Reader Responses
to ARMAGEDDONQUEST


I get a smattering of fan mail for AQ, which is always appreciated, and every once in a while I get a message from someone who has responded to my "comic book story" in a way that really means a lot to me, touches me as much as AQ has apparently touched them.



here is one of the most significant, as it turns out:

Date: 7 September 2008

Hey, Ron, thought you'd like to take a peek at this: I blogged about AQ and raved about its qualities, go here to check it out: http://worstwriterintheworld.blogspot.com/2008/09/armageddonquest-and-ronald-russel-roach.html

I read AQ back when it was first released by Sirius, and then recently gave it as a gift to girlfriend and friends and am trying, in earnest, to spread the love. AQ is one of THE greatest comic epics ever completed, without doubt. Anyway, it's one of those hanged-the-way-I-looked-at-and-thought-about-comics kind of books, and wanted to let you know that. Take care, guy!

--Dave Baxter


Thanks for the spot on your blog, Dave, those were very flattering comparisons you came up with: Moore, Miller, etc. Although I do have to disagree about you being the "worst-writer-in-the-world"-- after all, you spelled everything right-- and composed a succinctly compelling plug for AQ, which is cool by me. Ron

Well, since that first contact Dave and I have continued a corresponence which resulted in his producing an AQ web-comix site for a while, as well as attempting to reprint the entire story as 20 real-live paper comic books. That's all hanging in the air just now, but we'll see how it goes.



In a Christmas card sent to Sirius.

Dear R.R.Roach,

First, let me say this: in all my years as a connoiseur of the "comic" genre, I have never, ever written or contacted the authors and artists to communicate my pleasure or appreciation in any way. I got as far as thinking about it, years ago, with Richard and Wendy Pini, but I did not. By the way, I did just write to them, in order to sing your praise.

You deserve praise. When I saw advertisements for your 3 volumes, I figured "well, I'll see what No 1 is like, if I don't care for it, I'll sell it back." Forget that now! I was lucky enough to get the last 2 volumes together--my husband couldn't even talk to me for the next 3 days! I am embarrassed to admit it, but ARMAGEDDONQUEST has become an obsession for me. Everything I do and think after having read your Magnum Opus is just...anticlimax. And you're right if you think "she should get a life." Well, I would if I didn't live in this artistic and literary, as well as literal desert. At any rate, I'm HOOKED.

Please, PLEASE continue the story! Seek out the New Jerusalem, play the next Game, Do The Work!

Thank you--Tina Hopkins

Well, Thank You, Tina, for such an enthusiastic and flattering letter. You know, I would have written back to you after such encouragement and praise, but the only return address you gave me was "Yucca Valley, California". Ron



from Sirius' Armageddonquest Bulletin Board

Posted by Jeremy Pinkham, August 17, 1997

I'm very glad to see that Armaggeddonquest has finally found a home. I was working at Fantagraphics in Seattle when the first issue was published by Michael Dowers under his Seattle-based Starhead Comix imprint; one day when he was visiting Fantagraphics, I expressed my interest in writing a review.

Dowers was enthusiastic and granted me the favor of loaning me photocopies of the entire story, which I read over a day or two of solid study. I was blown away -- excellent, subtle story about good and evil in all of us. Well, things didn't turn out with the review; I wrote it (and will post it here as soon as I can dig it out of my files), but Gary Groth wouldn't publish it in the COMICS JOURNAL because he couldn't believe I was taking the comic seriously (apparently he disliked the art and couldn't get into the story at all... my reactions were, of course, the opposite).

Soon after, Dowers stopped publishing AQ, and I thought it might be the last I'd see of this work (although I considered writing Roach and paying him for the right to xerox myself a copy from Dowers's set).

Just now (a few years later), I tried doing a web search on AQ on a sudden hunch, and here we are: armageddonquest.com! Very impressive.

Thanks for listening, and most of all for publishing this excellent work.

Jeremy Pinkham
jpinkham@blarg.net

Thanks for the kind words, Jeremy, and say hi to Michael for me next time you see him prowling around Fantagraphics. Ron


From: SIRIUS to Ron: We just received this letter, thought you might like to see it...mark@sirius

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998:

Greetings! My good friend and co-worker Alex Smits handed me a book titled "Armageddonquest" a while back. I perused the first few pages, and found what I read intriguing in a way that I couldn't quite put my finger on. But I had work to do, so I let it sit on my desk for a few weeks, untouched.

