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Future Primitive: In Conversation with Kevin Gunstone

The future of the past? An epic myth. Future Primitive Mag #1 is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, so we caught up with writer Kevin Gunstone to hear more about the project.

A Place To Hang Your Cape: To begin with, can you please set the scene of Future Primitive? In what sort of setting does the story take place?

Kevin Gunstone: The story is set on a weird version of Earth and the vast continent of Ultima Pangea – it could be the past OR the future, as we leave it deliberately ambiguous. Hundreds of thousands of years earlier the planet was transformed by a blast of supernova radiation and is populated by all the pre-human races, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, Australopiths, etc, all of whom have their own unique science and beliefs.

AP2HYC: How did your idea of Future Primitive change from your first story, “Memory of Being”? What’s stayed the same?

Gunstone: For the first few issues we’re remastering the original “Memory of Being” story because it introduces the central characters and most of the story concepts. So we thought it was vital to start right from the beginning. The continuing story hasn’t changed much, as following the (tragic) events at the end of the first tale it was always the plan to go out and explore the much wider Future Primitive world.

AP2HYC: Between the art and mythology, there’s an epic scale to the story. What are some of the biggest ideas we’ll get to see in Future Primitive?

Gunstone: Good question! Future Primitive is full of big concepts, such as the all-powerful energy source, the Aten, Kulkan and his Neanderthal Skybearer race worship as a God. It was a fun challenge to imagine how past events, such as the supernova explosion, and the subsequent history of the Skybearers, could be presented as mythic events depicted on vast cave walls. Repeating patterns through time, be they names or stories, are also ideas I find interesting to explore too.

AP2HYC: You’ve mentioned retro sci-fi and fantasy mags like Heavy Metal and Conan inspired the creation of the comic. Are there any particular influences you think we’ll recognise in Future Primitive?

Gunstone: Future Primitive is a real melting pot of influences. Aside from Heavy Metal and Savage Sword of Conan, there’s a liberal helping of Alex Nino‘s Man- Gods (from Marvel Preview) and his Warren work in 1984/94. Jack Katz‘ amazing First Kingdom, Joe Kubert‘s Tor, and more obscure comics like Gold Key’s Tragg and the Sky Gods are a factor too. I’m a huge Kirby fan and love his Eternals run, but I particularly enjoyed the sequences set in the distant past rather than the ‘present’. I would have loved to see the whole series set in the ancient/prehistoric world and in many ways Future Primitive is a response to that.

AP2HYC: Can you tell us a bit about the creative team on Future Primitive?

Gunstone: Slobodan Jovanovic, aka Boban, is a hugely talented artist from Serbia who I found via Deviant Art. Boban’s commitment to the project has always been 100%, both in the incredible amount of detail he puts into his pages and his belief in the story we’re creating. The colourist, Stefan Mrkonjic, is a good friend of Boban’s and he came onboard after the original colourist dropped out. Stefan’s colours are evocative and atmospheric and after the original Future Primitive series he coloured my Planet of Daemons book for Amigo. Finally, Patrick Foster is a letterer and designer I’ve known for years. Patrick is highly inventive, and I love the stylish look he brings to the series.

AP2HYC: Lastly, have you got a favourite moment in #1?

Gunstone: There’s a page just before we enter the first visionquest, following the Skybearers’ trek to the top of the mountain city of Ytza. This almost full-page image was inspired by the dizzying tracking shot at the beginning of the film Aguirre: Wrath of God. However, it’s difficult to choose just one as I hope the story is full of such moments…

To find out more, check out the Kickstarter here – then sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

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Matthew Smith

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