Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Futura vs. Futura

A commenter asked if the Futura Saga was ever collected in a trade. I could never find one and it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but I doubt it was ever collected. The main problem with Futura ever being collected is because of the market. The comic book market for the most part is obviously fueled by the visuals and a good chunk of the Futura tale may not be appealing to readers. The less-appealing chapters would fill an entire first volume, turning off fans and making the likelihood of a second volume being printed unlikely.

While some comic book are collected and anticipated because of the writer it is usually the art, with some notable exceptions, that is the foundation of what makes a particular book a success. Perlin, Ditko, Kirby, Anderson, Swan, Trimpe and Heck were masters of artistic story-telling but in the 1980s the evolving tastes of fans led many books (and perhaps the aging talents of the artists or inability to adapt to the changing market) to be doomed to cancellation or obscurity.

What I am getting to is that I'm interested in posting the entire Futura run from Planet Comics but I'm torn about the work involved and what the results might be. After the first few chapters the art becomes quite simplistic. Nothing wrong with that as the story is just as important as the visuals. But I'm very disappointed in the direction the series went for about ten issues. It wasn't until about issue #54 of Planet Comics that the art changed for the better with artist Joe Cavello.

As a completist, I'm probably going to include the entire run but comic fans and blog readers (not to mention myself) are notoriously impatient and would lose interest because a portion of the Futura story is not as "cool" as some of the other entries.

A few examples in the contrasting art and story styles:

This panel is the start of the "Magic Sword" story arc. This example isn't too bad but it becomes progressively stiff and simplistic. The promising weirdness of the Insect Men quickly fades as by the next issue they appear as normal humans with ill-defined wing-shapes protruding from their shoulder-blades. The art became a rather average example of Golden Age comics. The plot is also uninspiring and the story appears to be filler supporting the other more established serials. This is lent credence by the Futura serial rarely being given any cover credits, if any, alongside the other serials. The entire arc is a long way from the Alex Raymond-inspired story-telling and fine art by Joe Cavello.

I really favor the "Citizen of the Galaxy" type of plot over the "Magic Sword of Destiny" storyline. So the question is: Should I skip the "Magic Sword" arc completly or make it available as links in one post and then rocket off at ludicrous-speed into the Awesome Galaxy for the rest of the Futura Saga?

Regardless, more Futura to come!


  1. I would kinda like to be able to read the whole long story arc, but I can also picture being disgusted with bad art and bad plots. I vote not skipping it completely (for those ultra-dedicated Futura fans) though :) I never know just how bored I might be some day!

  2. Start with Citizen of the Galaxy then, fi there's a demand post Magic Sword of Destiny\

    best foot forward

  3. My opinion would be: start with the good arc. This last image looks very promising. There's always time to go back.


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