News, Views, Happiness Pursued

V-Land Book One: Paul, The Petulant Apostle

by | Sep 5, 2021

Jury Still Out on Unicorns, God

Yes, friends, I can now testify that dreams do come true. I’m writing a comic illustrated by Mort Todd! The Mort Todd, of Cracked magazine and Marvel Music/Comics infamy, among many other media misadventures (check his Wiki, geek).   

Mort took over as editor-in-chief at Cracked in the mid ’80s, and word is he saved the MAD knock-off’s skinny ass, signing legendary MAD man Don Martin and publishing early work by graphic artists like Daniel Clowes (Ghost World).

I grew up reading MAD in that era, and to know that one day I would write a story illustrated by someone almost good enough to work for MAD would have blown my teenage mind! 

Seriously, though, MAD had a huge influence on me. I soaked up an ocean’s worth of (mostly useless) cultural knowledge that I wouldn’t have encountered elsewhere during that pre-Internet dark age. There was nothing else like MAD (again, except Cracked, launched in 1958, six years after MAD, which pointedly aped its predecessor’s style). MAD skewered politicians and priests, hipsters and squares, good movies and bad ones with equal zeal. 

The mere existence of a publication this free of the societal hang-ups (MAD-speak for “political correctness”) that hamstrung every other magazine on the stand inspired me on a deeper level. That perspective on the world, unfettered from every toadying impulse to appease social superiors, is profoundly liberating. I had discovered satire, an art form so powerful that people still get shot for practicing it. Lucky little me! 

When we launched Mainer in the spring of ’19, I mentioned that we wanted to bring back the type of local satire we used to publish with some frequency when this mag was called The Bollard. So welcome to V-Land, a Maine-centric political satire presented in classic superhero-comic style, as MAD or Cracked would’ve twisted it, serialized herein every month for the foreseeable future*.     

V-Land stars The Light Keepers, an alliance that includes mutant action heroes from Vacationland — like Claude, the giant lobster who boils bad guys with the finesse of a French chef — as well as an oddball collection of locals who don’t have any super powers, but really hate the government and like to party. 

Our story is set in present-day Maine and also features celebrities you’ll recognize from such popular shows as Augusta, Corporate America and The U.S. Senate — outrageous farces that’d be much funnier if they weren’t actually happening right now. In Book One, “Paul, the Petulant Apostle,” a certain portly politician with a bad temper and worse ideas resurfaces to make another run for our state’s highest office, this time as a kinder, gentler Republican. 

What’s gotten into him? Is he actually the brainwashed minion of a commie cabal determined to destroy the U.S.A., a la the plots of The Manchurian Candidate, QAnon or mainstream GOP opinion? Perhaps he’s just pandering to the moderates. It’s tough to tell these days — you’ll just have to read and find out! 

If you like Chapter 1, please consider becoming a Mainer subscriber at For as little as six bucks a month (“Cheap,” MAD would add), we’ll give you early access to new chapters online, plus bonus material and Light Keepers merch that might actually be worth something someday — like those classic MAD issues in mint condition that mom threw out when you went to college, thus dooming you to a life of desperate poverty (college, that is, not mom, you ungrateful brat).

If you don’t like the first chapter, by all means, keep reading — it gets much worse! 

— Chris Busby

*Disclaimer: Future only foreseeable one terrifying hour at a time these days. 


Related Posts


We are supported by advertisers and readers, like you, who value independent local journalism. For the cost of one pint of Maine craft beer each month, you can help us publish more content and keep it free for everyone.