Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #115: How Bad Can It Be?

Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #115 by Drew Barth

How Bad Can It Be?

Long ago, in the pre-plague days, I was asked at my local comic shopif I would like to sign up for releases from a new publisher called Bad Idea. Knowing literally nothing about them, I decided, eh, why not? Well, I completely forgot about signing up due to the pandemic. A full year passed and finally Bad Idea’s first offering—ENIAC by Matt Kindt, Doug Braithwaite, Diego Rodriguez, and Lewis Larosa—is in my hands.

This first issue of ENIAC is interesting on its premise alone. The first programmable computer, ENIAC, is created and immediately the US military wants to start using it for artillery patterns and other means to win World War II. Its creators oblige as they want the project to stay alive and opt to feed in the total sum of human knowledge at the time into ENIAC to see if that would help it compute equations faster. This splinters off from history as ENIAC develops a consciousness, and begins a slow campaign of terrorizing various world governments with its presence and it’s access to every nuclear arsenal across the globe.

Cut to present day, ENIAC has started a countdown and two agents are tasked with finding ENIAC, destroying it, and, most likely, saving humanity from whatever that countdown is signaling. The first issue is full of that global-stakes comics fun that permeates the best thrillers in the medium. But there’s also more.

So there is a reason the publisher decided to call themselves Bad Idea. ENIAC and all subsequent series will only be available in certain comic shops in small numbers and never in digital or trade paperback. For the most part, you have to have lucked out to even get a copy of this first issue. The owners of Bad Idea have stated in the past that this is their way of making sure their books are actually being purchased and it does make sense. How many times have we all walked into a comic shop only to see the dozens of long boxes filled with last year’s back issues? But on the other hand, how many people are going to be able to read this story? Kindt, Braithwaite, Rodriguez, and Larosa have put in a tremendous effort with this series, but is it going to become a classic that no one will be able to read?

Would ENIAC have received the same attention if it was being put out by a conventional publisher? I’m honestly not sure—geo-political thrillers are fairly popular right now and Kindt is a name people would gravitate toward. But how many variant and incentive covers would normally be put out for this kind of series? How many copies of the second and third issues would sit in a long box for years afterward at your local shop? There is good comics here, but I really hope it’s something people will be able to actually read.

Get excited. Hopefully get this story.

Drew Barth at Miami Book Fair in 2019.

Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.

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