By Zack Quaintance — The timing of this book is absolutely perfect. This is a comic about some kind of apocalyptic event that a group of comic con attendees survives by holing up for five years in the convention venue—and here it is just days after the nation’s biggest comic con wraps up. Given the inside ballball-y nature of the book—so many jokes for reporters, publicists, comic industry folk, and other media professionals—it’s a pretty safe bet much of The Long Con #1’s readership spent last week in San Diego.
I know I for one found myself relating extra hard to this book in the midst of post-SDCC recovery (I first read it last week but had to do it again now that I’m home). Solid timing aside, this is a smart, funny, and self-aware comic in and of itself, one that takes a meta look at the current state of fandom without once too preening or preachy. Although it does seem to have much to say about the current state of fandom, especially as it relates to how fast it’s grown, how all encompassing it’s become and the effects of its unprecedented levels of exposure and profit. If that’s what this is about, I’m here for it, for sure.
The main reason The Long Con #1 works so well, though, is that it grounds itself and its ideas in a pair of leads who are exceedingly believable and charismatic, in different ways. The concept is clever sure—survivalist nerds in their element!—but a clever concept only goes so far. The real feat of writing here is the characterization in one fleeting interaction between protagonist A—a grumpy and seemingly underachieving journalist—and protagonist B—a perky publicist for the publisher Total Bullshit, very indie, very hip. The minute I finished this book, all I wanted was more of them together, and I do believe I’ll get that soon, because I’m definitely going to continue reading this one.
The artwork by webcomic artist EA Denich and colorist M. Victoria Robado works exceptionally well for the flashback scenes set at the con before our unspecified disaster struck. Denich has a crisp cartoon style that lends itself to sight gags as effectively as a prime-time animated sitcom. It maybe functions a little less effectively for the sci-fi wasteland bits, but it only really suffers by comparison the other. In general, the visuals are perfect for the tone of this excellent book.
Overall: The Long Con #1 is a must read for anyone who knows what pre-event media content is and how much editors value it. It’s a smart, funny, and self-aware look at the business of con culture, steeped wonderfully in outrageous dystopian sci-fi. 9.0/10
Writers: Dylan Meconis & Ben Coleman
Artist: EA Denich
Colors: M. Victoria Robado
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Oni Press
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