The latest issue of FutureQuake – available online and on sale at various comics events across the UK at the publisher’s stand, see their blog for details – is another terrific anthology of stories from the cream of (mainly British) creators. Here’s what’s inside the 96-page issue – yes, 96 pages of comics goodness! – edited by Dave Evans and Richmond Clements, wrapped in a fantastic cover by Alex Paterson.
Here’s a quick rundown (or should that be big up?) of the contents, in order of publication. Overall, this is a smashing mix of strips, as you’d expect from this seasoned indie team, and well worth £6 of your Earth money. Echoing 2000AD of old, if only there was more of this on the British news stand. But there isn’t, so for those of us who are lucky enough to know about these terrific titles – go buy and enjoy!
Edited by Dave Evans, Richmond Clements, FutureQuake Issue 29 features stories from Derek Adnams, River Apparicio, Daniel Bell, Roland Bird, Marcello Bondi, Alec Charles, Rafael Chrestani, Matthew Collyer, Chris Connelly, Jack Davies, Marc Ducrow, Fred Francis, Chris Geary, Aidan Gilman, Russell Hillman, Mike Kalin, Michael Adam Kindred, Niall Kitson, Rafael Romeo Magat, Martina Marzullo, Alex Paterson, Tim Perry, Boy Phaff, JJ Robinson, Eddie Robson, Lee Robson, Matt Sandbrook, Kieran Squires, Jonathan Stevenson, Dominic Teague, David Tomas, Chris Tresson, Scott Twells, David Valente, Terrance Whitlow and Justin Woods.
“Hel comes to Baltitown” by writer JJ Robinson and artist Alex Paterson
This issue’s lead strip is a roller coaster of a ride, involving alien dimensions, aliens, a trans-dimensional open top bus and the destruction of Nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham, thanks to an inept attempt to capture a super-charged smelly teenager in an equally smelly anorak.
With echoes of the “Captain Britain” stories that featured in Mighty World of Marvel back in the 1980s, this is a superb lead strip (Part Two of a multi-part story), and Alex Paterson’s art is, well, just brilliant. Great storytelling, terrific figure work – everything just works, on all levels. Obviously, if you haven’t already, you’ll also have to buy FutureQuake 28 if you haven’t already, to have any hope of figuring out some of what’s going on – but since that was a great issue too, that’s no loss!
“Second Chances” by writer Alec Charles and artist Boy Phaff
An ex-assassin who finds himself a target in this multiverse-inspired tale. Great fun, with a nice “Future Shock” twist ending.
I thoroughly enjoyed Eddie Robson’s “Ace Trucking Company” story in the 2016 2000AD Summer Special, but “Point of Contact” has a different edge to it, a black humour-tinged tale of an alien sent to study human society who begins to interfere in it. Deft pacing and dialogue, complementing Sandbrook’s art perfectly.
“Ghost Town” by writer Marcello Bondi and artist Martina Marzullo
Death and deceit in the Old West.
“Murder He Read” by writer Matthew Collyer (credited to Ed Hollis) and artist Jack Davies
Perhaps inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s relationship with Sherlock Holmes, a nifty police procedural with a twist. A lovely homage to comic pulp strips from the team.
Time travel with a macabre twist as a prisoner in a future jail is taken on a tour of the past. Nicely realised with a terrific final panel.
“Men In Green” by writer River Apparicio and artist Marc Ducrow
The old trope of shape-shifting aliens gets a bit of a dubious updating. It’s a nice idea, but not quite my cuppa.
“The Healers” by writer Mike Kalin and artist Rafael Chrestani
This is a cracking one shot tale, with a double twist as aliens come to Earth on a mission of healing. Great script from Mike Kalin and enjoyable art from Rafael make this one of my favourite strips in the issue.
There’s some lovely scenes in this post-Aocalypse tale with a Mad Max vibe, including the panel above. Derek perhaps tries to packs in a little too much back story to establish the central character and his undercover work, but it’s a poignant tale nevertheless, with some great art from Chris, whose work regularly features in Aces Weekly.
“The Happiest Dan Alive” by writer Russell Hillman and artist Scott Twells
Ever have one of those days where you call even your best friend something completely different? Even though you’ve known them for years? Russell and Scott explain that mystery with this hilarious parallel universe inspired love story. Great script, compelemented perfectly by Scott’s loose but great art and storytelling. Quite why this pair of talented creators appear to have near zero web presence is baffling. They’re a great pairing. Perhaps they’re better known on Earth 616…
You can’t go wrong with killer sharks as weapons… or can you? Not one for those of you angered by the portrayal of sharks in fiction…
“Come Home” by writer Lee Robson and artist Justin Woods
This allegory about the pitfalls of future medical discoveries – body swaps, mind dumps and more – could so easily be a great movie, but Lee and Justin made it a comic first, and deliver in style. There are some great action sequences from Justin and some quieter, emotional moments in Lee’s script. While the end is a little telegraphed, it’s an enjoyable, if heart rending tale.
“These Things Happen” by writer Dominic Teague and artist Roland Bird
While this story misses an opportunity by continuing after I think it should have finished – to deliver its payoff line – the art is top notch and there are some great lines as two humans on an alien world battle it out for survival from a strange and near undetectable disease.
“Sentience” by writer Jonathan Stevenson and artist Chris Connelly
When an android riot results in two dead, police start an investigation. It seems to lead nowhere – where is the robot killer? Stevenson and Connelly’s tale of robot revenge is a little uneven and perhaps overlong, but is peppered with some great lines and art to boot.
“Beyond The Machine” by writer by Boy Phaff
One of the best drawn strips in the anthology, this short sharp shock of a bomb scare with mind-blowing twist, with a tip of the hat to “Little Nemo” along the way, is one of the gems of this issue. A knockout.
“Slight” by writer David Tomas and artist Aidan Gilman
A bizarre tale of family feuding in the far future… or is that the past? Impressive art.
“Post Mortem” by writer Tim Perry and artist David Valente
David Valente’s art perfectly suits this grim tale from Tim Perry with its many promises of afterlife – available in many ways to the word of the future…. choose wisely…
With a tale blending Greek myth with the kind of aliens that would fit right into a “Jeff Hawke” story, this is one of the final stories in the issue – and what a great way to “book end” the anthology. Canadian artist Michael Adam Kindred is a real find (check out his web page here), with some great storytelling, and great line work – and Niall’s story is a gem. Definitely want to see more from this team.
“Child Star” by writer Mike Kalin and artist Rafael Romeo Magat
Almost rounding off the issue, another great story by Mike Kalin, very much in the spirit of 2000AD’s older “Future Shicks” with some mind blowing art from Rafael Romeo Magat. Another gem of a strip in a cracking collection.
Are you convinced to buy yet?
“Super” by writer Jonathan Stevenson and artist Daniel Bell
Rounding off this superb anthology is a one pager I’m not going to spoil here. Just go an buy the issue. Hell, buy the back issues! These folk deserve your money!
• FutureQuake Issue 29, 96 pages, only £6.00 from www.futurequake.co.uk/shop – along with Zarjaz, Something Wicked and more
• Want a second opinion? Read the review of FutureQuake 29 over on Pipedream Comics
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.