Well, I picked it up again last weekend. Now, coming out the other side of this 800+ page omnibus, I can frankly say that Tazio's quest was one of the most wonderful graphic art experiences of my life. Early on in my reading I had a conversation whereby I compared Armageddonquest to Frank Miller's classic The Dark Knight Returns, simply because until AQ, no other graphic novel had so moved me as The Dark Knight. But as I have come to understand the archetypical level at which the story has been told, and as I have come through to the end of this immense tale, comparisons with other works no longer seem relevant. It is, quite simply, one of the finest pieces of art I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Thank you for publishing this work, thank you for finding it and seeing its value, and thank you for putting it in my hands. Alex is currently looking after getting me a complete AQ set of my own, as I must read it again. And I think that when I reach the end of that second reading, I may well want to try for a third. We'll see.

Alex mentioned to me that I should share my enthusiasm for this piece with you, and thus this email. I hope it finds you well. My thanks again, and fair hunting.

Jason VandenBerghe

I am certainly flattered that you consider AQ in the company of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns, because it was also an eye-opener for me and an inspirational rennaissance of comix storytelling. Ron


Part of a letter from Matt Stallcup, son of old friends, practically family, who has read AQ all through the 10-year process of being written.

Tue, 24 Feb 1998

Ron!-

I'm so glad finally to be in touch with you...My primary aim in writing you is to express my enduring fandom and deep appreciation for your collected works. I have fond childhood memories involving you -- you singing The Wreck of the Starship Enterprise, a candid discussion of sex on the front stoop of our Pasadena house, seeing Excalibur with you, your Sasquatch stories, your Fairy tales... But mainly there were the works set in your Revelations universe. Slammer Comix, Guard Comix, The Prison and the Planet, and ArmageddonQuest were favorites of mine all through my childhood in Topanga; I can't even guess how many times I reread them during my late childhood and early teens, let alone in the sincetime.

I remember too when the first Tazio book arrived in the mail, on the summer solstice of whichever year that was -- 1983 maybe? Ken showed it to me and I scurried off to the living room and read it three or four times that day. By the time books four and five arrived, AQ was a very important source of symbolism for me; it affected me the way that great literature does.

Throughout my awakening to adult levels of intelligence, it was one of my touchstones for understanding and interpreting things -- a reservoir of archetypes, symbolic associations, and nourishment to the imagination. AQ and its tie-in works have always been as alive and atingle in my psyche as Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," the Pini siblings' "ElfQuest," Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger," Miyazaki's anime movie "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds," and other such works of rare sensitivity and genius. Thus, I wish to acknowledge you as a valued contributor to the substance of my life, and let you know I love you for it...

Be well!
-Matt


Well, Matt, since you've been along for the whole ride, I figured you should also be in on the home page hype. Thanks for this letter. Ron



Here's an e-mail I'm kind of proud of, from Mark Bellis at Sirius Entertainment, publishers of AQ and other wonders of classical literature. This is in response to his reading some of the AQ Stories found on this very web site.

Hello Ron,

I felt compelled to write you a quick note, so here goes. Robb had printed out the three prose stories from your website and I just finished reading Wandering Superhero Hitchhiker and Disciples. The Enlightenment of Immanuel is next.

Although I enjoyed WSH for what it is--a thrilling account of a man in over his head and the demigod who aids him, Disciples is the one that really got to me. Let me put it this way: it made me think about all the same things I thought about while reading AQ for the first time. Furthermore, as a prose story, Disciples works much better than AQ would (the strengths of both comix vs. prose being displayed--and exploited--quite well by these two very different pieces of literature).

The first five chapters ease the reader into another world--another world that's alien and magical to those of us who've never left the American continent, yet we take it for granted that it exists. Further, knowing Katmandu is real doesn't diminish its exotic power. Between that and the foreshadowing story as told by Pat the Canadian, you have created the perfect foundation upon which to introduce the reader to Tazio--a creature that, in any other locale, would seem fantastic.

