Thrashing in the Body Electric

Neon Wasteland by Rob Shields

The first thing I have to tell you about Neon Wasteland is that I can’t show you what it is like, no jpeg or gif will do it justice. No, you will have to rely on my pitiful description. Mere words. Neon Wasteland is something you need to experience.

I’m not sure calling it a comic is strictly accurate, because it is a lot more. It is a virtual reality mobile experience, a video game and yes a comic. Neon Wasteland comes with an Augmented Reality app that transforms the comic pages. Point your phone at the page and it comes to life, with animated sections and character movement, even plot developments.

It’s bright, neon bright. It has big characters and a lot going on. It is a bit hyperactive like you have just eaten three packets of skittles but without the gastric consequences.

By the end of the Twentieth Century, half of the world’s population was possessed by a dull, blue electric light. Algorithms hummed in the ear of every man, woman and child, telling them they were special and loved…while the corporate machine bled them of their will like factory cattle.

There are two worlds in Neon Wasteland. In one, life is endless. Horribly, even hellishly so. Like Iain M Banks’ mind-blowing Surface Detail, virtual worlds hold the souls of the rich in eternity. The poor live in the real world where death is ever present – The Body Electric (I like to think more Sisters of Mercy than Walt Whitman although I’m not sure how familiar the author is with Leeds goths.)

Neon Wasteland will appeal to fans of The Matrix, Bladerunner, The Warriors and Tron. Enhanced humans battle with gloriously cliched gangs of mohawk-adorned punks in the neon drenched streets. Vehicles race through wasteland like a cyberpunk Wacky Races. Mad Max vehicles clash and thrash, like the body electric. I was even reminded a bit of the race cars in the film Cars, possibly because watching it 200 times with a four year old gave me PTSD.

Art-wise the book is full of lovingly drawn tech. Fantastic craft and beings which much have been a lot of fun to create. The colours are cornea-scorching neon blue, pink and green bringing to life a world where nature is the exception.

If you enjoy cutting edge comic technology and a fast moving story with a video-game aesthetic then check out Neon Wasteland. But most of all Neon Wasteland is creative and is an adventurous exploration of the limits of the comics medium and beyond.

Neon Wasteland is an independent creator owned 5 Volume/ 10 issue miniseries written, animated and programmed by Rob Shields.  Volume #1 is available for purchase at

Neon Wasteland the Game

Neon Wasteland is also an episodic video game.  You can play a limited alpha demo of Neon Wasteland now at the following link.

Neon Wasteland Episode one is currently in development and will be released for free during the Neon Wasteland Volume 2 Kickstarter in 2020.

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