Memetic, From Boom Studios, is an intriguing three-part story that ponders what could happen if a single meme “infected” everyone on Earth.
By now the concept of memes, and the theory of Memetics, has already pervaded out society. Ironically so, in light of what memes are. The notion that ideas themselves have a sort of “life” that persists due to the spread of information isn’t too difficult to comprehend in a world where viral videos are seen by millions of people within minutes.
Memetic plays with this concept by telling a horror story that involves the destruction–or is it ascension?–of the human race. The bulk of the tale deals with a few characters who are trying to understand why the world is going to hell around them so quickly. It is because of the photon-fast speed at which information travels nowadays that the sense of impending doom is kept frantic and suffocating throughout the story.
I loved Memetic from the first page through the last. It’s a unique story that captures the fear and sadness of inevitability, and then ratchets up the creativity in the end with a final panel that lingers long after putting the book down. There is something very Lovecraftian about the story that only becomes apparent right at the end, and I think it doesn’t matter if it was subconscious or not, because it really brings a gravity to the tale.
Memetic makes you think long and hard about the information age. While the premise of Memetic is almost certainly impossible, it isn’t completely without merit. It’s not hard to imagine someone sending a virus onto the web that, when opened, is nothing more than a series of intense flashing lights. Something like that could harm people with epilepsy, and light sensitivity, so maybe it’s not too long a leap of logic to imagine an image, a sound, or a meme, that could physically effect a large number of people.
Great, now I’ve gone and scared myself… thanks, Memetic, for making face-palming Picard, and skeptical African kids just a little more menacing!