Amazingly enough, you've managed to create YET ANOTHER facet of Tazio's character as seen from the eyes of the Everyman (who just happens to sport your middle name. Coincidence? I doubt it.)--to illuminate a being whom I now believe might be quite real, walking the earth at this very moment. Disciples is a beautifully subtle piece of work. I am particularly fond of the earlier chapters which display the day-to-day lives of the Road Bums (of which I assume you have first-hand experience), and the way in which that way of life connects with Tazio and brings about a resolution for Dominique--a Road Bum gone accidentally over the edge.

It all culminates in a climax of wide-open opportunities and expanded minds for our hero and his "damsel in distress", only to end with the despair of separation from the power that gave it to them. The sadness of the story's final few paragraphs is two-fold: first, that Russell (wrongly) believes he is somehow less of a man because he did not have the "strength" (of devotion, of faith, whatever) to follow, and second, that he could not make Dominique see that Tazio had given her the gift of life not to blindly follow her "creator", but to live... to live with a newfound understanding of what she was and what she can now be.

As a regular reader of the New Yorker (as well as anything else I can get my hands on), I can honestly say Disciples is one of the best stories I've read in months. The only downside is that I now want to READ MORE. Any chance of that being possible anytime soon?

mark@sirius

Thanks for all the praise, Mark, especially since you're one of my publishers and therefore tend to be professionally critical about what gets submitted to you. It's also very nice to get some useable analysis and feedback on the prose instead of just the comic book. Ron


I live in Copenhagen, so they know me at Fantask, the major international comix shop in town. I go there regularly to see what's happening in the comix industry. Lately I was handed this note from an enthusiastic customer.

Hej R.R.R.

1000 tak for at du har lavet Armageddonquest. En fantastisk tegneserie. Jeg ville høre om du har udgivet andre historier end lige den? Umiddelbart er de umulige at finde, men jeg ville elske at læse mere af dig. Well, skriv hvis du har lyst og held og lykke med alt.

Venlig hilsen, Lars Gregersen

Hej Lars: Jeg har fet dit brev fra Morten i Fantask idag, hvori du takker mig for AQ. S nu er det mig der takker for din begejstring. Det er altid dejligt at f lidt "feedback". Venlig hilsen, 3R


Just when I think AQ is old news and pretty much forgotten, I get an e-mail like this one.

Hey there 3R,

Many times on radio station talk shows, callers will identify themselves f as a "Long time, First time", obviously meaning a long time listener, but a first time caller. If that can be applied to comics, then consider me a Long Time reader, First Time e-mailer.

I first received and read AQ about a year or so after Sirius published the books. In fact, I think the first real AQ story I read was the short one published in Cry For Dawn (I have no idea which issue). So now, I'm 23, been a year out of art school, trying to do my best in the illustration and comics world, and only now do I write you to tell you how much I love AQ. I think what sparked this letter is that I just got through reading all 3 books again, this time in one sitting at my day job (Gallery Monitor). It pretty much worked out to a book a day. The book affects people, and affected me. I was driving home and listening on NPR about more Israeli/Palestinian conflict and could help wondering facetiously if Anton was behind any of it. You've made the books so believable by including elements from all sorts of religion, histories and New Age thought, that I wonder how much of it YOU believe. Sure, the people may be fictionalized, but the themes, the idea that life is just one big game played by cosmic brats - it's certainly not out of the question!

Perhaps the theme of the entire story is that it's not right for anyone to play God - even God! This is certainly Tazio's belief, and yet he learns, too that some people must be 'guided' and that only a select few individuals do not grow out of their sheep-like tendencies. Although humans posess something that may be construed as intelligence, the leader/follower relationship is completely natural in all social creatures and thus is not necessarily a bad thing. I think Tazio comes to accept this as Immanuel seems to have long ago.

On a complete gushing fan level, I wanted to know if there are any other comics you've done that could in some way relate to the world of AQ, and where I could possibly get them. I seem to remember seeing an Adam and Eve-ish story that you did at some point, although maybe I'm making that up. I don't know if you ever make it to shows or anything in the U.S., but I've begun a sketchbook in which fellow artists or artists that I admire have done drawings for me and I would love to see a 3R in there some day, or see any of your original art for that matter.

