Back at WonderCon 2012 my friend Missy and I were walking around the Artist’s Alley and we stumbled upon a booth that had this comic with a wickedly illustrated cover. It had an awesome futuristic Tron cyber punk vibe that I totally dug. The man at the booth, artist Lee Wiley, started to chat with us and he told us more about this comic he illustrated called Expiration Date.
The more he told me about the story, written by Robert Zappia, the more I knew I had to check it out. Dystopian future, political conspiracy, assassination, and a hero with a haunted past? Yes, please! Lee was awesome enough to give me a copy to review for the site, and ever since I read that first issue I have been hooked (read our review for Expiration Date #1).
Here we are at 2016 and now the final issue of Expiration Date is going to be released in October. On top of that Wiley and Zappia are running a Kickstarter to fund Expiration Date: The Complete Edition which will over 200 pages of the entire freaking saga! Ahh! (Click here for the Kickstarter page.)
“Why do I need to check this out,” you ask? “Why should I throw my money at them,” you ask?
Well, let me tell you. Expiration Date takes place in a dystopian future where overpopulation is controlled by the SY9 capsule. It is implanted in the heart of every person and will randomly go off killing the host in their sleep, or, “expiring” them. One day a presidential candidate gains a lot of popularity on the platform that he wants to discontinue the SY9 system of population control.
Then one night the candidate’s capsule “randomly” goes off. Boom, dead. The coroner examining the body finds the candidate’s capsule and notices something fishy about the capsule…
Yes, you guessed it. Boom, dead. Here is where we meet the reluctant hero Dack Cutter who is sucked into investigating this conspiracy and is haunted by a dark past. This is what starts the epic tale of Expiration Date.
The storytelling in these graphic novels is cinematic, to say the least. Zappia has composed a compelling story that immediately hooks in the reader. The interactions between the characters and their dialogue always felt so natural, yet revealing as to who they were. This combined with how over time we learn about Dack and his past and how the story was paced has made it such a suspenseful thrill to read over the years. I always loved how it dealt with the idea of an “expiration date” and a world in which it would exist while never sacrificing the integrity of the concept with lazy storytelling. There is a lot of science fiction out there that will have an amazing concept, but then will compromise or abandon that very concept for the sake of an “easy out.” Expiration Date has never done this which is why I have always adored this series. Also, it has some pretty wicked action sequences!
The art in this series is so killer. Wiley’s style perfectly conveys this dystopian future in a way that harkens favorites like Tron and Blade Runner while also being unique and completely its own entity. The art portrays the story in a cinematic fashion, so that you feel like you’re practically watching a movie. I also love the use of color in this. For instance the majority of the time the story is set to a glowing metallic blue (so pretty), but then the colors will start to change when there is danger or action afoot. It’s a great way to get the reader excited that something exciting is about to happen! It’s such a clever and creative way to get sucked into this world. Also, it’s just downright aesthetically pleasing and who can complain about that? And the art perfectly displays those action sequences! Have I mentioned the actions sequences? To be perfectly blunt, it looks really freaking cool.
Ever since 2012 when I read the first issue of Expiration Date waiting for the next chapter was worse than waiting for the next season of Game of flipping Thrones. Every time I’d see Lee with a new issue at a convention I’d be like, “OMG FINALLY, GEEZ. Oh, hi, by the way. GIMME.” It has been such a pleasure to follow this story over the years and I couldn’t be more thrilled that they are creating a beautiful book of the entire saga.
So, let’s mention some of the goodies you’ll get when you support Expiration Date.
Beautiful prints by different artists inspired by Expiration Date:
Custom cardboard art! Yes, you tell them what to draw and they’ll do it. Here are some excellent examples:
Now this one is my favorite. 3-D printed objects from the series! How cool is that?
For the record Lee and Robert are also the nicest people. Seriously, I always love getting to chat and catch up with them when I see them at a convention.
Make sure to go to the Expiration Date Kickstarter Page to support this great graphic novel. You only have until September 9th, so hurry! Throw money! Make it rain!