Humans have set themselves on a destructive path with war, global pollution, and the creation of artificial intelligence. Thankfully some extraterrestrials have been courteous enough to warn us of this potential future in attempts to change our ways. Alfonso Font presents these sci-fi short stories in a collection titled Tales of an Imperfect Future, but is it good?
Tales of an Imperfect Future HC (Dark Horse Comics)
Font is a Spanish comic book writer and artist known for his recognizable, sometimes gritty penciling style. In this graphic novel he presents us with fourteen different short stories that delve into concerning topics such as politics, military and technology. Each story details a different event in our potential future which contains an element of satire and/or horror that details the ghastly results of our present day mistakes as a society. While some of these stories leave you chuckling (not many people “chuckle” nowadays, but you should try it sometime) at hyperbolic situations reminiscent of what we experience today, the majority end with a dark apocalyptic tone that leaves you feeling empty, but amused inside.
An obvious connection I drew from the novel is the similarity between Font’s work and that of Ray Bradbury. While most people have heard of Bradbury from their sophomore year reading of Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury set the standard for science fiction short stories with novels such as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. Both authors portray dreary consequences for humanity’s misuse of resources or greed and sloth demonstrated between competing entities. These themes are presented using a clever medium to tie them all together for sake of an underlying storyline, whether it’s through the moving tattoos on a man’s body (Illustrated Man) or warnings from an alien that’s come from the future (Tales of an Imperfect Future). Font uses this similar technique and style to bring politically-fueled sci-fi “horror” (I use that term loosely because the tales are more ominous than horrifying) to the comic book realm.
Font’s artwork has a very “throwback” look to it and is entirely black and white for this novel which may irk some people. I personally believe that by taking the color out of the images it makes what is being presented more impactful rather than focusing on how it’s being presented. Readers should also be aware that the comic contains a lot of violence and nudity so that’s something to keep in mind. While I enjoy Font’s art and his ability to create so many different characters, there does seem to be a trend in reused character features which made some of the characters look incredibly similar to others from other short stories. You’re bound to encounter that when you create so many different short stories featuring new characters, but the artwork got a little repetitive for me.
Is It Good?
While Font’s artwork may not be for everyone, the writing is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. With heavy text panels, this novel almost reads more like authentic short stories than a comic. The best thing about it is that these stories are thought provoking in their political satire and when you’re done you’ll find yourself pondering these topics for days afterwards. If you’re a fan of hopeless-humanity sci-fi, this is your comic.