If you are a weird comic junkie, comic artist Aaron $hunga is your connection. With Vacuum Horror, he has released not just a weird thing, but perhaps THE weird thing. The Ur-Weird Thing.
Vacuum Horror (originally a webcomic, now in print) is a unique tale of the end of the world, with humanity going down in a way so ridiculous that it crosses hemispheres and becomes disturbing again.
The story opens with a news announcement. The President has declared that all laws are repealed; America is now an anarchy. The nation immediately collapses into a shitheap of murder, rape, depredation, and fist-pumping Ayn Rand fans. As Lily and her family stock up on guns to protect themselves from marauders (and each other), a discovery is made: their vacuum cleaner can talk.
Vacuum cleaners are not just handy household cleaning devices: They are a race of super-advanced aliens. For years, they have watched us grow strong…and now, we’re too strong. Soon we will be waging genocidal wars throughout the galaxy. There is only one solution: we must be destroyed. We are the dirt of Planet Earth, and the vacuum cleaners must perform their duty.
Lily’s vacuum cleaner, however, has fallen in love with her, and wishes to save her from her fate. Time is running out. Even now, a giant vacuum cleaner is flying through space, and when it arrives, it will suck up every human on Earth.
This sets off an absurd road trip through a Mad Max-esque version of America, as Lily and her vacuum cleaner attempt to meet the vacuum high command to plead for her life. Aaron wimps out on drawing a human/vacuum cleaner sex scene but there’s lots of other funny and grotesque events in his book.
Aaron’s style is nice and very memorable, reminding of Terry Gilliams, Klasky Csupo, Shintaro Kago, and Superjail. It’s rough and abstract, but pernickety and full of details. He loves symbolism, and is fascinated by things, not as they are, but by what they represent.
As an example, when it is necessary for the President of the United States to appear, it is not Bush/Obama but Abe Lincoln, who, of course, is America’s definitive President. Aaron says he used Lincoln because he’s “a letter in a nationalistic alphabet.” In other words, when you need a president, you use Abe Lincoln.
Very odd and amusing, Vacuum Horror is both a weird piece of art and a cohesive and well-thought out comic. Even though Vacuum Horror’s influences are clear, as a product there’s not much you can compare it to.
The story ends the way all great literature should end: with Lincoln’s decapitated head floating through space. Please acquire Vacuum Horror by any means necessary.$i;?>
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