The Long Con Volume #1 is published by Oni Press, written by Dylan Meconis and Ben Coleman, illustrated by EA Denich, colored by M. Victoria Robado, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar. When I first approached The Long Con Volume #1 I thought I was just in for a fun little story, but instead what I got was much more. The book is a satirical look at geek culture, its vices, and most prominent failings, all through the exaggerated lens of a quasi-apocalyptic event in which hilarity ensues.
At some point, an undisclosed event happens that leaves a large swath of land reduced to a monster-filled wasteland that is secured by FEMA+. But, when after five years, a lone survivor wearing the con badge to the convention called The Long Con comes staggering out of the wasteland a reporter who was at the con when the event occurred is sent back to see what is there.
This setup is the beginning of one of the biggest surprises I’ve gotten out of a comic book in a long time. When on hard times reporter Victor returns to The Long Con expecting to find nothing, he instead finds an isolated group of survivors whose society has formed around their interests in all things geek.
Thankfully for him, he meets up with old friend Dez, who has been surviving the harsh environment that The Long Con has become, and when he informs her the world wasn’t destroyed five years ago, they must maneuver a myriad of dangers and faction infighting, and the journey is just beginning.
The journey through The Long Con Volume #1 is filled with pop references and parodies aplenty. From the starring attraction of the con, the hit sci-fi series ‘Interstellar Skylarks,’ to superheroes galore, The Long Con is a perfect parody of geek culture.
But, even amidst the zaniness of the moments, there is some superb satirical commentary about the less enjoyable sides of fandom. Whether it be jackbooted stormtroopers oppressing people of different sci-fi tastes in the name of “canonical purity” or a past his prime comic writer who comes up with a story where a heroine must “seduce the brainwash” out of a mind-controlled hero, both the joys, and failings, of fandom are in full display. This is explored even further by frequent flashbacks to the con before the event occurred. Seeing locales both before and after, as well as how characters have changed, or stayed the same gives the culture of fandom just a little more time to shine.
Writers Dylan Meconis and Ben Coleman bring a tremendous amount of life to their characters. Victor captures the overwhelmed outsider perfectly, both in the wasteland present, as well as in the con’s past, while Dez’s strong drive and resourcefulness, along with her endless patience with Victor’s fish out of water confusion, makes her a wonderful character I couldn’t stop cheering for. Surrounding these two are a memorable cast of friends and foes, each larger than life, and completely memorable.
The illustrations of EA Denich combined with the coloring of M. Victoria Robado were the final ingredient to bringing these wonderful characters and locations to life. The character designs perfectly complement their personalities, and the colors are perfectly chosen to allow the images to always be clear to the reader’s eye.
My only complaint with all this is, the occasional cutaway to an episode of the ‘Interstellar Skylarks’ various shows, that never really quite fit for me. While, after the fact I could see what the creative team was going for with their placement of them, they always felt jarring to me.
When all is read and done this is a fantastic volume I cannot recommend enough. Fast-paced, lots of fun, and enough commentary to have a message beyond its main story, but not enough to hinder the books primary goal of a great read.
The Long Con Volume #1 is available February 12th in bookstores and February 13th in comic book shops.
The Long Con Volume #1
When all is read and done this is a fantastic volume I cannot recommend enough.