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Editorial #5 - "We're Not Completely Doom and Gloom!"
So anyway, the world of 2099 as envisioned in the comic series and UnderGround fanfiction had its dark moments, sure. When you have one protagonist getting hooked on corporate-approved drugs, another watching his family being slaughtered by thrillseekers, a former despot getting his face burned off and going on to take over North America, that's to be expected. In a world where organ harvesters lurk in the shadows and agencies base their services around would-be customers' bank account, a given world isn't going to be a walk in the park, or a particularly cheerful place to live.
That's why there's a heck of a lot of humor injected into the stories; otherwise they wouldn't be particularly cheerful to read.
For instance: Spider-Man 2099 had a brilliantly sardonic sense of humor in his civilian life as Miguel O'Hara. Whether it was his biting commentary to his co-workers (to his boss Tyler Stone: "There's a train leaving at 0800 hours. Be under it." To fellow geneticist Jordan Boone: "Yes, it's generally me. Being anyone else makes it difficult to get mail forwarded."), his conversations to his holographic housekeeper Lyla (in which she has at different times changed her appearance to resemble Peter Parker's Aunt May or professed a stalkerish love for him), or his frustrations as Alchemax CEO in Jason McDonald's Moon Knight 2099UGR mini-series (nobody writes a rant memo like Miguel O'Hara), that man cracks my stuff up. Heck, Spider-Man 2099 #17, written by Peter David and illustrated by Rick Leonardi and Al Williamson, contained the flat-out funniest S-Man story I've ever seen -- in which our hero has to rescue his mother (who doesn't want to be rescued) from a violent Thorite rally while in his Miguel identity.
Comedy is alive in other areas of the 2099verse as well. In an early issue of Doom 2099, the Latverian monarch encounters defective video-game duplicates of the Fantastic Four, and his cohort/sidekick Wire asks him about a time when Doom had launched the FF's Baxter Building into space. Doom grudgingly mumbles, "it was a long time ago."
Heck, later on in the life of the comic line, the X-Nation 2099 series was introduced, which showcased a bunch of orphaned mutant slacker kids. While there had been deliberately-funny stories in the 2099verse previously (and especially in 2099 Unlimited), X-Nation was the first 2099 ongoing humor book. Pity it barely lasted six issues.
So why do I bring any of this up? Simple: in order for drama to work, there has to be contrasts. The grittiest, most nightmarish stories work the best with some kind of contrast, usually in the form of humor. And so it is with our 2099UGR stories: sure, there's a lot of dark, violent stuff going on, but our intention is not to depress our readers every month. Even while the FF clones' confrontation with the deranged psion Paranoid Keith was intense and brutal by usual FF standards, I still couldn't resist having Human Torch respond to Keith's "I am a god" line with, "you're God? Funny, I thought you'd be taller, and with more facial hair."
Look for more humor in the coming months. 2099UGR Unlimited #5, written by Jason Karguth, will feature a funny moment involving Spider-Man that I don't want to spoil. Jason McDonald's upcoming Spider-Man 2099/Spider-Man 2211 one-shot will have not one but two spidery wiseacres (though five bucks says the 2099 version is the straight man) teaming up. And I'm making with the funny as well with September's 2099UGR Unlimited #6 -- featuring the lives of comic book fans in 2099 -- and various portions of the Fantastic Four 2099 ongoing.
But why wait for the humor? Here are some parody promo banners I've whipped up in my spare time, because my sense of humor is just that weird:
Okay, now back to the depressing carnage. ;)
-David Ellis, EiC