Readers who grew up in the 90’s will undoubtedly remember the classic Nickelodeon cartoon Rocko’s Modern Life. The off-kilter show generated a cult following, facilitating the creation of its first comic line back in 1994. Now KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios, is making more waves with ROCKO’S MODERN AFTERLIFE #1, which centers around an unexpected influx of zombies into Rocko’s home of O-Town.
The story brings the reader into the average day of Mr. Bighead, Rocko’s antagonistic neighbor. We see him rattling off his opinions on a “Buttfeed” article as Rocko passes him on the street. Bighead then proceeds to list off the reasons things haven’t gone his way in life, attributing his struggles to wallabies and Millennials. But disaster strikes when a zombie attack interrupts his rant.
Anthony Burch’s story is in many ways a cultural commentary on our society’s addiction to technology. The story makes its point by showing people transforming into zombies after spending an inordinate amount of their time plugged in. Rocko serves as an example of the ideal mindful individual, seeking meditation and tranquility in lieu of the instant gratification our gadgets bring.
But Rocko’s routine is disrupted when the zombie takeover begins to affect his friends. He must decide whether to stay in his technology-free bubble or venture into the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the undead.
Mattia Di Meo and Francesco Segala craft artwork reminiscent of the animated series. Meo’s details hit their mark, from the wrinkled lines on Rocko’s brain as it pops out of his head to the extreme expressions given to Heffer as he tells wild stories. Segala brings these characters to life with transitions from the bright colors of the main characters to the dull grays of their zombified counterparts. Jim Campbell ties all of the elements together with thin lettering that almost blends in with the illustrations.
Ian McGinty’s main cover brings to mind classic zombie films, showcasing the protagonists as they fend off the undead. And Joven Paul’s dark purple shades set the tone of this horror-themed work.
Joey McCormick and Jorge Corona also provide wonderful illustrations in their preorder connecting cover and unlocked retailer variant cover, respectively. McCormick’s cover illustrates the chaos devastating effects on O-Town, complete with fires and wreckage. And Corona’s version brings the carnage closer to home by crafting zombified versions of the protagonists.
KaBOOM! and Nickelodeon have concocted an entertaining expansion upon the Rocko’s Modern Life franchise. This issue brilliantly uses the metaphor of a zombie apocalypse to unpack the theme of modernity’s addiction to technology.
Did you think this issue kept with the quirky tone of the television series? Let us know in the comments below!