Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 | 71 Comments

The Survivalist

Box Brown is no stranger to exploring diverse, and sometimes bizarre extreme sub-cultures. His new graphic novel The Survivalist follows an angst-ridden political outsider as he survives surviving.

While Box Brown‘s ongoing print and web comics series Everything Dies has run the gamut of examining varied religious beliefs and traditions, The Survivalist tells its story in the head-space of a conspiracy theory obsessed bunker-dweller.

As the story progresses, the initially unsympathetic character becomes increasingly human through his relationship with a fellow disaster survivor.

Fans of Everything Dies will love the longer, more involved story and beautifully detailed artwork.

» Purchase a copy of The Survivalist

The Survivalist by Box Brown

Q. While the heart of the story in The Survivalist is essentially a personal journey for the main character, the context is made up of a lot of fringe political views and conspiracy theories. What inspired you to use these as a starting point for the story?

Box Brown When I was working on Everything Dies I was researching a lot of religious fundamentalists and really a lot of extremists in my opinion.

I’m fascinated by people who see the world in a way so contrary my own reality. So, I got into listening to these conspiracy talk radio shows. The host is a charismatic cult figure-head type but what stood out to me were the commercials.

The commercials were for all kinds of survival equipment. It was all stuff that would help you survive a crazy apocalypse. That got me really thinking about who the audience for the show really is. That listener is the central character in the Survivalist.

The Survivalist by Box Brown


Q.The Survivalist is your first longer form, larger format comic. How was the experience of working on it compared to your earlier works Bellen! and the Everything Dies series?

Box Brown I had done longer stories in the print editions of Everything Dies but none as long as The Survivalist.

The Survivalist was drawn at twice the size of all my other comics and I drew each page on two separate sheets of bristol and assembled them in photoshop. So, it was drawn on 88 separate sheets of paper. In terms of story, it reminded me a lot of working on Bellen! because of the nature of the relationship of the two main characters.

The Survivalist by Box Brown


Q.Can you tell us a bit about working with Blank Slate Books who published The Survivalist? Your earlier works are self-published, and you run your own publishing venture Retrofit Comics. Was there any kind of editorial or design collaboration involved in making The Survivalist

Box Brown I really enjoyed working with Blank Slate. They never forced any editorial changes on me but they made some suggestions along the way.

I did a few different covers before Kenny Penman finally sent me an email just kind of giving me his basic thoughts and understanding on what he thought a comic cover should be. I thought it was really insightful. The cover we ended up using is based on vintage patent application illustrations.

The Survivalist by Box Brown


Q.Any plans to continue The Survivalist as a series? The end of the story feels very much like a teaser for things to come.

Box Brown I have some ideas on where the story is going. It could continue at any time! I wouldn’t mind returning to it.

Q.What items would you pack in your own survivalist kit?

Box Brown I’ve thought about buying the food packs that are supposed to last a long time just to try them out. I bet they’d make good snacks on the go.

The Survivalist by Box Brown

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