How New Time Travel Comic Subverts the Genre
There are time travel stories in which someone can change history for the better and everything turns out fine. And then there are time travel stories like AfterShock Comics’ upcoming February launch, which tells an entire story in its title alone: The Man Who F#%&ed Up Time.
The series “started off as a funny, goofy idea that hit me when I was brainstorming time travel ideas,” writer/co-creator John Layman (Chew, Outer Darkness) tells The Hollywood Reporter. “First off, the title made me laugh, which is always a good thing, and from there it expanded to an exercise to try to take the notion of butterfly effect to the crazy, most absurd situations possible. One small change to the space-time continuum and a million crazy repercussions as a result."
Heat Vision breakdown
At the center of the series is Sean Bennett, a low-level lab worker who — after a chance meeting with his own future self — decides to use a prototype time machine to fix his life with one small jump back in time, just seven days. Things, as you might expect, don’t go to plan.
“When he comes back, all time has been screwed up,” Layman explains. “Dinosaurs walk the earth, [as well as] samurais [and] Vikings, and they are all ruled under the tyrannical iron thumb of Emperor Abraham Lincoln IV. Poor Sean is tasked with setting right the space-time continuum or facing the wrath of the cyborg Future Police. To do this, Sean has to undo everything he did previously, but every action he takes seems to make things worse and worse."
There’s also an element of mystery to the story, the writer adds. “I’m calling it a 'butterfly effect noir,' because even amid all the absurdity of fixing a crazy, f#%&ed-up space-time continuum, Sean also has to get to the bottom of things. If it wasn’t his time-traveling actions that screwed everything up, whose was it? Whodunnit? And why?"
The Man Who F#%&ed Up Time is illustrated by newcomer Karl Mostert, something that Layman pretends to be apologetic about. “This book is his first mainstream gig, and he’s got the unfortunate job of having to draw all the crazy things I throw at him, which is essentially everything in all of human history — and more!” he jokes, adding, “I have to say, he’s stepped up in a huge way, drawing all the madness I’ve asked him for and then upping the scale and scope every issue. I suspect when we finally meet face-to-face he’s going to punch me right in the face.”
The series will debut digitally and in comic book stores on Feb. 5, 2020. Below, some of Mostert’s interior art for the first issue, as well as his cover, and the variant cover artwork from Larry Stroman (X-Factor, Tribe).
by Josh Spiegel
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