In Crisis Zone by Simon Hanselmann, returning characters Megg, Mogg, Owl, Werewolf Jones, and the rest of the familiar Megahex cast are back… but as you’ve never seen them before: being subjected to 2020, just like the rest of us.
Beginning on March 13th, 2020, as the United States was unwillingly plunged into quarantine, Hanselmann took to Instagram and began posting 10 panels of Crisis Zone per day.
In the beginning, Megg is enraptured with Animal Crossing and Mogg can’t stop getting his news from YouTube. But as the year wore on (and Simon continued to deliver 10 panels nearly every single day, a monumental feat), the ongoing insanity of current events continued to have consequences for the characters… and, trapped in quarantine like the rest of us, the characters continued to find themselves forced to confront themselves in ways that they never expected: multiple characters come out as trans over the course of the narrative.
At times, Crisis Zone is laugh-out-loud funny, featuring some of the best visual gags Hanselmann has yet to deliver (no small feat, as readers who are familiar with his comics can attest). But, like all of Hanselmann’s work, Crisis Zone is also filled with tragedy: zero punches are pulled in this comic.
However, through the highs and lows, Crisis Zone is always, devastatingly engaging, and in a year when the world outside your window might literally be in flames, a little bit of distraction could be just what you’re looking for.
Last week, Crisis Zone was included among The Beat’s Best Comics of 2020, and yesterday, December 22nd, 2020, Hanselmann posted the final page of the nine-month-long narrative to Instagram.
But while Hanselmann may have posted the final page of Crisis Zone, the story isn’t quite over yet. Looking forward to August 2021, Fantagraphics will be publishing the Crisis Zone collection, which will include plenty of yet-to-be-released material: each page of the comic is 12 panels, but only 10 can be posted on Instagram at a time, so over 550 panels remain to be seen.
Beyond that, the Fantagraphics collection is sure to garner even more attention for Crisis Zone – you can look forward to seeing it all over the “Best Comics of 2021” lists next year.
But for the next week, you still have a chance to say that you spent some of 2020 with Werewolf Jones. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and in spite of yourself, you may just gain some perspective on this absolute shit show of a year. What are you waiting for?