Armageddonquest by Ronald Russell Roach
ARMAGEDDONQUEST squirms and thrashes in a crawlspace it dug out with its bare talons, partway between the early graphic novel and classic “outsider” art. It’s the comics version of the demon-haunted work of the young Daniel Johnston, raw, passionate, demented, electric.
Armageddonquest is a nearly 900-page b&w epic chronicling the life of the Anti-Christ from birth to Armageddon.
Illustrated over the course of 10 years by comix creator Ronald Russell Roach (or “3R”, as he’s often known), AQ saw its first few chapters published by Starhead Comix in 1993 before the whole story was spotted, snatched up, and published in three 300-page volumes by Sirius Comics between 1996-1998. Since then, Armageddonquest has faded into obscurity. But those who have read it are extremely passionate about what they have seen.
Armageddonquest combines the best of two worlds: the raw artistry of the underground comix movement and the thrilling narrative of the mainstream epic. 3R is a self-taught artist, and he had no plans for having the work professionally published when he began. Pages were drawn on whatever was handy, with whatever tools he had. Only in the second half of the 900-pages did he begin to draw in larger format using proper tools. As described by the creator, “AQ is what it is: shamanistic folk art”.
However there’s more to AQ than the home-brewed authenticity of its art. It was initially conceived as a novel, with characters 3R had to draw in order to conceive in full. As he drew, the art took over and soon the story had become a full-blown graphic saga the size of Jeff Smith’s BONE. Due to its novel-flavored origins, however, the story of Armageddonquest inhabits a richly detailed universe, ambitious in scope and filled to bursting with ideas, a complex cast, and divergent narratives rarely seen outside a trilogy of prose books.
A completely overlooked trilogy of graphic novels about the Antichrist. Drawn by Roach over a 20-year period on anything from typing paper to napkins to worse, from what I understand, it’s brilliant. Printed before its time; the right publisher could make a nice killing on its quirkiness. (While Googling, I found it’s now a webcomic. Still needs a reprinting, though)
–TOM SPURGEON, ComicsReporter.com
Armageddonquest tells the story of TAZIO, a small child destined to be the Anti-Christ. Tazio lives blissfully unaware of his demonaic destiny, sheltered within the walls of an ancient Italian villa, La Destinazione, and raised by the strangest guardian a boy could imagine – THE ULFAE, a being who shifts genders and ferocity with the phases of the moon. Add to this a religious zealot of a biological mother sworn to kill her only son (and she does kill him, constantly), a dwarf-sized best friend, a suspicious town Priest, and a family history shrouded in mystery, and this is not your grandpappy’s Anti-Christ story!
And this is just the beginning as mysteries abound – where did Tazio come from? Why is he in this villa? Is he really the Anti-Christ? Who are The Ulfae, really? And what will Tazio do when the Armageddon event begins?
I welcome those of you lucky enough to be discovering AQ for the first time. In 1993 there were just two issues available, covering about 160 pages of the story. The print runs were humble and the book was very hard to find. I was jealous of Starhead for publishing such an important new comic. Believe the hype. You have never, ever seen a comic like AQ.
—ROBB HORAN, publisher, SIRIUS
Armageddonquest is a title for Mature Readers, with violence, nudity, sexual situations, and strong language. It will appeal to fans of underground comix, HBO Original Shows, Vertigo Comics, adult fantasy, and supernatural horror.
The KickStarter Project
We’ll be raising funds for a new print edition of ARMAGEDDONQUEST: VOLUME ONE collecting the first third of the story. This will be a professionally designed limited edition softcover used to help gain reader and publisher awareness in the property.
Included in this limited edition will be two never-before-seen illustrated prose stories filling in moments between the original comic chapters, and also a short illustrated movie script starring one of the series’ main villains.
The new edition will be designed by none other than Ronnie Casson whose work can be seen on the gorgeous CAT-EYE BOY Volumes 1-2 from Viz Manga Group. Printing will be done by Malloy in Ann Arbor, Michigan.