“The Devastator” is the kind of quarterly humor magazine I had always thought of putting together back in college. My best friend and I did put out an issue of something that was a combination of his aspirations towards sytle and my aspirations towards wit. In a lot of ways, I see that tension, which can work really well, in the pages of this 56-page magazine. This is what people in search of stylish snark are really looking for and this mag pulls it off nicely.
In this issue, the theme is “Indie” and what that means. It will mean something different to each new generation. But, as R. Sikoryak and Michael Smith’s parody of “American Splendor” makes clear, whatever batch of 18 to 35-year-olds you belong to, you can be just as clueless as the one that came before.
I’m from the Gen X batch and, as is fully documented, we are a good-natured but uniquely alienated group, always demanding authenticity from others. Same darn thing can be said for the latest crop. In “Stat Attack!” by Lesley Tsina, a mock survey of college radio listeners reveals that the most compelling reason to tune in to college radio is to “fight the powers that be.” In Noah Van Sciver’s comic elegy to those who haunt indie bookstores, again, some things never change. That same baby soft cutie with her fingers crumpling up the ends of her sweater is still not going to give you the time of day. But the weirdo covered in aluminum foil will stick to you like glue. Such is the life of the young artist with a shit job.
How better to soothe the pain than to be a poseur? This activity is explored by Micki Grover and Matt Taylor in “Barry’s Time Machine,” where it’s not good enough to know all the names of obscure techno bands but you need to hop into a time machine and literally be the first to “discover” Nikola Tesla, right after his birth, and be the first to declare dinosaurs are cool. For an even closer look, we get a detailed analysis of the many, yet limited, facial expressions of the hipster. You can find that in “Ace of Face,” by Amanda Meadows, with art by Bryan Wolfson (see above).
And if you look way above, you see the cover art by Andy Ristaino, the lead designer on Pendleton Ward’s “Adventure Time,” seen on Cartoon Network. I feel it necessary to give that long description because what Andy Ristaino and Pendleton Ward, and all the other great talent that bring you the animated adventures of Jake, a magical talking dog, and Finn, the human boy, are saying something important. They’re talking about a whole new generation of chill people (no haters allowed) who are sensitive and enlightened souls. These are the grandchildren of John Lennon. And the brothers and sisters of Michael Cera. They’re flower people without the flowers, since flowers have feelings too.
I think that sentiment carries over significantly to something like “The Devastator.” It’s got a vibe like “National Lampoon” and “The Onion,” which is a good thing and makes sense, but it’s definitely cultivating its own unique laid back voice. It has tapped into the all the good stuff coming from the punk and zine scene from yesteryear and found itself quite relevant and much needed. Sweetness is cool and sweet, especially when sprinkled with just the right dash of sarcasm.
You can get your copy of “The Devastator #6” starting on October 16 for only $8. Save with a subscription by getting four quarterly issues for $30. Visit our friends at The Devastator.