Living up to its evocative title, Future is not only a high concept adventure through time, but also a look at how we process our own view of the future and hope. The time-hopping is bolstered by the books’ heroes – a married couple who are at odds with the ticking clock of the Earth itself. We caught up with writer Thomas Woodman to hear more about Future.
A Place To Hang Your Cape: What’s the story in Future?
Thomas Woodman: Murray Mielniczuk, the last astronaut, is dying. So is the Earth. In a last-ditch attempt to save them both, Murray and her wife Kay are shot forward through time to find a cure and prevent humanity’s imminent self-destruction. But crash-landing in a barren future, they find themselves with no help, no ship, and no way home. In short, it’s a love story; a time travel story; almost an existential road trip.
AP2HYC: Can you tell us a bit about Murray and her story specifically?
TW: Sure! So, she’s an astronaut, she’s dying, and she’s just about given up hope. Murray embodies where I think a lot of us are when thinking about the future. That drift from dreaming of possibility to wondering just how much time we have left. But I can’t really talk about Murray alone. Because her wife Kay is everything she’s holding onto; she’s hope, joy , optimism and great hair. The two of them are counter-balances; a team; motivations for each other to keep on pushing.
AP2HYC: How did you come to the decision to centre this adventure on a married couple, as opposed to say, a more generic hero or team on a mission? How does this affect the story?
TW: I think taking a couple on this journey puts and keeps the emotion front and centre. If the book was focused on two super-tough, super-cool astronauts, it’d feel less precarious. Perhaps you wouldn’t care as much for them; they might not care as much about each other as opposed to their mission. Here, we start with two people desperate to keep each other safe, flying into the most dangerous situation possible. It’s terrifying.
AP2HYC: How does Future interpret this idea of ‘the future’? Would you say the comic leans more toward hope or dystopia?
TW: We balance on the knife’s edge, with Murray and Kay representing the pessimist and optimist within each of us. But even though they’re somehow in an even worse situation than we are now, with that comes action. Because like even the most pessimistic of us, they both so want to believe in the future—in their future. In fact, that personal ‘future’ is as much what the title refers to as the time travelling, global picture. Because the two – the personal and the global – are intertwined. Which, I think, is a huge theme for the book. You can’t give up on the whole world without also giving up on the people you love. And I don’t think we’re willing to do that.
AP2HYC: Future sounds like a response to a lot of the science-fiction we have today. What influences, from comics or otherwise, might we recognise in Future?
TW: A chunk of Doctor Who; a bit of Interstellar; a whole bunch of A Christmas Carol; a splash of Star Trek optimism; a dram of David Bowie. And your own personal existential fears. I think if we’re looking at comics, maybe just a bit of Sandman too, in the stranger moments.
AP2HYC: Finally, can you please tell us a bit about the creative team on Future?
Love to! Rupert Smissen is a multi-award-winning artist who’s worked for some huge names and has now created his first graphic novel. Aditya Bidikar has lettered all over the place, for Image, Vault, etc., and is constantly winning ‘best letterer’ awards all over the place. Lizzie Kaye is our editor; having worked at Titan, SelfMadeHero, Unbound, she’s just launched Cast Iron Books, and Future is her first title! Oh, and there’s me, Tom, the writer. I’ve been performing and teaching storytelling for the last decade. I’ve also been writing and editing all over the place.