FAILURE TO LAUNCH/ Scripts by HELEN GREETHAM, DANI COLMAN, KEEPER, E. ALTMAN, VIOLET KITCHEN, ROWAN OATS, BLUE DELLIQUANTI, IRIS JAY, EVAN DAHM, COLIN O’MAHONEY, KELCI D. CRAWFORD, TRIPLE DREAM COMICS, SHANNON SAAR, CAT PARRA, ASHLEY HASFAL, RYAN ESTRADA, J. DALTON, CS GARCIA MARTINEZ, HARRY “HBOMBERGUY” BREWIS, MADDI GONZALES, LORE VICENTE, BARBARA MAZZI, ANDRE VALENTE, VICTOR SANTIAGO, KATIE TIEDRICH, RYAN NORTH, ERIN ROSEBERRY, TUISKU H,, COLTON FOX & MATTHEW R. FRANCIS/ Art by HELEN GREETHAM, EINAR V. MASSON, HAMILTON, E. ALTMAN, VIOLET KITCHEN, ROWAN OATS, BLUE DELLIQUANTI, IRIS JAY, EVAN DAHM, MARI ROLIN, KELCI D. CRAWFORD, TRIPLE DREAM COMICS, SHANNON SAAR, CAT PARRA, ASHLEY HASFAL, AARON CRUZ, J. DALTON, CS GARCIA MARTINEZ, SLITCH, ALICE WOODS, LORE VICENTE, BARBARA MAZZI, ANDRE VALENTE, BOLU ORIOWO, KATIE TIEDRICH, KEL MCDONALD, ERIN ROSEBERRY, TUISKU H,, COLTON FOX & MAKI NARO/ Edited by KEL MCDONALD/ Published by IRON CIRCUS COMICS
When I was a boy, I delighted in trivia books about weird science and weirder history. When I was a student, my favorite teacher was the history professor who told us the stories you don’t hear city elders bragging about on the Fourth of July, like how the first British colony in the Americas was founded by cannibals and prostitutes. Even as a somewhat more mature man, I still delight in stories of the odd, the ill-advised and the just plain idiotic.
As such, I was delighted to have a chance to preview Failure To Launch: A Tour Of Ill-Fated Futures.
Made up of 31 stories and just over 300 pages, Failure To Launch has a wide variety of comics profiling a number of dreamers who were ahead of their time and con artists who should have done hard time. There’s Herman “Noordung” Potočnik, whose early research into generating artificial gravity with centrifugal force would have revolutionized space travel… if it weren’t cheaper to build the kebab-shaped space stations we use today instead of the bagel-shaped ones Potočnik proposed in 1929. Then there’s Jacques Toussaint Benoit, whose dreams of near-instant global communication in 1850 might have changed the world… if he hadn’t gone all-in on the idea that snails are telepathic.
What follows are six pages from one story, “The Paradise Within The Reach Of All Men,” with script by Ryan North and art by Kel McDonald. It details the rather sordid career of inventor John Etzler, whose plan to build a mechanized, workerless city ended with him fleeing the country and disappearing after a Royal Inquiry determined that his Etzer’s city was “no utopia; it was a cold-blooded system for murder.”
The quality of the stories varies wildly, with some artwork being amateurish and some of the writing being deadly dull, presenting facts with no flair. Thankfully, with over 300 pages, there is far more good than bad to be found. At the time of this writing, Failure To Launch: A Tour Of Ill-Fated Futures has been fully founded on Backerkit, but is still available for advance orders. I recommend it highly to my fellow lovers of the weird and wonderful.