Thursday, April 14, 2011

Welcome to the Post-Apocalypse

Ahh, yes. One of my favorite, if not the favorite, genre - the post apocalyptic theme. Always loved this concept as far back as I can remember. The idea of man not being 'King of the World' anymore - to being just a supporting cast member in the ruins of his once might civilization has always thrilled me.

Maybe it was those Kamandi comics I read as a kid? Planet of the Apes infinite loop stories? Soylent Green? Omega Man? These are the images and stories I loved as a kid. Will man burn-out or fade away? Most likely fade away - with a whimper.

One common thread in most of these stories is society breaking down - and quickly at that. Martial law, chaos, riots, mass shootings, mass graves…Grim world indeed but probably true if humanity faced the end of it's civilization. Face it, we're pussies in the scale of the universe.

What's usually left is a scattering of humans roaming the ruined wastelands. Rules? There are no rules. It's survival, man!

So here's a list of some of the movies and stories that really capture the good and bad of this future world. If you haven't yet, go watch the books and read the movies!

Kamandi - Jack Kirby's comic about the last boy on earth. Great inspiration but by this time, Kirby's high-octane writing can leave you breathless. Must read.

Judge Dredd - 2000AD hero of Megacities and the Cursed Earth. One of the best comics (the movie sucked ass). Must read.

Daybreak 2250 A.D. (Andre Norton) 1952 novel full of mutants and a small population of humans. Gamma World inspiration. Good read.

Thundarr the Barbarian - Saturday morning cartoon. Best portrayal of a post 1994 Mutant Future!

Star Barbarian - Great Sci-Fi concept of humanities colonization of the stars only to revert back to barbarism. Great concept but didn't like the book that much.

I Am Legend (1954 Richard Matheson) and it's various film adaptations Omega Man, I Am Legend, Last Man On Earth) Good stories in either form.

Alas Babylon (1959 Pat Frank) Post Apocalyptic radiation = bad. Good read.

The Day After - 1980's American television program about the hopeless doom after a nuclear war. Meh.

The Day After Tomorrow - I haven't seen this post-climatic apocalyptic story. Written by Whitely Strieber

The Stand (Stephen King) The plague and the fall of humanity and the traveling across country is great stuff . Didn't get much into the battle of good and evil. Movies, book, comic - all good.

The Road - This ain't no beatnick journey! I haven't read the book but the movie was quite depressing and horrific. Not the post-apocalyptic world I want to live in. Bleak! Bleak! But watch it anyway.

The Planet of the Apes - The infinite loop concept of the movies is great in an of itself. Very good.

Plant Guy - Comic book written by me! Mutant plants, the Roctopus! A must read!

Soylent Green - Part of Chuck Heston's 1970's gun toting apocalyptic fury. Nuff said.

The Road Warrior Trilogy - "A fella' , a smart fella might have a weapon under there." Must see.

Night of the Living Dead and it's sequels - The classic first film captures the quick descent into savagery better than almost any other story. Oh and don't forget the zombies! Must see many times.

The Walking Dead - Speaking of zombies, these series is pretty gruesome and hopeless but the humans fight on. The comic is good too. Must See.

Ever Since The World Ended - Survivors in a post plague world eek out a society in this documentary style film. Very good.

The War Game - A banned documentary from 1965 showing society's breakdown despite best efforts of the government in post nuclear Britain. Depressing but must see.

The Quiet Earth - Last man on earth movie. Very good.

A Boy And His Dog - Young Don Johnson's foray into the post Apocalypse. Good.

Children Of Men - Sterile humanity - End Of Line. Distopian must see .

Blindness - Blindness messes with humanity in a big way. Heavy and depressing.

Knowing - If you love the ancient astronaut theory this movie's for you! I loved this.

28 Days Later - Romero inspired end of the world zombie flick. Must See

Delicatessen - What's the post apocalypse without cannibalism? Weird

Night of the Comet - Valley girls go shopping at the end of the world. Fair, very 1980's

If anyone has any other suggestions, please let the world know before it's too late.

UPDATED: This just in....To coincide with this blog post was the release of the teaser trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Sometimes we're our own worst enemy...


  1. Post-apoc has been on my mind more and more, lately. It's something I've never done and it's sooo ripe for all kinds of gaming fun!

  2. Thundarr the Barbarian says everything I ever wanted to know about the post-apocalyptic future.

  3. Yes, Thundarr is waaaay up on the list.


  4. @James - Plenty of inspiration with the above!

  5. "The Passage" by Justin Cronis was some seriously awesome apocalyptica. The first part of the book concerns the actual collapse and but the second half takes place some 100 years later and is really great fodder for PA games.

  6. @ R. Monkey - The Passage, I have never heard of that. I'm intrigued!

  7. "The Passage" was my favorite book of 2010. I *highly* recommend it. Had elements of The Stand, 28 Days Later, and nods to a lot of vampire fiction.

    Also, I just finished the second book of Guillarmo del Toro's "The Strain" trilogy. The second book is already starting to feel quite apocalyptic.

    Also on the list: S.M. Stirling's "Emberverse" series (starting with Dies the Fire). The elevator pitch is that some kind of event makes explosive combustion and electronics impossible. Society collapses and reforms along medieval lines. A fun read with some cool ideas.

  8. Oh, and of course there is the old "Horseclans" books. :)

    Only read a few of those but I did have Gurps Horseclans.

  9. "Damnation Alley" will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD for the first time ever on July 12. Not a great film, but the Landmaster is the ultimate recreation vehicle for driving through the "post-atomic, radioactive trash!"

    The 1977 movie was based on a Roger Zelazny novel of the same name. The story also inspired British psychedelic space-rock band Hawkwind to record a song about it, also of the same name. It's one of the best songs about a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future that I've ever heard.

  10. Other worthy titles: The Dying Earth series by Jack Vance; The Day of the Triffids [book, film TY serial, The Kraken Wakes, and The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, On the Beach [book,film]by Nevile Shute; The Dancers at the End of Time [stories vary],The Ice Schooner, The Runestaff series [stories vary] and of course... Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett {but all right the ending is a ....} .. Cannot argue with a lot of your list [as if I would:)]but certainly Kamandi [well the Kirby stories] and in that vein, I would add a much earlier series ... [showing my age here]The Atomic Knights [also by DC Comics].

    A good 'game' :D.

  11. 'Threads' is a must-see. It's the BBC's version of 'The Day After', and takes after 'The Wargame' in grittiness and despair. A must-see if you can find a copy in North America.

  12. Oh - I almost forgot 'A Canticle For Liebowitz'.

  13. A lot of good suggestions for reading and watching. I did run across A Canticle For Liebowitz but haven't read it.

    @Russ DC's Atomic Knights is one strip I haven't heard of. I'll have to look into that.