At 51 years old, Peter Bagge is becoming an elder statesman of the comics medium. A member of the generation of artists who came of age in the 1970s under the influence of genre-defining and boundary-pushing artists and publishers such as Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, and Harvey Kurtzman, he rubs shoulders (at least figuratively) with Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Tony Millionaire, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, and many other brilliant weirdos.
Reading his newest book, Apocalypse Nerd, a collection of the six-issue miniseries of the same name (which does not, unfortunately, contain any of the hilarious Founding Fathers Funnies comics that appeared in the individual issues as they were released), one gets the distinct sense that perhaps becoming an elder statesman isn't sitting so well with Bagge, and that aging and mortality are weighing heavily on his mind. One of the biggest differences in Apocalypse Nerd compared to his previous work is that there's a lot of death in it. Hell, there's a lot of murder in it.
The intriguing but somewhat loopy premise: Kim Jong-Il nukes Seattle while nebbishy software engineer Perry and his outdoorsman buddy Gordo are at a weekend cabin getaway. Perry and Gordo are immediately thrust into a Darwinian struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic world, or at least a post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest -- although in Bagge's hands this "futuristic nightmare world" is rendered very cartoonishly, feeling like a Mad Max movie as directed by Kevin Smith (think Clerks Beyond Thunderdome).