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As much as people pine for better living and a brighter future, in fiction we’re continually drawn to a darker horizon with deadlier stakes, more violent endings and more corrupt influences. It’s that kind of thing that brought us movies like Blade Runner and Mad Max, comics like Judge Dredd and roleplaying games like Shadowrun. And now, there’s another dark future you’d fear in real life but delight in fictional form.
The Outrunners is a recently launched webcomic by writer Jonathan Gelatt and artist Andrew Krahnke that shows us a gas-drained future like Mad Max but set in the dark spires of a neolithic urban metropolis of Blade Runner, where the ultimate rebels are those that cling to the grimy, gas-fed, oil-fueled mechanics of old as a way to keep their independence. Mixing a futuristic dystopia with an old-school biker gang mentality, The Outrunners is an enterprising urban fable of youth rebellion focused on the titular biker gang going up against the persistent forces the Metropolitan Police and rival groups.
On the surface The Outrunners might be read as a re-tread of the movies, comics and stories already told, but where Gelatt and Krahnka excel is exploring this as a genre and adding nuance with characterization of these young runaways as cast-offs of a futuristic society that considers them waste. Heroes? far from it. They’re merely a group of friends trying to survive.
Here’s a sample of the first few pages; if you like this, The Outrunners are already into the mid-30s, and the second “issue” online.