The Complete Future Shocks Volume 2: Bringing You The Future 5 Pages At A Time

by Richard Bruton

The Future Shock, the done in one, 5 or less pages tale with a twist, is a staple of 2000 AD, one that’s seen countless artists and writers cut their creative teeth in comics. Some flourish and go on to bigger things, others not so much…
And you’ll find them all in here, in the continuing celebrations of all things Future and Shocky, as 2000 AD collect every Future Shock, right from the beginning… it’s time for a trip back in time and into the future, with The Complete Future Shocks Volume 2, 1981-1982

In case you’re not familiar with the idea of the Future Shock (occasionally a Time Twister), it’s something that’s been in 2000 AD from the early days, a complete story, usually in five pages, sometimes less, with something of a twist in the tale. It’s been the thing that new writers and artists do first at the comic, and most of them soon realise that the discipline of delivering something with a beginning, middle, and a twisty end is a lot more difficult than it seems.
Or, as Alan Moore says in the introduction he penned for an old Shocking Futures collection of his own Future Shocks, ‘I continue to regard the two years or so that I spent working on stunted little five-page short stories destined to be printed on Izal two-ply lavatory paper as one of the most educational and creatively rewarding of my career thus far

Inside this second volume of The Complete Future Shocks, you’re going to find a lot of Moore’s examples of this very 2000 AD sort of strip, as the 1981/82 period covered most of Moore’s 30 different Future Shocks that he did across three years and three months in the early 80s. There’s a lot to really enjoy, watching the early iterations of some of, if not the ideas then, certainly, the themes, the tone, the style of Moore’s writing in the early phase of his career. There’s a hell of a lot to enjoy from Moore in here, including some of my favourites, such as ‘The Writing on the Wall‘,  ‘Return of the Thing‘, ‘A Cautionary Fable‘, ‘The Wild Frontier’, and many more, with a sense, at times, that Moore was simply channelling the best of Douglas Adams and going as ridiculous as possible.

However, it’s far from being just about Moore here, and you’ll find the likes of John Wagner, Alan Grant, Kevin Gosnell, Steve Moore writing alongside such greats as Eric Bradbury, Ron Smith, Ron Tiner, Massimo Belarinelli, and many artists who would go on to forge incredible careers, at 2000 AD and beyond, including Paul Neary, Colin Wilson, Garry Leach, Dave Gibbons, Bryan Talbot, Brett Ewins, Mike McMahon, and so many, many more (seriously, I’ve listed the full credits for writers and artists below, it’s large and very impressive).

The joy of the Future Shock is always that you’re just not sure what you’re going to be getting, and it’s immediately obvious here, with the subjects jumping all over the place, and yes, a certain inconsistency in quality at times… but, that is always the case with anything that is determined to be anything ‘Complete’. What is good to see though, is the unrelenting energy and enthusiasm that comes out in these 5-page and less delightful slabs of sci-fi foretelling.
And it’s quite obvious as well, that there are many, many stellar talents, or future stellar talents on show here as well, just take a look at this section from a Jesus Redondo drawn FS and try telling me that it’s not just stunning…

And, no doubt, I’d imagine many of the writers and artists included here would say the same. The Complete Future Shocks could be just an interesting postscript in comics’ , and particularly British comics’ history, but in truth, when you work your way through this huge volume, you’ll realise it’s a lot more than that, it’s a fascinating and thoroughly entertaining trawl through some great creatives doing some great work, five-pages at a time.
The Complete Future Shocks Volume 2: 1981-1982.
Featuring writers (deep breath) Kevin Gosnell, Alan Hebdon, Steve Moore, Alan Moore, Chris Stevens, David Perry, Alan Grant, Roy Preston, JH Teed, Ian Rogan, John Wagner, Jack Adrian, Oleh Stepaniuk, GP Price and artists (even deeper breath) Eric Bradbury, Colin Wilson, Jesus Redondo, Garry Leach, Mike White, Alan Langford, Tony Jozwiak, J Johnson, Paul Neary, Jose Casanovas, John Higgins, Ron Tiner, Bryan Talbot, Ron Smith, Dave Gibbons, Robin Smith, Brett Ewins, Jim Eldridhe, John Cooper, Massimo Belarinelli, Mike McMahon, David Jackson, Jose Ferrer, Rob Moran, D Hine, Alan Craddock, and N Neocleous.
Published by Rebellion / 2000 AD, this features material from 1981 and 1982, including Progs 202, 221-222, 224-226, 230-231, 234-242, 245-259, 263-265, 267-274, 278, 286-287, 289-291, 294-299, the 2000 AD Annuals of 1980-1982, 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1979, Starlord Annuals 1980 and 1982, and Dan Dare Annual 1980.
Now, a couple of my faves from this Moore dominated volume..

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