Say! Do you remember that Stupid Comic we covered a while back that was about the tubby high school loser who joined the army out of humiliation, became a super cut tough fighting man, inherited millions from his uncle in a scene where his evil brother showed up for one panel, built a giant mansion and invited his whole high school to celebrate their ten year reunion at his house with a reunited Led Zepplin playing, which was then interrupted by World War Three, and then he took all his special friends including his high school crush and her asshole husband down to his blast shelter, and he machine-gunned down some of his former classmates who were trying to get in the shelter, and then they survived the atomic blasts, and a few weeks later the asshole husband of his high school crush got all uppity so they had to shoot him? Do you remember that comic? If not, you might want to take a moment and reaquaint yourself with its awesomeness because here's the second issue of "New Beginning"!

Our post-holocaust future will involve mohawks, automatic weapons, crop-tops, and a lot of hollering. Start getting those jaw muscles in shape now, kids!

As you will remember from our last episode, our hero Terry (named after the writer of this comic) had just opened the door of his blast shelter to be confronted by a pack of slavering feral dogs.

Luckily the Ingram MAC-10 was designed with just this room-clearing situation in mind. Let 'em have it, Terry!

Aw come on Steve, they're just wild dogs. Get with the program!

Luckily superior firepower saves the day and our survivors are free to stand freely among the bodies of the dogs they just shot and also their former high school classmates that Terry shot several months ago. Hey, nobody ever said surviving a nuclear war would be pleasant!

Sure, they've been sitting in that shelter for several months, maybe a few more days wouldn't hurt? Nope, they don't have time to sit around and wait for Steve's arm to heal, or to find out if Steve needs a series of painful rabies vaccinations! NOW is the time to get out! After all, it kind of stinks down here, because of all the people and animals Terry shot.

Dang it, their only exit is solidly blocked with impassable debris that requires high explosive to remove. Soooooo... how did those dogs get in there?

Explosives! Not an exact science at all! Just pile 'em up, light the fuse, and get away. That's how the pros - or Bruce here, the artist of this comic - that's how they do it!

So did the atomic war do something crazy to the sky, or did they just forget what clouds were, or did they spend their time in the bunker tripping out on various hallucinogens? Maybe all three.

Terry put a lot of thought into what he'd do if he was a survivalist zillionaire, including these custom-built armored pickup trucks. Why, he even had an operating manual printed for each truck, which might sound like a big deal to someone who's never noticed that every single automobile ever made has an owner's manual shoved in the glove box.

And hey, if you were worried that traditional gender roles might somehow be affected by worldwide nuclear conflict, rest easy. The ladies will still be one hundred percent all about the shopping! In fact, they'll even get excited about that generic store-brand food! One of the many benefits we can look forward to enjoying once armageddon comes.

Not finding any survivors in the suburbs, our heroes head for the nearest big city, across a still intact road network, through landscape unaffected by chemical, nuclear, or biological weapons. So far, the end of the world seems kinda idyllic!

Seriously, Russia? You couldn't hit Chicago? Get your act together, fellas! If you can't drop even one of your thousands of multi-megaton warheads on Chicago, it'll wind up being infested by mohawked punk rock wasteland warriors preying on the innocent!

well, drivin' up to a hostage situation full of crazed apocalypse gangsters roughing up citizens, sure seems like a good time to hop out of the truck and say 'howdy'.

Oh no, the obviously violent mohawk thug with the bad attitude and the handgun shot me! Why am I surprised by this?

Okay. First off three pages back Terry CLEARLY asked to be handed an Uzi, but the gun he's firing now is an Ingram MAC-1O. I don't know how I'm supposed to maintain a suspension of disbelief with errors like this happening. Also, those people in the truck look like they're pooping.

And Marvin betrays the reputation of violent post-atomic sickos everywhere by abandoning his wasteland-thug pals and running away. I expected better of you, Marvin.

But enough of those Road Warrior wanna-bes, let's meet our new pals Sue, Howard, Mark, Mike, and Jim Nosirrom. Yeah, that sounds a little strange. Go on, spell it backwards. Go on!

They aren't gonna do this, are they? Are they?

They are! Yes, a thinly disguised Jim "Doors" Morrison faked his own death, somehow evaded the lawsuits and legal repercussions of faking one's own death, signed a huge contract with a record company in violation of the huge contracts he already had signed with his previous record company, and started recording an awesome new album!

And he was down in the basement of the studio and then the Russians dropped the 50-megaton "Tsar Bomba" on Muscle Shoals or the Brill Building or wherever he was, and so Jim got trapped down in the basement with nothing but junk food to eat. Which is why he got fat.

And if you thought he was kind of narcissistic and loopy before, get a load of him now, only speaking in rock lyrics! Well, it could be worse, he could have been trapped down there with nothing but Monty Python episodes. Then he'd be me in high school.

MEANWHILE our mohawked pal Marvin returns to the headquarters of the Wasteland Punk Spike Wristband Warriors where he reports to "The Colonel", a mysterious commander whose identity is carefully concealed from us, the reader. I wonder who this fellow might be?

"The Colonel" sends Marvin back out to kill all those who oppose "The Colonel", and he also sends his favorite super athletic muscle-bound enforcer "Tank" to bat cleanup. Nothing like a good dose of nuclear fallout to really help with getting ripped quads and delts, I always say.

Our heroes arrive at the home of their new friends. "Needs more security" says Terry, and what he means by this is that he wants to make sure he can machine-gun any enemies, like, say, former high school classmates, at a moment's notice.

Hey, look at that! The women get to talk again! And it's a conversation about clothes. Women, right? If they aren't talking about shopping, they're talking about clothes. Right fellas?

Okay, let's look at it another way - this comic passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors!

"Don't you think we should stand watch, Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's The Doors Coming Soon To A Theater Near You?" "What for?" says Hat Guy. "Foreshadowing is the bunk!"

Hey, look at that, crazed motorpsychos here to wipe everybody out in the name of chaos and disorder. Darn this post-nuclear lawlessness!

Aw man, long-haired friendly guy without a name gets shot protecting Terry. Meanwhile our crazed rock and roll lunatic fires a rifle wildly while hollering like the Manson Family. Which side is that guy on anyway?

As obvious Alpha Male, Terry is automatically assumed to be the new leader of our band of survivors, and immediately he decides everybody should prepare for the wasteland gang's next attack by... packing up and leaving. That's one way to deal with it, I guess.

Later on, Marvin and his pal had to stop for the night while on their way back to Evil Gang Headquarters, a drive that only took 15 or 20 minutes previously. I guess Marvin just likes to toast marshmallows.

OH NO MARVIN! Your loincloth waved for only a short time, but it waved oh, so brightly.

I do want to point out here while we're making fun of this comic book that the figure drawing is really good, and unlike most of these independent 80s B&W comics that start out strong but get subsequently worse, the art in this one actually seems to be getting more confident. Good for you, Bruce, and as one of Terry's friends, I hope your fate is a pleasant one.

So let's recap. Terry got buff, inherited millions, shot most of his high school class, survived WWIII, hooked up with his high school sweetheart, and is now driving across a devastated America with a still-alive Jim Morrison. And people say comics are unrealistic wish-fulfillment fantasies!

But who's this holding his fire on our hero Terry and his hero Jim "Riders On The Storm" Morrison? Why it's none other than...

YES! It's Terry's grumpy brother who we only saw in one panel of issue number one! He also survived the nuclear war, presumably by using HIS share of the inheritance to construct his own bunker, and now leads a brutal army of metal thugs rampaging across what was once America's heartland! And let's take this even further, since pretty much everyone in this comic has a real-life counterpart - did Terry put his real brother into this comic? Did he ask first? "Hey bro I need an evil brother in my comic and you're it!" Or are there real world family dynamics playing out here on the pages of your typical post-nuclear destroyed America wasteland gang Doors singer fantasy?

And what will happen in the next issue?

Looks like somebody's cruisin' for a bruisin' at the hands of Tank. I wonder who Tank is in real life, and where he works out, and what kind of supplements and protein powder he recommends. We'll have to find New Beginning #3 to find out!