There can be no doubt that, love him or hate him, Alan Moore is one of the greatest creative minds to ever grace the comics medium. His story-telling is so earnest, weird, kooky, slick and downright awesome all at once that it’s no wonder he’s one of the Greats. Now, I’m a Moore admirer myself, and I’m especially influenced by his earlier works; specifically Swamp Thing, Captain Britain and his many 2000 AD accomplishments. Sure, I suppose little things V for Vendetta, Watchmen and From Hell are what people mostly know him for, but I like to think his best work was with Mighty Tharg and his humble weekly newsagent-bomb 2000 AD. And with the galaxy’s greatest comic Marvelous Moore laid upon us mind-blowing wonderment-inducing things in the form of titles such as The Ballad of Halo Jones, D.R. and Quinch, his Time Twister tales, Abelard Snazz, and, of course, Future Shocks.
Future Shocks is a long-going series (since issue #25) of non-related one-off strips written in the vein of classic shows like Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and The outer Limits. Each Future Shock is a little strange, eerie or creepy and has a twist ending… or twisted ending… usually both! And anyone who’s even remotely aware of Alan Moore’s work will fully know that many of the best Future Shocks were written by him.
This 200+ page black & white volume not only contains all of Moore’s Future Shocks, but it also has his Time Twisters (which are a bit longer than the Future Shocks) and all the Abelard Snazz strips he did. To be quite honest, it was quite difficult to contain myself reading this book the first time through. I readily admit that it’s probably one of the best comic tomes one can ever acquire. I honestly cannot see anyone with a love for cracking short stories and sequential art hating this. In fact, I am finding it really hard to review this collection as I just want to say “It's one of the top ten things in comicdom you should own. So buy it, if you haven’t already!”
Enough gushing. You already know who wrote this, so here’s a list of some of the paint-peeling, eye-stealing artists you will encounter: Alan Davis, Ian Gibson, Steve Dillon, Dave Gibbons, Paul Neary, Bryan Talbot and Brendan McCarthy. That’s just for starters. I suppose I should tell you a bit about what you can find inside this near-religious experience, but please bear in mind that since the stories are very short, usually around 3 pages, there’s too much to cover in a review such as this. I’ll go over some of my favorites…
Grawks Bearing Gifts (Future Shocks): The kick-off to the collection, and a worthy starter. I’d say it’s a classic, but let’s face it: they all are.
The English/Phlondrutian Phrasebook (Future Shocks): This is one of the funniest comics I have had the pleasure of reading. I’ve read it probably a hundred times and it still makes me cackle with glee. “Yes, we are a pain sensitive species. Why do you ask?”
The Last Rumble of the Platinum Horde (Future Shocks): A classic of classics, the story is perfect and it even kinda conveys a message.
Salad Days (Future Shocks): “Well, of course we’re humanitarians! Strict humanitarians! After all… we only eat humans, don’t we?” I’m a sucker for people eating.
An American Werewolf in Space (Future Shocks): Another hilariously twisted bit of silly genius. Plus a great plan in case we ever have a problem with lycanthropes.
The Disturbed Digestions of Doctor Dibworthy (Future Shocks): This timeless, charming time-travel tale is one of my all time faves.
Bad Timing (Future Shocks): I will always love this sharp parody of the Kypton Escape of baby Superman.
Dad (Future Shocks): The horror of this short resonated with me ever since I first read it, which was a long, long time ago. Now that I have kids it hits even harder. Simple yet incredibly effective.
Ring Road (Time Twisters): Suitably creepy and a beautiful lesson in “what goes around comes around”.
The Time Machine (Time Twisters): Oh, so, so sad.
And much, much more!
Then there’s the Abelard Snazz strips, which star one Abelard Snazz, a man with a “multi-storey mind” and four eyes. He shows up in some Ro’ Jaws Robo Tales, Future Shocks and self-titled thrills. As a whole, Snazz is some good reading and should throw must people for a loop form time to time—a fun loop, mind.
With all of these Future Shocks, Time Twisters, Abelard Snazz strips and more, I can think of a better value for your dollar at this moment. This collection is a must for any fan of comics. But I’m sure I’ve already said that… right? Hmmm, I better wrap this up soon before the very review becomes a Future Shock itself!!
The only downside I can find is that a couple pages here and there are two page spreads and some words are cut off, which can be a pain with a PDF… Overall, this book is nearly all upsides, ranging from the astonishing, the spine-chilling, the harrowing, the side-splitting, the depressing and the occasional cautionary tale; not to mention the magnificent illustrative work from some of the industry’s greatest talents throughout. Shell out your hard earned ducats and enjoy, Earthlings.