Season 18: Apocalyptic Trilogy (Memetic, Cognetic, Eugenic) by James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan

For the next season of Storied Arcs, Mike and Alex invite you to join them at the end of the world as they get ready to dive into the Apocalyptic Trilogy, a spiritual and thematic trilogy of comics from Boom Studios by James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan consisting of the books Memetic, Cognetic, and Eugenic. As usual with these zero episodes, the guys will give a preview of the comics and discuss what drew them to the titles, why they want to talk about them, and why you should read them, too. Then they take a look at the creative team and touch on how some of their current work, especially from Tynion, the literal biggest writer in comics at the moment, has its roots in this trio of stories from early in their career.

As mentioned, this is a spiritual trilogy of stories, not a literal one, so technically, they can be read in any order since they aren’t connected by character, place, events, etc. That said, we will be covering the comics in publication order (Memetic then Cognetic then Eugenic) and our discussions will progress as if you’ve only read what would have been available to you at the time. So for example, when we talk about Cognetic, we’ll assume you’ve read Memetic but we won’t spoil Eugenic.

Now that that’s clear, go find Memetic from Boom Studios wherever you get your comics, and join us back here next week to talk about the end of the world, part one!

Memetic by James Tynion IV & Eryk Donovan:

Book cover for Memetic by James Tynion IV

So the fate of the world rests in the hands of the maniac who decided to end it with a weird picture of a sloth.”

Storied Arcs is back with another great season as Mike and Alex get ready to talk about the end of the world three times over. First up is part one of James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan’s Apocalyptic Trilogy from Boom Studios, Memetic (issues #1-3). The guys dive right into the story, discussing how plausible it would be for the world to end on a weaponized meme if such a thing were real (spoiler alert- very), and how prescient the story feels knowing it was first published back in 2014. They talk about how our relationship with technology, specifically social media, has changed and evolved since the release of Memetic and how that could color your reading of it. Then the guys examine the ending and take a look at how the choices the characters make reflect back on the  story’s overall exploration of humanity’s struggle between individualism and tribalism. They also delve into some of the issues they have with the comic. Not so much the story, which they both enjoyed, but more with the mechanics of the storytelling. But not to worry, we’ve got Good Times Sloth to cheer us up! Praise him!

As we mentioned last week, we’re going to be covering this thematic trilogy in publication order, so up next is Cognetic (issues #1-3). Find it wherever you get your comics (local shop, library, etc.) and join us back here next week to discuss how the world ends for a second time!

Cognetic by James Tynion IV & Eryk Donovan:

Book cover for Cognetic by James Tynion IV“You were always selfish. You rallied us together to stop him all those years ago because you were afraid of losing one life you treasured more than the whole. You convinced us that life was all about those little glories. The little loves. And we believed you. And here, you’ve done it again.”

The end of the world, take two! Humanity meets its demise yet again as Mike and Alex turn their attention to part 2 of the the Apocalyptic Trilogy, Cognetic (issues #1-3). They discuss how they feel Tynion and Donovan leveled up their game from Memetic to Cognetic and how it feels like Cognetic is better able to accomplish the things they were trying to do in Memetic. While they might like the setup for Memetic more, there’s no denying that Cognetic is a better-constructed comic. So they guys get right into it, talking about how Tynion uses escalation in this story to keep the reader engaged and enthralled. They also take a look at the main character’s motivations and examine how, in the end, you the reader aren’t left with any real good choices. The individual versus the collective; once again, we ponder what it is that defines humanity. No pressure.

Just one apocalypse left (for now, at least), so go find Eugenic (issues #1-3) wherever you get your comics (probably a similar place to where you found Memetic and Cognetic) and join us next week as we wrap up our discussion of Tynion and Donovan’s Apocalyptic Trilogy!

Eugenic by James Tynion IV & Eryk Donovan:

Book cover for Eugenic by James Tynion IV“And what if I could make it so race would never be a part of the equation again? That the way the world views us would never rely on how much melanin our ancestors needed to protect themselves from the sun? I could make us all the same. I could make us better.”

The final installment of the James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan’s Apocalyptic Trilogy, Eugenic (issues #1-3), takes a different approach than the previous volumes and Mike and Alex are here to break it all down.  The guys discuss the radically different storytelling format employed here and how that effects the narrative, both as a self-contained story and in comparison to the overall trilogy of stories. They dive deep into how this might be the most disturbing of the volumes, given the terrible real-world history surrounding the study and use of eugenics, and look at how eerily prescient some aspects of the story have become in ways that no one could have anticipated when the comic was initially released back in 2017. Mass skepticism of vaccines? No way *that* one was gonna come true, right?

And with that, we come to the end of another season of Storied Arcs! We hoped you enjoyed exploring the end of the world with us, and we’ll be back next week to kick off another deep dive discussion into a great comic!