There’s been no shortage of end-of-days comic book tales over the last decade or two and there’s good reason for all of those doom and gloom, post-apocalyptic stories: everyone wants to read them!
Maybe it’s because of the times we live in.
Whether it’s an increasingly fractured global village and new and ongoing conflicts within, the temperament of philosophical division and mistrust of government and authority here at home, or the existential crisis of a pandemic and climate change, the future of our children and the end of the world is at the forefront of our minds.
And it makes for great storytelling fodder.
Jeff Lemire is no stranger to the end days. His beloved forty issue comic book series from over a decade ago (time flies during the apocalypse) Sweet Tooth told a story of young animal-human hybrid children, the future of a human society that had ended itself. That series grew in popularity over the years and has now become a successful Netflix series, to the delight of millions of old readers and new fans.
Keeping the day of mankind’s reckoning and its effect on children and youth firmly in his sights, alongside artist Dustin Nguyen, Lemire created the award-winning far-flung, apocalyptic science fiction series Descender and its sequel, Ascender. This was a tale that was both a herald and an aftermath of a societal big bang.
Today, those two fan and critical favourite creators triumphantly reunite with a new monthly take on the aftermath.
Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Descender, Ascender, Black Hammer, Trillium) and Dustin Nguyen(Descender, Ascender, Batman: Lil Gotham, Batman: Streets of Gotham) Little Monsters is a post-apocalyptic tale that has a bite!
Here, the last children of earth, living amongst the ruins of humanity are…vampires.
It would seem that every comic book tale that starts after the end of everything is a concept purposefully made with an eye towards jumping to the big money media of television and film. It’s easy to be cynical that way and hey, if a good comic book idea gets a larger fan base by traversing into other media, great. Maybe that means more eyeballs on comic books.
But that original comic book idea needs to be a good comic book first. And luckily for us, Little Monsters is.
In the first issue we meet many of the main characters that will inform the series: Romie, Yui, Lucas, Billy and others. It’s a quiet, lonely and almost forlorn setup that teases big reveals by the end of the issue. These vampire children are not much different than, perhaps, the youth of today in their love of music, status amongst peers and sense of belonging. Yet as vampires, surviving on their own, they have forgotten the taste of real human blood. Within their quiet existence, living out endless days trapped in youthful but bored bodies, it’s a shock to the system when they discover they are not the only inhabitants in this post-apocalyptic world!
Nguyen’s art in Little Monsters is striking yet again. His black and white and grey tone panels only exhibit small and selective touches of pale colour that ais to expose the emotional dissidence and ennui of the characters and setting. His drawings are expansive and quiet, showcasing a depressive ruin of a setting where not much is worth being cared for. But they are intimate and full of emotion exactly when they need to be and lead the reader deep into the psychology of the children and a world of burgeoning mythology, mystery and horror.
You’ll want to be around for the second issue.
Make the run to your local comic book shop today and sink your teeth into another fresh apocalypse with Little Monsters #1
You can watch the preview of the first issue directly below: