Collecting issues 1-6. Mark Russell, writer. Steve Pugh, artist. Chris Chuckry, color. Rob Steen, letters. Published by Ahoy Comics.
In the not too distant future, billionaires have fled the law and rising sea levels onto their own self made floating moving island. No one can get onto the island unless they have over a billion in wealth. Of course, such people create enemies and some of those enemies have found their way onto the island because karma is free.
First off, this has to be optioned for a movie. There’s just no way with all of the twists, turns, violence, and humor that this doesn’t go to screen. Well, maybe one way.
Because this book does not shy away from reality. The actual current reality, nor the reality we’re heading towards. Billionaires don’t accumulate wealth by being charitable. They didn’t get all that money by being good people, and of course they aren’t going to suddenly become generous once that next zero cha-chings in.
Whether it be a man who lost everything thanks to a company’s manipulations, a reporter trying to draw out the truth, or a contractor who regrets taking this job. One of these regular people will hopefully topple the island.
Kind of like how we all wait for someone to set things right now. We know the world is screwed up. Wealth disparity, climate change, all of it. Working minimum wage jobs just to stay afloat doesn’t leave a lot of free time to research new fuels or agriculture. We hope that those financially above us will help but they look down and say “no”.
Billionaire Island pokes fun at social media, cancelled celebrities, politics as a game show, stock manipulation and it would be hilarious satire if it wasn’t so damn true. Even as this book began, we all took a punch in the form of a global pandemic – bringing some of the already printed satire within even that much closer to reality.
It is such an innovative, beautifully done comic I wish I could put it with sci-fi or fantasy. But a new genre has to be born, future non fiction. The most outlandish ideas in this comic are the robots and none of that is too far off. A year, maybe five? About how much longer it will take before even the strongest deniers have to accept global warming.
I love comics for the escape, for the fantasy, for the inspiration of my own writing. This however, feels like reading 1984 in 1983. Dangerously close to a new unpleasant change in reality, but at least we can all watch it unfold on our phones. While someone profits off the app we’re using to do so.