Monday, October 13, 2003

Futurama #15 - A Review

Written by: Eric Rogers
Penciled by: John Delaney
Inked by: Phyllis Novin
Colored by: Joey Mason
Lettered by: Karen Bates
Editor: Bill Morrison
Publisher: Bongo Comics

It is the year 3000. Space travel is now possible and the Earth has regular contact with a number of races, giving the phrase “illegal alien” a whole new meaning. Intelligent robots exist, powered by alcohol if not the Asimov codes. And comic book geekery has finally lost its stigma and beautiful women are now a frequent sight at any comic book store.

Wow! This really IS Science-Fiction!

In all seriousness, things have changed for comic-book fans in the future, as we find out in this story that takes opens with time-misplaced delivery-boy Fry and his best friend, the surly Robot Bender, at a comic book convention. Captain America is now “Captain Democratic Order of Planets.” Frank Miller is still around and writing, though his head preserved in a jar. And unsurprisingly, Todd McFarlene is not in attendance but is represented with The McFarlentron 6000 Signature Simulator.

These scenes alone might be enough to make this book worth reading for those of us in the business… but for those of us who may not laugh out loud at the idea of “Frank Miller’s Richie Rich”, there is an equally humorous plot to follow. Fry hears about an open casting call for a movie based on his favorite comic of all time; Space Boy In Outer Space.

Fry gets the part after reciting a speech from the comic from memory. And Bender breaks into the business too - hired on as personal buffer to egotistical robot-actor Calculon; his duty to ensure that Calculon’s posterior remain perfectly shiny and well buffed before each shot. And yes, there are plenty of jokes about… that. (“It’s a legit job on the set! There’s even a union for it!”)

Of course something goes wrong with amusing consequences; it turns out movie star life isn’t quite as easy as Fry had hoped and “events ensue” in typical Futurama fashion, with Leela having to stop in and try to save Fry and Bender from their own stupidity and greed.

I can’t say much about the artwork, as it is done as a straight copying of Matt Groening’s style from the TV series- with the exception of the first splash page, which is a rather neat Miller-esque portrait of Space Boy standing over the bodies of some fallen aliens. It all looks just like still shots of the TV show, so I guess the art gets its’ job done. Then again, you don’t read a book like this for the art. You read it to laugh. And this book succeeds quite well in getting you to do that.

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