Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hey Mad Max, who says the apocalypse can't be cute?

Fear not. I promise that ESE is not turning into a cute animal blog.

Yesterday, Armando and I saw Mad Max: Fury Road. If you're a long time reader, then you know how much that series of films, especially The Road Warrior, had an effect on me in the 1980s. I would imagine myself in that post-nuclear war aftermath, scared to death. This current film is quite good and very much keeps the spirit of those films alive and with heavy connections to Duran Duran videos (yes I know, you can't really tell exactly who is ripping off whom when it comes to that and I love it.) That's a subject for another post perhaps because, once again, I digress...

I drove home on a hot day here in the Midwest. I worried about my own financial survival. I looked out at eroded storefronts of businesses on hard times. Crazy drivers would cut me off. Men driving "war rig" SUVs and pickups attempted to compensate for what is no doubt a cruel bestowment of small genitalia. It hit me, in an actual and visible way. I wasn't that far from living in Mad Max times. That's probably what led to the deranged dream I had.

Out of a sea of multicolored styrofoam blocks, I emerged into a shopping mall. It was mostly in rubble. Suburbanites wearing the hodgepodge armor style of Mad Max wandered as zombie mobs through the spectacle, picking up consumer items they once valued greatly but I got the distinct impression they wouldn't do much good at that point. Then again, maybe so. There was also a distinct Blade Runner feel to things.

Acid rain fell through a broken skylight onto the dingy floor. The nomads winced at it. A few people in this future appeared to be genetically modified and everyone carried digital devices of one sort or another. Including me. I used mine to write down everything I saw. Figures, right? You can see me in the aftermath of war, typing away on my mobile, shouting out at the survivors, "Suffer slower. I need to describe this." Detached from it all, it seemed to take everything I had to keep from crying out "I told you this would happen." As I watched someone step out of the metal skeleton that was once the mall elevator, I suddenly stopped writing. A terrible thought kicked me in the nuts.

My dogs. I had people I cared about. Where were they? Were they okay? In a panic, I ran into the wastes, no longer smugly detached from the horror and the pain.

Then I woke up.

Not tough to see where that dream came from. There's Mad Max of course, there are my personal financial worries, I was in a shopping mall last Tuesday, and...let's face it...I tend to think of these kinds of things quite a bit anyway.

Makes me long for Bearville.

What's that? Well, it's a story my Mom would tell my brother and I when we were very little. She would tell us that our stuffed animals, mostly bears, built a wonderful, idyllic town somewhere green. There were a lot of trees, sure, but they also had every modern convenience. I mean, there was no way my brother and I were going to conscience an existence without TV as we were yet to matriculate into the mental giants you now know. (cough cough) The inside of the animals' homes looked something like the box cover of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea. Everyone in Bearville got along and things were happy. Indeed I must admit, it's still sort of my "happy place" that I visualize when things are truly overwhelming. I can't speak for my brother, but I know it's what I do.

Even at such tender young ages, we kids had to wonder. The world is not a nice place and it is full of mean, predatory people with self-aggrandizing agendas. What keeps them from overrunning Bearville? "Well," my Mom said. "That's why the bears have a sizable military force."

Yep. War is a reality. Even as children we learned that. Mom never went into all that much detail as to what these forces consisted of, but I'd like to think they looked a bit like the art of Evan Palmer. Which brings me (finally!!) to the title subject of this post.

Evan Palmer creates images of a post-apocalyptic future that you just want to hug. Pigs, dogs, cats, and other animals pilot giant, mecha battle machines. You can see that there's a bit of animosity there, but nothing too serious. Palmer has said that he's considering turning his drawings into a graphic novel series. Why stop there? I'd say make a cartoon out of it. It beats anything else currently being shown on the numerous cartoon channels. You know, if I run for President (and why not, everyone else is it seems), I'm going to commission such a series. Maybe because it reminds me of my mother's imaginary vision. A peaceful, happy, socialist society (that actually works) and everything is just fine.

But we're also a war machine that's armed to the teeth so don't mess with us.

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