Apocalyptic fiction is thick on the ground these days. So much so that it is hard to see the quality wood for the repetitive trees. One can find themselves sifting through Walking Dead clones wishing for the days when the end of the world didn’t have to be signalled by shambling zombies, never thinking they’ll see the end until, as if by chance, they stumble upon Cody Pickrodt’s Reptile Museum.
It’s set in a world where the apocalypse came and went, and people are just trying to get by in a world that is hostile, but has long since become familiar. Though that situation isn’t immediately apparent. The pacing is slow at first and the opening issue is chock full of half-ideas to get you curious. Without any narrative payout, the average reader might feel a little underwhelmed or short-changed. I wholeheartedly recommend you stick with it for two issues to see if you like it or not. The second issue really drives home the feeling of a community struggling through loss and trying to make a home for themselves. Plus it delivers on a few of the answers that weren’t given in the first issue, like what the titular Reptile Museum actually is.
Pickrodt’s line work is finely honed and his style, given time, will be easily recognisable. His mix of block blacks and sparse white fits Reptile Museum into the current ‘indie’ comic category, though if the story keeps up the intensity is has so far, it will set itself apart from the group. The use of unconventional framing works to heighten the tension in action scenes and this is what will keep you turning the pages through the first issue. The story has touches of The Road and the main character has a sort of Clint Eastwood ‘man with no name’ vibe. Pickrodt mixes these with a light sense of humour to create a story that is never too heavy going. The world of Reptile Museum is made entirely of clever situations, a well considered world and interesting characters. Now we just have to wait and see what Cody Pickrodt does with them.
Reptile Museum is by Cody Pickrodt. Issue #1 is out now, with issue #2 following next month.