I have done a drawing of some of the AQ characters I'd love to send you, but I didn't want to clog up your email inbox with an attachment unless it was okay. I'm sure your vision has blurred, so I'll conclude this letter with a big thank you and a healthy admiration for AQ and your work.

-Zack Giallongo

And years later, this one:

Date: 4 April 2008

3R,

Hi there and greetings from Los Angeles, California! I just discovered your website after not having thought about the Armageddon Quest trilogy in a good long while, so I had to send you my support.

I first read Mother Instinct in the Best of Crypt of Dawn TPB back in my early teens and I just loved it. The way you write struck a chord in me, I guess? You seem to write such simple, yet poignant dialogue with ease and I really respect that. I cant write convincing dialogue very well at all (maybe Im trying too hard? ha ha).

Anyway, well I just wanted to say thank you for creating such wonderful stories that I could get lost in during the hard times of my early youth. Your comics are some of the little things that I think helped form the person I am today.

Now that Im a bit older, am doing a bit of traveling of my own, and am getting into all sorts of misadventures with my own little hippie family (we can have civil conversations about religion and politics while sometimes having diametrically opposed views? AMAZING), I can reread these stories with the same fondness, but a different perspective than Id had previously.

Wishing you all the best,
Jamie Martin

P.S. Man, its going to take me awhile, but I think Im slowly getting through the miniature library of content Ive never seen on your website. You should add a new page for Fan Art! Ill keep in touch and link you to my DeviantArt page once I get my AQ fan art stuff up. Maybe I can convince you to get a page on there too *strokes chin*? They have free membership and alot of comic artists from various genres have jumped the bandwagon so to speak.

and recently:

Date: 2 June 2008

Greetings sir,

I am a sailor in the US Navy. Your site has provided me with lots of great entertainment. I had first read one of your stories in the pages of the now defunct Crypt of Dawn anthology series from Sirius. I than went out and found your 3 Armageddonquest graphic novels. well, I've recently reread them all a month ago. Genius. pure storytelling with even more pure art.

I admire your style. I'm not going to lie and say you're the best ever, but your style of b/w drawing style is simple to follow and well detailed. I myself use to be a cartoonist. not to your extent where I wrote a huge story like yours...but then again...I was trying to make ends meet. and I have even less time now that I'm here in the middle of the Gulf of Iraq.

We seem to share a love of travel , I've always wanted to explore the world like you have. in fact, after reading your graphic novels, I've decided to take a working tour to Israel to excavate Megiddo. but that's not for another year or so, since my contract here is up in august of 2009. Have you been there?

well, well wishes to you Mr Roach.

A HUGE fan,
Airman Paolo Donald Mongon
USS Abraham Lincoln

Dave Baxter forwarded this one to me from Stephanie, saying that he'd told her that
I would "maybe post that on the fan page of my site". Well hey, maybe I will...

Date: 27 Aug 2010
From Stephanie Yue:

Hey, I just wanted to say I love AQ, and congratulations with Sirius! I read all three volumes in one go, could not put them down - they're comics I recommend anyone to read at least once, they left a deep impression, so I'm super happy there's a definitive collection in the future. Also, just wanted to add (from the comics artist side of me too), I have crazy respect for you for working independently on the project for so long. Truly a labor of love, and something special.

That's all. I wish you the best of luck with AQ and everything you do!

Thanks to everybody who wrote these letters. Sometimes I feel that AQ was hardly professional enough to make it out in the real world-- it is what it is: my hobby --so I'm glad that some people were/are as enthusiastic about it as I was/am. 3R



while not actually "Fan Mail", here are some of the REVIEWS & COMMENTS about AQ generated since it has become a web comic and is in the process of being republished:

a review for AMAZON KINDLE, another of Dave Baxter's AQ projects:

Date: 26 August 2009 -- 4.0 out of 5 stars -- creepy but totally intriguing
By K. Alvarado (portland,Or)

