It’s a fallen world, and the evidence is all around us, so maybe escaping it isn’t such a crazy idea, amirite? None of us has any real idea what’s waiting for us on the so-called “other side,” though, so until somebody manages to make it back with some concrete, documented evidence, though, I think the most morally sound position to take is that anyone wishing to shuffle off from this mortal coil should be free to do so, but anyone who takes it upon themselves to punch someone else’s ticket for them is operating well outside the bounds of what most of us would consider, in a pinch, to be acceptable — and that’s what makes Benson’s latest comic such a challenge. His characters who meet a physical end are violently dispatched in most cases, either on purpose or due to grim accident (think mistaken identity), while another is just plain suckered into getting killed, and for the ones who are “merely” ushered into some new consciousness/reality, the process really isn’t much more pleasant on the whole. So we’re not talking, by and large, about folks who ever had much choice in the matter here. That being said —
I mean, these strips were written and drawn in 2020 and early 2021, and you don’t need me to remind you that things have felt fairly apocalyptic for most of that period. Being ensconced in the heartland, rather than along the coasts like many of his contemporaries toiling in this beleaguered medium, also means Benson has been subjected to a different attitude toward the pandemic than they have, one heavily tinged with the irrational, the unscientific, the conspiratorial — and all of that makes its presence felt in this ‘zine, as well. There’s a palpable aura of doom hanging over pretty much everything on offer here, it’s true, but what makes it sting all the more is that it’s a highly personal doom, not a societal one, and as such the consequences aren’t parceled out over entire populations. As a reader, then, you’re left with no choice but to absorb the impact as a series of successive, distinct body blows.