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Hugh Likes Comics: The Long Con

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The Long Con
Written by Dylan Meconis and Ben Coleman
Drawn by E. A. Denich
Colors by M. Victoria Robado
Published by Oni Press

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The Skinny: The Comic Con at the end of the world

What happens when The End of the World happens during a major Science Fiction convention? Five years ago, a cataclysmic event destroyed the city of Los Spinoza, and, presumably, the Los Spinoza Convention Center, home to Long Con, the world’s largest and greatest comic convention. But what makes a better bomb shelter than 600,000 square feet of Brutalist concrete? When evidence emerges that something survived, struggling reporter Victor Lai, who barely escaped from the Long Con minutes before the disaster, is sent back in by his editor to investigate.
The Long Con is a delightful look at the apocalypse through the lens of pop culture fandom. It’s a clever microcosm of fans, some of whom are literally eating each other once they get cut off and have to figure out how to survive. The book seamlessly shifts between the last day of the convention and Victor’s return, with his friend Dez guiding him though the twin mazes of Convention culture and the survivors. Meconis and Coleman’s wit is sharp, Denich’s designs are charming without being too cartoonish, and Robado’s use of color is spot on. The past is a riot of bright colors, and the future is just the right touch of grimy.
The story weaves in a third layer, a fictional Star Trek-inspired media property called “Skylarks” that does a lot of great storytelling work and a delightful piece of parody all on its own.
The Long Con just released its fourth issue, and you can find it on Comixology or at your local comics shop. I highly recommend it.

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Hugh Likes Comics-“Down, Set, Fight!”

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Written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims

Drawn by Scott Kowalchuk

Published by Oni Press

One punch can change your life forever. Chuck “Fearless” Fairlane was a rising football star, set on his life path by his inveterate gambler father from an early age. That is, until he punched out an opposing team’s mascot, then the opposing team. Then HIS OWN Team. Then the coaches. His brawl went in League history, but he retired rather than blame the mascot for his outburst.

Ten years after leaving pro football, Chuck is working as a football coach for Darius Rucker High School (Home of the FIghting Blowfish.) One day, a man in an elephant costume appears and picks a fight with him . Soon he finds himself in search of his father, pursued by a bear, and a shark, and a tiger, and just about every other mascot in the U.S. Plus, one determined FBI agent.

While this comic is on the surface a story about a dude beating up hordes of mascots, there was surprising depth in the relationships Chuck has with his father, as well as agent Harrison. Ostensibly a fight comic with a good dose of humor, “Down, Set, Fight!” turns out to be an unexpectedly effective character study.

The art has quite a 70’s grind house feel to it, and is very detailed. Kowalchuk brings the steadily escalating fight scenes, which ramp up exponentially as the series progresses, to the page with economy and skill. The colors have a muted, washed out feel as well. This reinforces the exploitation style, but it doesn’t show off the colorful mascot costumes as well as it could have.

“Down, Set, Fight!” was not my usual sort of comic, but I enjoy the creators’ other works and was glad that I took a shot on it. Much like Oni’s smash-hit “Scott Pilgrim,” this is a fight comic with hidden depths. For full disclosure, I recently interviewed all three of them on the Way of the Buffalo, so I might be a bit biased on this one, but I’m giving it a recommendation.

“Down, Set, Fight!” is available in print as a Graphic Novel, or as digital issues from Comixology.