Nothing and nobody has been left untouched by the years, and it’s all in the details artist, EA Denich, latches onto, whether it’s a new hair cut or a sign for “Salad Saloon” that’s lost a few letters, so it’s “Sad Saloon.” There are posters for non-existent TV shows, activations, and while there’s always a text warning when the stories about to switch from past to present, you can tell just by looking at Denich’s art and M. Victoria Robado’s colors. The past, when the con was pristine and commercial, is brightly lit, while the present is grungy. Robado also does an amazing job coloring the different Skylarks episodes (Long Con’s riff on Star Trek and its many spin-offs), with 1968’s Interstellar Skylarks utilizing much harsher hues than 2000’s more subdued Skylarks: Tomorrow Frontier.
Aditya Bidikar does the lettering with a complete consciousness of space. Every speech bubble is placed to give the most leeway to the art and it’s really an incredible job. Like Victor, you don’t have to be well-versed in fandom culture to understand what’s going on, and explanations are provided.
Planned as a ten-issue miniseries, volume one gives you access to the first five. Will Victor and Dez get word out to the rest of the con that there’s life outside the Los Spinoza Convention Center’s walls?
The Long Con, Volume 1 goes on sale February 12th from Oni Press.