Wednesday, June 17, 2020

New Beginning, Part 3

I am one of those people who tend to gain a respect for things if I have to spend a lot of time with them. I guess it's kind of a form of Stockholm Syndrome. It happened with The Born Loser and it's happened with New Beginning. For years, I've been detailing my awe at this little independent comic book that I got in a $1 grab bag of crappy comic books. I first wrote about issue #1 back in 2010 and then issues #2 and #3 back in 2016. I am happy to announce that the fourth and final issue has come into my possession. Thanks, 4mjolnir from eBay for having an additional set of New Beginning comics after someone outbid me just minutes before the auction ended (there's someone else who wants this crap?). Sadly, I now have 2 copies of issues #2 and #3 and 3 copies of #1. Anyway, let's get into it. The death-defying fourth issue of New Beginning!
Seriously. What am I supposed to do with these?

A quick recap: While hosting his high school reunion, Terry saves most of his high school chums from a nuclear holocaust when the Russians initiate World War III. After emerging from their safe house, they begin driving across the countryside to see if anyone is still alive. They run into a few decent people and members of a strange cult who want them to join and if they don't, they will be sacrificed. Terry and his crew are then reunited with Terry's estranged brother, Gerry. We left off with Terry and Gerry in the middle of a battle between the cult and the normies.

We resume our story with Terry, Gerry, Sue, Debbie, and the rest fighting with the cultists. Terry is unfortunately knocked unconscious which means everybody has to save themselves without any help from the star of the series. They are able to put some distance between themselves and the cultists so Bruce, Debbie, Sue, and Margaret go one way to try to get to the truck so they can escape. Unfortunately, again, they find the truck with tires slashed and on fire. Seeing the blaze, three other guys show up, Captain Dave and two guys whose names I don't think we learn. Maybe Gary and Paul? Turns out there is a foot bridge and Captain Dave has a couple vehicles on the other side. But the two teams are separated by the cultists so they don't have a way to let Gerry and his team know about the bridge or vehicles.

Terry thought of everything...except making
his truck fireproof.
Shut the hell up, Human
Dave figures he can outrun the cultists and make it to where Gerry and the rest are camped. It goes about as well as you would expect. Dave is speared in the back and is unable to run. Jim shows up and rescues him and thanks to Jim's arrival, the gang is able to reunite. Five minutes later, they begin their move to the bridge. A couple nameless grunts are killed but without them, everyone is unsure if they would be able to cross the bridge because the cultist are still hot on their trail. Gerry offers himself and his team as cover so everyone else can cross, then he'll cut the ropes and everyone will be home free. As Howard, Debbie, Margaret, Sue, Bruce, Dave, and Tank, carrying Terry, make their way across the bridge, Gerry, Jim, and two other mooks--maybe Gary and Paul?--Gerry made stay behind, take on the cultists. The two mooks decide that they aren't heroes and turn to make their way across the bridge against Gerry's orders. Both are slaughtered by cultists.

The others make it across the bridge and Tank returns to cover Gerry and Jim as they cross the bridge. Tank is out of ammo and the three of them fight as best they can but the cultists are on their heels. "It is a good day to die, Colonel," Tank says. Gerry agrees and cuts the rope to the bridge. Jim is able to hold onto the bridge and is rescued but there's no sign of Gerry or Tank in the waters below. The remaining survivors of the Class of 1978 are safe and sound but Terry is still unconscious and Debbie(?) wonders what's going on in that head of his?

Terry, put your shoes on. We're home.
And there were have it. The story concludes on a close-up of Terry's unconscious face. On the plus side, we get to speculate what issue #5 entails. I imagine that all of this is a dream. Terry never went into the Army, never lost weight, never inherited $11 million, never hosted his high school reunion at his $8 million mansion. There was no World War III, no nuclear holocaust, no cult. But that's probably not what the real Terry had in mind. According to the inside front cover, where Terry discusses the work being done on the book, they've started work #5 and changing how they produce the book so it comes out more regularly. It was pretty sporadic: #1, September 1988, #2, 1989, #3, 1990, #4, 1992. I think it would be interesting to know how the series was going to continue. As far as I know, this is the last issue but if not, please let me know.

This issue also features a lyric contest where if you correctly guess all the lyrics that Jim sings, then you could win $100. There are also pin-ups drawn by readers of the comic book. New Beginning was published by Unicorn Comics. Unicorn Comics is a real comic book store located at 216 South Villa Avenue in Villa Park, Illinois. If you are ever in the area, stop in and say hello.

If you would like to support my writing or research, much of which will be moved to my Twitter after this post, you can buy me a cup of coffee over on Ko-fi.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

I have decided not to post part one of Kolak Unlimited. While I am not opposed to posting things that were scheduled during these heavy and trying times, I felt it wasn't appropriate to post a story where the main character is essentially a cop. Kolak Unlimited will post in a couple weeks when I get back from a short break. I will be back on June 17.

If you would like to support my writing or research, you can buy me a cup of coffee over on Ko-fi. If you would like to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement there are numerous charities that you can donate to:
There are hundreds of other charities out there as well. Follow relevant people on social media who lift up Black voices and if you go out to support the protesters on the ground, stay safe.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images