Writer: Ram V
Artist: Anand RK
Colorist: Anisha Shankar
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
There's a lone radio station out here, playing tunes for the survivors of a yet-unidentified apocalypse.
They've got a record in the rotation for you.
If you can make it there alive.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
A post-apocalyptic tale of the world's last radio station, Radio Apocalypse opens with the story of two young people: one struggling to make it to safety, and the other struggling to keep themself there.
It's a trans-media story about a community on the last frontier that blends visual art and music into a story designed to engage us on multiple levels.
Think Pontypool meets Pump up the Volume, with a good dose of Lost Highway vibes thrown in for good measure.
Ram V begins this work with a request, and it's a good one: that whenever a song's mentioned in the book, the reader find it and listen to it. Radio Apocalypse invites us to engage with comics and music together, and it's an interesting and rich experience.
The plotting in issue #1 is simple, and we focus on introducing characters, establishing the radio station and the community around it. The desolation and subsequent stakes for each of our characters are compelling, and keep us reading.
Anand RK's art is eerie, sketchy and engaging, with elongated and distorted anatomy and strange physical details that may (or may not!) have a plot element to them later. They're eye-catching and intriguing, as are the creatures (no spoilers, they're worth the wait!).
RK's layouts are, by comparison, straightforward, and they're a good balance to the in-panel detail and flair. Sequential action's tight, and we're treated to a lot of good establishing panels so we're situated in the radio station, the wasteland, the settlement and the gas station as the story unfolds.
Shankar's color palette is interesting, and goes against genre type in a delightful way. We'd expect a muted or somewhat limited, grim palette, as most post-apocalyptic comics go for these days. Instead, Anisha packs the page with bright hues designed to pick out the clutter and chaos. Still, there's subtle contrast here and an attention to detail, like when the vibrant neon hue of the radio station cables mirrors the aura around the guards' guns in the following panel.
RK and Anisha's craft work together to build the lonely, strange and off-kilter mood required for Radio Apocalypse to be successful, and stand out from its apocalyptic peers.
Bidikar's lettering is a treat, as usual, with some sparing sound effects and good placement. RK's art is so rich and textured that placement can be difficult, but Bidikar's attention to detail and experience means the read is seamless.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Fans of this creative team should be familiar with the sketchiness and the style, but some folks might be overwhelmed and need a read or two to get acclimated. Worth it!
Some panels – character close-ups in particular – can disorient, and can take a moment to parse out.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Fans of post-apocalyptic stories will definitely want to check out Radio Apocalypse, and if you're not already a fan of Ram V, Anand RK, Anisha Shankar and/or Aditya Bidkar, what're you waiting for?
There's a lot of work out there about the end of the world that doesn't have much to say beyond a done-to-death aesthetic or an unanchored sense of loneliness. This creative team has proven out their ability to tell a complete story that's original, heartfelt and disturbing.
Radio Apopcalypse promises an experience that's on pro rails in terms of rigor and craft, but delightfully unpredictable in theme and execution as we should expect from this creative team.
WHAT SHOULD I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Paradiso, by Ram V and Devmalya Pramanik
Death Orb, by Ryan Ferrier and Alejandro Aragon
East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta
If you like the art:
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Ram V – Writer (@therightram)
Name Recognition: Ram V is a staple at DC Comics and has work at Marvel, Image and multiple indie presses.
He is part of a group of London comic book writers and artists called the White Noise Collective.
He's also a fabulous artist!
Anand RK – Illustrator (@an_anandrk)
Anand is a freelance illustrator from Mumbai, India. His art can be viewed on his Behance page.
Dream Team: He's responsible for the stellar art in the previous two entries in this loose musical trilogy, Grafity's Wall and Blue In Green.
Anisha Shankar – Colorist
Shankar is a freelance colorist from Mumbai, India. Her art can be viewed on her Behance page.
Shankar was inspired to start drawing by her early love of the Power Puff Girls and Pokemon
Aditya Bidikar – Letterer (@adityab)
Award Winner: Bidikar's lettered a slew of amazing books, from Little Bird to Coffin Bound, and won the 2021 Ringo Award for lettering! Congrats!
Multitalented: Bidikar hosts a podcast with fellow letterer and chum Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Letters & Lines. His newsletter, "Strange Animals," is a fabulous read. He also writes prose and comics.
Bidikar lives in Pune, India, and uses he/they pronouns.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
From your local comic store on November 17th!
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