Updated: Dec 17, 2019
A few months ago I walked into my local comic book shop and a book on the shelf caught my eye. It was called Surviving Megalopolis and while the cover stood out due to the devastation and destruction it showed, the name Gail Simone interested me more than anything. Gail Simone is by far one of my favorite comic book writers. I started following her about a year and a half ago and have been picking up all her new stuff as well as digging through comic long boxes to find as much of her older stuff as I could. What got me about the cover was that it said Leaving Megalopolis, but with the Leaving crossed out and the word Surviving spray painted over it. This instantly screamed sequel to me and I pulled up my phone to research.
The original story Leaving Megalopolis was a book that Gail Simone and artist Jim Calafiore did a Kickstarter for and was one of the highest crowd funded graphic novel projects capping out at a whopping $117,660. I grabbed the book off the shelf but I left it in my sub box and continued to grab each issue as it came out but left each in my sub box. I knew I wanted to find the original book first and read it before I read these but I wasn’t really thinking. About two weeks later I was in the shop and I had just pulled the most current issue and happened to glance over at the trades shelf.
Oh shit, trades!
Like a crazy person I hurried over to the L section and staring me in the face was the hardcover edition of Leaving Megalopolis. I immediately bought it and the 3 issues in my sub box of Surviving Megalopolis and I was ready!
Except when I got home I saw I was already 2 weeks behind on my comics. Yeah, I’m kind of OCD about what order I read my comics. So I stuck them all in the stack and waited. I waited until I saw Gail Simone announce that she would be going to C2E2 this year. I immediately grabbed the book and shoved it in my bag with the rest of the comics I was bringing to Chicago to get signed. I’ll read it on the plane I thought.
I picked it up and started to try and read but after years of travelling for work I had trained myself to sleep on the plane almost automatically and I was out in minutes. So I went to C2E2 and met Ms. Simone for the first time and found she was the epitome of graciousness and super nice. I had her sign the book and also had Jim Calafiore sign it as he was there too. A month and change later I finally got the chance to sit down and read this book.
This is hands down my new favorite graphic novel. The first 8 pages are nothing but chaos and destruction with no dialogue whatsoever. This is a complete testament to Gail Simone’s storytelling and to Jim Calafiore’s art. When I first got published I did a short 8 page story in an anthology book. I was proud of it but I didn’t feel like it had enough dialogue and as my first time out I was extremely self-doubting of my work. I later spoke to a prominent comic book writer from Valiant Comics at a store signing and I told him about my story and how I felt. He told me that writing stories with less dialogue successfully is a better example of your work sometimes because if you can tell the story without saying much, you did your job well. It made me feel better about my work and those words always stuck with me. They screamed into my brain as I sat there intently for minutes at a time studying the first 8 pages of this book. It sucked me in. It smacked me in the face. It set the story up perfectly.
So the story is about superheroes that go bad. Every horror story that humans in comics can think of about Superman turning bad and taking over the planet or the heroes of Marvel destroying a city and then going to war with each other comes completely full circle in this book. The beauty of it is that the story isn’t even about the crazed heroes; it’s about a small group of survivors just trying to get the hell out of Dodge (or Megalopolis). The art is astounding and Jim Calafiore’s work is something I’m definitely going to check into more after this. I feel stupid for reading it after I met the man because now I want a commission from him. The rest of the story is outstanding and even if the cover didn’t say Gail Simone, I can instantly pick up cues in her writing that I immediately recognize. The definite stumped “huh” that’s so prevalent in almost everything she writes and makes me laugh out loud every time as well as the egg references are always a most welcome sight. The human survivors were all completely believable and personable characters in their own rights with interesting back stories and made it a great read just about them. What I liked most about this book though was that the crazy superheroes were like the gravy on the mashed potatoes. They’re vicious. They’re bloodthirsty. They’re every humans living in a world of heroes’ worst nightmare. I loved every panel of it. God help me, I did. While the humans were likeable enough to root for, every horrible atrocity the heroes committed made my wicked little brain scream YES! I would definitely suggest picking up Leaving Megalopolis and I will definitely be breaking comics order protocol to read the 4 issues of Surviving Megalopolis as soon as I finish writing this senta…..