Eliza: Radio Apocalypse: what’s it about?
Bobby: MUSIC! I mean I know that it’s a given, but that is the idea. The radio is the sole form of communication and the music behind it unites everyone.
Eliza: Yeah! Ram V has tackled music before. We saw that in Blue in Green. But that was more of a solitary journey of a guy haunted by his obsession with being a musician (great book by the way, totes recommend!). Radio Apocalypse totally departs from that and uses music to unite people, which seems really important since the world is ending. Do we know why the world ended?
Bobby: The preview mentions it! What’s more interesting is seeing how the new society shown in the book was rebuilt after this. Part of me likes to think there’s a sense of ambiguity to the lines below as it sounds like the lyric of a song.
Eliza: I guess no one in the pandemic stands around starting their sentences with “So a variant of a coronavirus originated in late 2019 and . . .” so it makes sense that by throwing us into the apocalypse, people are more worried about the present dangers. It seems like there are many! Do you think the characters will make it safely through this story?
Bobby: There are dangers up ahead in this world and I think one of the main conflicts we’re already seeing is between a society like the one presented here and what’s outside. The first issue does establish a level of tension; in keeping up with a post-apocalyptic setting, there are obviously some dangerous people, or dangerous things outside Bakerstown.
Eliza: Even though I’ve read apocalypse fiction before, this book doesn’t look like what I’ve read! Props to the visual team: Anand RK on art, Shankar on colors, and Aditya Bidikar on letters. The colors are bright while the art is gritty and everything has a surreal quality. It reminds me of vintage skateboarding art. It’s pretty rad!
Bobby: I fell in love with Anand RK’s art when I first read Grafity’s Wall so it was really nice to see him back on a new title with Ram V. Everything and everyone he draws is so intricately detailed that I can tell that there’s a lot of craft done, which is incredible. It works well when complemented with Shankar’s colors. I love how Bidikar’s lettering is slanted and I like how the word bubbles are shaped. It fits the post-apocalyptic setting of the story.
Eliza: With our copy of the book, we received this note:
This comic was written to music playing over speakers. Sometimes on vinyl, others remembered on CDs and audio cassettes. This story was told with tunes and words and images twining into this inseparable thing in front of you. Let’s make a deal. I’ll tell you the best story I can about lives, loves, loss, and joy. And you–when you find an image or a line referencing a song or a character playing music on their boom-box, walk-man, or hand-held radio, I want you to find that song wherever you listen to music, and I want you to play it.
That’s how this story of the last radio station standing silhouetted at the far horizon is meant to be read. Plugged in and turned up.
So come, let me play you a song.“
I thought this was a really cool way to give the comic a soundtrack! It really set the tone during an important scene.
Bobby: I always like making “soundtracks” to comics, especially individual issues because I think that’s a great way to set the mood and atmosphere. I like that the note tells us about checking out the music referenced because it’s sharing what you like with the readers.
Eliza: Yeah! I think this gives us more insight into the author’s headspace. I love it when authors send out playlists like “Here’s what I listened to when I was writing this”, and this feels like a natural extension of that. I like the idea of the world ending and still feeling the need to do something as human as listening to music. If you were going to write your apocalypse, Bobby, what songs would be on your end of the world soundtrack?
Bobby: It would probably be a wide variety of songs, but I think I would probably include a lot of music that has a dreamy vibe to it. I like the idea of music that’s otherworldly; it serves as a distraction from the apocalypse. I am a huge fan of hip hop, so I would probably have songs by artists such as Danny Brown and A Tribe Called Quest; in the case of the latter, I might as well put Midnight Marauders on the playlist. Overall, I would include music that’s groovy, dreamlike, or relaxing, and I would try to have music from all over the world as opposed to one place.
Eliza: Mine would probably be a lot of noise. My music tastes aren’t very high brow, as it’s mostly pop music. It’s also escapist, but in the sense of ‘filling your head with so much energy that you can’t think about anything bad.’ I think what surprised me the most about Ram V’s music choice in the first issue was that it wasn’t escapist at all! It was a song that made you sit with all of your emotions and just feel them.
Bobby: In the context of the issue, I love how that song was used. Without giving away too much, it made me more emotionally invested in the characters. I am excited to read the rest of the series.
The FOC for Radio Apocalypse #1 by Ram V, Anand RK, Shankar, and Aditya Bidikar will be this Monday, October 25th. If you want a copy, go to your local comic store before that and place an order! Issue #1 will be out November 11th!