We are teetering through tumultuous times at the moment — and I’m not just talking about the continued messy fallout from the recent Presidential election. No, we are also faced with the very real possibility of an apocalypse kicking off any day now.
Well, at least if the graphic novel LEGEND is to be believed.
Authored and illustrated by Samuel Sattin and Chris Koehler, the tome details a post-apocalyptic world that’s ruled by packs of dogs and armor-clad cats. (Us humans, naturally, are responsible for messing up the planet.)
With LEGEND having been granted a paperback release, I got some inside tips from the writer Samuel Sattin about how on earth we the people can go about surviving the apocalypse — with a little help from our canine friends.
Dogster: So let’s say I’m sitting at home with my dog, enjoying a quiet and cozy night in, and then the apocalypse kicks off outside. What should our first steps for survival be?
Samuel Sattin: The world in which LEGEND takes place is fraught with peril; after a bio-terror attack shook the world, many humans were transformed in, let’s say, unpleasant ways. Animals must come together and rebuild what humanity destroyed.
So considering all of that, you can laugh heartily at the fact that, unlike all those other end-of-the-world-doubting suckers, you’ve likely already prepared your survival supplies, including six months of canned food (for both you and your dog), potable water, medicine, a power source, and tons of comic books.
What’s the next step?
You’ll want to build sufficient barricades to secure your housing structure and remain quietly inside reading, plus taking occasional speed laps — with your dog, of course — around your domicile for exercise.
Once three months have passed and, presumably, the carnage has calmed — and assuming you haven’t been transformed into a flesh-craving mutant by an airborne pathogen — you can venture out.
And what would happen if a person were turned into one of those lovely-sounding flesh-craving mutants?
Oh, if you do find yourself turning into a flesh-craving mutant, it’s best to let your dog escape so he or she can find a pack of animals who can rebuild the world that your kind destroyed.
What other things should I consider when heading outside in the aftermath of an apocalypse?
If you do venture outside, know that you will rely on your dog for survival in ways you never would have expected. They will be able to smell out danger your nose can’t begin to sense. They will lead you toward sources of food. And, most importantly, they will always remain loyal, no matter the cost.
What are the essential supplies we’ll need to survive through an apocalypse?
I hate to break it to you, but in an apocalypse you’re going to need a lot more supplies than your trusty companion will. All your dog will require is food, water, and perhaps a non-freezing place to sleep.
You, on the other hand, are in far bigger trouble.
It’s important to find a water source — preferably in advance — and one that hasn’t been contaminated by sewage or bio-terror agents. You’ll need food stores as well, canned goods especially. If you’re in a place where (non-mutated) wildlife is nearby, you’ll want to use that to your advantage. You’ll have to learn how to kill, skin, and cook other animals. Your dog can eat raw meat, but your digestive system isn’t so lucky.
Tasty. So tell me more about how a dog can help find food during an apocalypse?
Well, if a dog can be counted on for one thing in the apocalypse, it’s finding ways to eat. Dogs are remarkable trackers and can lead you to sources of uncontaminated protein.
Your furry friend can have up 300 freaking million olfactory receptors in his or her nose, compared to a measly six million in a human’s. A dog’s brain is wired for smell, and the part of it that does so works about 40 times better than our own.
What new tricks will old dogs need to learn to survive the apocalypse, without you if it comes to that?
Firstly, your dog will have to relearn the importance of belonging to a pack. Lone wolves are dangerous. Lone dogs are in danger. With others by your side, you gain spirit and heart. Your fight for survival seems worth fighting.
Secondly, your dog will have to learn to identify the difference between human beings and, er, mutant beasts that look like humans at first, but then turn out to be red-eyed, sharp-toothed ghouls. It’s best to have a cat around somewhere, to aid with the vetting process — but only if required.
Thirdly, parliamentary democracy. Okay, well, maybe not parliamentary democracy exactly, but your dog will have to develop a way of understanding his or her place in the pack order, so that big decisions can be made without resulting into panic and chaos.
Curveball: Is there any way dog poop can be — ahem — repurposed into a useful resource during the apocalypse?
But of course! Poop is a valuable post-apocalyptic asset. Think of the fertilization of crops (and in the case of LEGEND, strange, biologically peculiar plants). Also, you can likely throw some of it at people you don’t like, as I’m sure there’ll still be some of those around.
Will any specific dog breeds be more useful than others during the apocalypse?
The co-creator of LEGEND, Chris Koehler, likes to say that small dogs couldn’t survive the apocalypse. But I happen to disagree. A smart, small dog can act as a miniaturized Napoleon, maneuvering others to do their bidding via strategy and subterfuge. I can imagine a situation in which a Jack Russell Terrier could become a tyrant, governing his pack with an iron paw. Can’t you?
Possibly. What about hunting dogs? Will they have an advantage?
Yes, they would be very useful during the apocalypse. Big, quick, strong, and well equipped for danger, they’d fare well against larger threats. And while vigilance is important, it can lead to disaster if not tempered by calm. Sometimes it’s better to be quiet and watchful; sometimes it’s better to be afraid.
You mentioned cats earlier. How should my dog and I react if we come across a post-apocalyptic kitty?
With immense caution! Cats can be a source of knowledge and resources in a post-apocalyptic world — but one must make sure the cat in question has honorable intentions. Cats are brilliant, independent creatures, but loyalty is not among their strong suits. And if you see a cat wearing armor, you can approach, but make sure to announce yourself beforehand so as to not find yourself impaled on a sharp stick or spear.
LEGEND is published by Z2 Comics. You can check out the latest trailer for the book below.