Why Aren’t You Reading This?!: Long Gone (Markosia)

The comic book industry is generally dominated by major companies. Marvel and DC have the ability to advertise their books in every area of the media, giving them the lion’s […]

The comic book industry is generally dominated by major companies. Marvel and DC have the ability to advertise their books in every area of the media, giving them the lion’s share of the market. Marvel and DC, however, aren’t the only comic book companies out there. And they are definitely not the only companies producing great work. I find an independent comic series or graphic novel once a week that blows me away, that has that right combination of compelling, funny, and/or interesting story and strong expressive art that just deserves to be talked about by the whole comic community. These are the kinds of books that make me say to myself . . .

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Long Gone Graphic Novel Cover by Ted Pogorzelski and Aaron Viel

Long Gone Graphic Novel Cover by Ted Pogorzelski and Aaron Viel

Long Gone

Some concepts are really good. Some concepts are the kind of concepts that you kick yourself in the butt over and exclaim, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?”

And sometimes those concepts get crapped on due to bad writing or bad art or just overall poor execution. Those are the times where you say to yourself, “Man, if they would have only did this THIS way . . . “.

As comic readers we’ve all come across a concept or five in our day that has elicited this response from us. You begin to wonder what if the right creators came along and grabbed the reins of this concept? This is how I’ve always felt about the concept of superheroes turning against humanity. It’s such a great concept yet it never gets handled quite as well as it could. Sure, books like Mark Waid’s Irredeemable touch on the concept by utilizing one powerful hero to tell this kind of story but I’ve often wondered one thing:

What if ALL the frickin’ superheroes decided “screw humanity”?

Mark Bertolini answers my question emphatically with the graphic novel Long Gone.

In Long Gone, all of the world’s superheroes have decided that humanity isn’t worth saving anymore. So . . . they start doing this.

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They literally start wiping out EVERYONE.

This is basically how our story begins, but Bertolini’s decision to just jump right into things  through the eyes of the only person left on Earth (or is he?) – a grandfather, father, and husband name Abraham Connelly – sets the tone of this book right away. Bertolini’s story is raw for lack of a better term. It’s in-your-face, which is what a story like this needs to be, and the tone is gritty. You just know as you read through Long Gone that this isn’t a world with a happy ending. This is a story about a man with nothing to lose choosing to fight until he can’t fight no more, understanding the odds but going for it anyway. Because of that you feel for Connelly. You see his emotions progress in a way that are easily understandable and identifiable. Bertolini took this concept and did the best thing you could do with it:

He kept it simple.

There’s no over-complications as to why the superheroes have flipped humanity the bird. When the reader does find out why it makes sense. It’s primal. There’s really no long subtext or convoluted allegory here. For a story like this to have the impact it needs to have that’s the only way it can be told effectively – and Bertolini does so in spades. His writing is well-paced, utilizing the lack of hope set up from the outset and adding in uncomfortable moments throughout the narrative that do nothing but amplify the agony, the insanity, and the pure evil of this new world.

Artist Ted Pogorzelski’s sequentials are very solid and fit the tone of the book like a glove. There’s a maniacal grit to Pogorzelski’s superheroes, and his grasp of post-apocalyptic visuals is very strong. His art style reminds me of early Spawn comics in a good way. Paired with Aaron Viel’s colors and E.T. Dollman’s lettering Pogorzelski’s art really shines.

Long Gone is the most solid execution of the “heroes turn on the world” concept I’ve encountered this side of Irredeemable. If you like different approaches to the superhero ideal then my question is simple.

Why aren’t you reading this?!

You can buy Long Gone in print here.

You can buy Long Gone digitally (for all of your Apple products) here.

Pharoah Bolding

Columnist, Reviewer

 

 

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