Hey there gang! Another week, another issue of Forte, and as usual, another Pulp for you all to get stuck into. It’s been a busy few weeks for me; courtesy of the wonders of tertiary education I’ve been sequestered away in my study frantically revising for exams. At the time of writing I’m about halfway through, so I’m definitely looking forward to the break so I can actually read some damn comics. Speaking of comics, let’s get stuck in – I’ve picked out a doozy for you to check out.
This week, I’ve picked up Memetic, a miniseries from back in 2014, written by James Tynion IV (Constantine: The Hellblazer, Batman Eternal) and drawn by Eryk Donovan (The House in the Wall). Now, I’m not gonna lie – when I was looking for something new to read, I was kinda sick, and the only reason I actually picked up this trade was because of the cover. Sure, it’s a superficial reason, but that sloth (a.k.a the Good Times Sloth) on the cover is just so damn goofy that I couldn’t resist. Funnily enough, despite my less-than- stellar reasoning behind buying the trade, it turned out to be a pretty cool story.
In the age of the internet, memes are as common as currency. But what if someone weaponized one? They’re the perfect carriers – they spread rapidly through the internet, jumping from person to person as quickly as you can load an image or fire off a tweet. Memetic follows the spread of a weaponised meme as it tears apart humanity in the space of 72 hours.
First, looking at that goofy little sloth I mentioned gives you an overwhelming feeling of euphoria. After a while, you just can’t stop looking at it; the euphoria is so strong that you’ll spend hours looking at it – without even noticing the passing of time. Then, eventually the feeling changes, and your eyes will bleed and the screaming begins. Much like zombies, the Screamers will soon congregate, and attack anyone not like them. The madness soon takes over, and humanity goes from giggling about a sloth to fighting for its very existence – and it’s a fight we seem destined to lose.
There’s no doubt about it – Memetic is kinda messed up. For the first half of Chapter 1, things are concerning, yet still mostly normal. As soon as it hits the halfway mark, though, all hell breaks loose. The drama goes from 1 to 11 in record time, and I was shocked by how quickly events took a turn for the worst.
Memetic is a bona fide horror comic with its roots in a good ol’ zombie apocalypse – with a 21 st century twist. James Tynion’s writing – although not always popular – is in fine form for Memetic, and he quickly built up a large cast of characters that I actually cared about by the end of the book. Donovan’s art is spot on, too; his character designs are fantastic, and the chaos caused by the Screamers – punctuated but the many depictions of the Good Times Sloth – has been displayed in all its violent, messy glory.
Despite all the odds, Memetic is a relatively unique apocalypse story; it’s not often that you see a story of this kind that tweaks the formula enough to make me go “damn, that’s cool”. Maybe it’s the tech involved, or the dank memes, or the engaging, realistic characters – no matter what, Memetic surprised me in a good way, and I definitely recommend it.
Written by Alastair McGibbon