Sometimes I like graphic novels that are just junk food, fun but empty. Sometimes I like them to have some heft to them, it's not always bad to think. I love that graphic novels now just go all over the place. They are not just for kids but really are art. This one really has a story that I just couldn't get enough of. The main character is the antichrist and is fighting to change his destiny. That is just the main point of the story but there are jumps in time that really flesh out everything. The art is scarey, creepy, and all out cool. I normally do not like religious themed books because I just don't get half the stuff they say. I don't want to argue religion with anyone (to each his own), I just don't like to be hit over the head with some of that stuff. Having said that, I really liked the concept here, one wanting to change his destiny. I liked the way the Tazio's backstory unfolded, it was brutal, sad and, well, cool. This was another book where the art was a little unpolished but, it really worked for this world. This is out of my normal range but I ended up really enjoying all that it was. I really recommend this to anyone with a sense of adventure. It has some science fiction, theology and just a well thought out world. Give it a try, you might be surprised.



5.0 out of 5 stars -- Put the Armageddonquest series on your "must read" list
By Mark S. Milley (Buffalo, NY USA) - see all my reviews on Amazon
This review is from: Armageddonquest, Volume 3 (Paperback)

Without a doubt, Armageddonquest is not only one of the best comic books that I have read, but also one of the best works of fiction I have read overall.
Do not confuse this series with an average graphic novel. 6 years in the making (with some chapters taking over a year to develop), Mr. Roach's incredibly well written 900-page-epic is full of incredibly complex and well thought out characters, plot twists, action, and overall adventure. Somehow, through all the plots twists and turns, he manages to never lose the reader, nor contradict himself, all the while linking the story back to various prophecies.
Mr. Roach is clearly a scholar, and both his research and creativity shine through on every page.
While the art is at times crude, and while on a graphical level he may not be as good as others in the industry, he makes up for it and even goes beyond it through his storytelling and incredible plot. In the armageddonquest series, the black-and-white art is there to compliment the story, not drive it, and in this way, Mr. Roach has created a story that really sucks you in.
900 pages is a lot for any man to write, and a 6 year project is enough for a lifetime, but I certainly hope this is not the last I see of Mr. Roach's work. I'm hooked.



from ComicsReporter.com

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 over here: http://www.armageddonquest.com/ Still needs a reprinting, though) TOM SPURGEON,



"...this book requires quite an investment of time and understanding, but it's well worth it. The art starts out a little rough, but it gets better as quickly as the pacing of the story, which is fast and furious. In fact, events and conflicts move the plot at a speed so fast, you won't even notice the weight and effort needed to carry each volume around!" -- Overstreet's Fan Magazine



from INDY PLANET.COM, describing the 1st KA-ZAM publication of AQ Book One:

BOOK ONE introduces readers to TAZIO, the small child who is destined to be the Anti-Christ! Tazio lives blissfully unaware of his demonaic destiny, sheltered within the walls of an ancient Italian villa. There he's 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, a dwarf-sized best friend, a suspicious town Priest and a past shrouded in mystery, this is one childhood you have to see to believe! 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? ARMAGEDDONQUEST begins with 52 PAGES of non-stop comix storytelling glory!

Follow the story of Tazio, the reluctant Anti-Christ, as he travels from birth to the very moment of ARMAGEDDON. An epic modern-fantasy-horror adventure over 850+ pages and TWENTY Books all told! Created, writen, and illustrated by Ronald Russel Roach (3R), this is one of the greatest of the lost and forgotten underground comix classics, now remastered and re-presented for modern audiences. ARMAGEDDONQUEST will be released in its entirety on a monthly schedule from August 2009-March 2011.



Product Description for AMAZON KINDLE, another of Dave Baxter's AQ projects, starting with a comment from an old friend:

"Believe the hype. You have never, ever seen a comic like AQ. I have been into comics for (gulp!) 20 years. They were my first obsession. Reading and collecting comics offered me more than just incredible worlds and information you didnt learn at school. Comics became a constantly renewable source of business opportunities for me. Yet in all my reading and in all my retailing and publishing, I have never, ever seen a comic like AQ. There it was, naked on my desk, all the way from Denmark. It was true. Ron had written and drawn more than 850 pages." --ROBB HORAN (ex-Publisher, SIRIUS COMICS)

BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD FREE ARMAGEDDONQUEST CUSTOM KINDLE SCREENSAVERS AT: http://www.robotcomics.net/armageddonquest-custom-kindle-screensavers



okay, that's it for now!
3R