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Comic Book / Junior Braves of the Apocalypse

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Junior Braves of the Apocalypse is a young adult graphic novel written by Michael Tanner and Greg Smith, illustrated by Zach Lehner, and published by Oni Press.

Returning home from a week-long camping trip, the Junior Braves of Tribe 65 find that the world has descended into chaos while they were away. Their town is in ruins, their friends and neighbors have turned into shambling bloodthirsty mutants, and many of the survivors have downright sinister intentions.

Forced to band together against a world that wants to kill them, the boys have to rely on teamwork and wilderness survival skills to stay alive as they travel to Seattle in search of their families.

Book 1: A Brave is Brave, was released in July 2015. Book 2: Out of the Woods, was released in August 2018.

Renegade Game Studio published an RPG adaptation called Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse: A Roleplaying Game using rules based on their Kids On Bikes game.

This graphic novel contains examples of...

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Travis's younger brother Marvin is chatty, optimistic and enthusiastic about relating embarrassing stories from his and Travis's childhood - no matter how many times Travis tells him to shut up.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Braves are attacked by a mutated bear in the second book.
  • Big Brother Bully: Most of Travis and Marvin’s interactions involve Travis insulting Marvin. On one occasion, Travis even threatens to punch out all of Marvin’s teeth.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Despite their otherwise turbulent relationship - When Marvin falls overboard, Travis’s first instinct is to jump into the water after him.
    • Lucas charges into a mob of mutants when he hears a crying baby in need of rescue.
  • Butt-Monkey: Regularly made fun of by Travis, Buddy’s first appearance in the comic has him running late because his car broke down. Throughout the story, he also suffers multiple concussions, is tased, and just generally takes way more physical damage than any other character in the books.
  • Cheerful Child: Marvin is the youngest member of Tribe 65, and eternally optimistic about their situation.
  • Chubby Chef: Kong is the largest member of Tribe 976, and his skill in the kitchen have lead to him being given the role of chef.
  • Cope by Pretending: Mrs. Garvey insists on conducting classes as normal, despite the fact that all but one of her students are missing or dead.
  • Double Entendre: While swinging across a canyon, Travis refers to their group a “swinger’s club.” Buddy is horrified.
  • Double Meaning: Buddy interprets Padre's comment that “Parts of [the trail] might seem tricky, but you’ll be able to swing it,” as a suggestion to literally swing across a canyon on a rope. The plan works out, but when Padre shows up he clarifies that he hadn't known about the canyon and really only intended his comment as a metaphor.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Padre’s real name is Ron, but it isn’t until the second book that anyone calls him that.
  • Fake Defector: Travis pretends to side with the gang of security guards, in order to gain their trust and more easily carry out his escape plan.
  • Five-Token Band: Within the main Braves - Pabir is Indian and Hindu, Amir is a Jewish second-generation immigrant, Lucas is a black Lutheran, Johnny is Native American and adopted, and Travis and Marvin are the token white guys.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: When Mr. Mikishka walks in on Maybelle preparing to chop off Buddy’s arm, he assume his previous meal was also human meat and promptly starts to throw up.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Maybelle decides that human meat would be a good thing to supplement her group’s food supplies with.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Padre develops one in the second book.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: The group finds finds and rescues an infant just before it is attacked by zombies. The infant makes it out completely unharmed, of course.
  • It Can Think: The Braves are horrified to realize that the mutants are smart enough to corner them by destroying their only means of transport.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: By default, Travis is rude and mildly snarky. However, he still has his own moral code and refuses to support people who use their strength to harm others.
  • Kill It with Fire: Amir’s solution for both the mutated bear and the mutant attacking the infant. Travis even comments that Amir seems prefer this technique.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The Junior Braves missed the start of the apocalypse because they were out on a camping trip.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Damian is morally reprehensible in various ways, but two of his worst actions (stealing Angie’s baby and attacking Buddy) were a direct result of his attraction to Angie.
  • The Medic: The apocalypse creates lots of opportunities for Lucas to practice the medical skills he learned from the Brave handbook. He’s also almost always the first to take charge during emergency situations - to the point where Tribe 976 considers putting him in charge of their medical area in Book 2.
  • My Beloved Smother: Pabir’s mom refers to her son as “my little boy” and worries about whether or not he’s remembered to pack hand sanitizer.
  • The Quiet One: Johnny is so known for his quietness in-universe that the other braves spend the first book making surprised comments any time he opens his mouth.
  • Native American Casino: One appears in the second book as a fortified area.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Most of the survivor groups have their own term for the infected. Tribe 65 refers to them as “mutants,” and is aghast to hear that Tribe 976 using the word “zombie”.
  • Precocious Crush: Played for drama as single mom Angie is very clearly uncomfortable with teenager Damian's advances towards her.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The head boy Dylan appears prominently on the one version of the first book’s cover. Despite this, his main role is to demonstrate the threat of the zombies by being the first named character to get killed off.
  • Scout-Out: The titular Junior Braves.
  • Shoot Your Mate: The security guards initiate Travis into their gang by giving him a taser and forcing him to test it on Buddy.
  • The Smart Guy: Pabir is just a child, but he’s already capable of repairing generators and designing his own weapons.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Pabir is the resident smart guy, as well as the only brave who wears glasses.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Chad insists on being called ‘’The’’ Chad.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Book 2 has shopping mall refuge run by the teenage braves of Tribe 976. They make all the leadership decisions and charge the elderly residents for necessities like food and medicine.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Compared to the preteens and young teenagers of Tribe 65, the older teenagers of Tribe 976 are much more violent and selfish.
  • Tipis and Totem Poles: Johnny, being Apache, is mildly offended when Padre assumes that he’s knowledgeable about the cultural practices of West-Coast Native Americans.
  • Token Religious Teammate: While most of the Braves are at least somewhat religious, Lucas is the most prominently so. He’s regularly seen carrying a bible, praying, or talking about praying.
  • Underwear Swimsuit: One of the activities for a camping trip is swimming, since some of the campers lack swimsuits, one of the older counselors suggests swimming naked, however his age contributes to his lack of understanding of how creepy it sounds to suggest that to children. The Braves without swimsuits decide to swim in their shorts or underwear.
  • Zombie Animal: In book two, the Braves learn that the infection has begun spreading to animals. They encounter a zombified bear, as well as zombified squirrels.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The central conflict of the story.