Planet of the Nerds graphic novel review

From writer Paul Constant, artist Alan Robinson, colors by Felipe Sobreiro, letters by Rob Steen. Published by Ahoy Comics. This volume collects issues 1-5.

Fellow children of the 80s – remember growing up when being a geek or a nerd were four letter words? We were shunned for reading comics, watching cartoons, debating minutiae of pop culture. Beaten up even. Now here we are with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Walking Dead, Funko Pops, Big Bang Theory, and more bringing our niche loves into popular consciousness. I bet some of those jocks from back then would hate the world today. Thankfully most of them got used to the modern world one day at a time and weren’t overwhelmed by all of the changes. But what if one, or even three of those 80s nerd-beaters woke up today?

In Planet of the Nerds, friends Chad, Steve, and Drew are frozen back in the 80s. They, well mostly Chad, beat up poor Alvin daily. One day all three end up following Alvin into an abandoned building, where he is experimenting with cryo technology. Things go wrong and what seems like minutes later is actually decades in the future. These three have pulled a Rip Van Winkle and probably wouldn’t even understand that reference. 

They were assumed dead and wake up in a world with iPhones, internet, cashless transactions, and hey is that Alvin on TV as a multi millionaire? These three aren’t that bright, have nowhere to go, no resources to call on, and are blinded and ignorant towards their one mission – get to Alvin. 

I have to give credit to the creators for taking characters I would and have hated in real life and making them compelling and enjoyable protagonists. I hated people like Chad in school. Dumb but athletic and appeared to have everything handed to them so they didn’t even have to try. There were always people like Steve and Drew. Kids that were hangers on despite being better. Hiding their true selves out of fear. Even being friends with someone like Chad who that same true self would not associate with. Throughout the story Steve and Drew realize the modern world will be more accepting of them. They don’t have to be sidekicks, they can be their own men. Chad doesn’t know his place in the 21st century and reacts in an honest and understandable way against it. 

It also helps that Alvin is portrayed as an absolute asshole of a villain. Nerds come in all shapes, sizes, and moral codes just like any other group of people. He’s almost cartoonishly evil, if we all haven’t seen businessmen and billionaires fuel their own selfishness over the well being of us common people multiple times in the real world. 

I loved seeing the journey of all three jocks out of time and their growth throughout this series. For such a fantastic idea it is a very human and universal story. Retro is cool but what if retro is still your current? By stealing the past into the present this comic shines a light on what is good and what is weird about our lives today.

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