Looking back at the history of the future

Looking back at the history of the future


Spider-Man 2099 #1 1992

Marvel is headed back to the future this December, by 80 years in fact, to the year 2099. I thought that this would be a great excuse to journey back to the original 2099, to where it all started, with a young man named Miguel O’Hara.

Created by Peter David and Rick Leonardi, the Spider-Man of 2099 grabbed my attention immediately – particularly because Miguel was pretty much everything Peter Parker was not. In fact, Miguel does not flip quips with the same ease and frequency as Peter, Miguel doesn’t even talk until page 10! It was a deliberate choice by David to make Miguel have the opposite background to Peter in order to ensure a fresh story with characters who were somewhat familiar to what we had known, but were a whole new story altogether.

I’m not surprised that this iteration of Spidey lore outlasted the original 2099 universe, breaking into the mainstream in television, games and merchandising. Miguel O’Hara has many qualities that echo Tony Stark rather than Peter Parker. He is an arrogant, scientific genius following in the footsteps of his brilliant father. Miguel also has a “modern day” Jarvis type companion in Lyla who has a striking resemblance to Marilyn Munroe.

The ever present and all powerful Alchemax is the big bad in 2099. Miguel is a hotshot at Alchemax and happily works there until having a crisis of conscience. He is contrasted against Alchemax boss Tyler Stone, a Norman Osborn-esque industry titan with zero moral compass. His subtle arrogance is continually present in his habit of deliberately calling Miguel, Mike.

In a nice touch of intertextuality, Miguel is using a Spider-Man comic from history as inspiration for his genetic experimentation. “His name was Spider-Man. One of the premier boys from the old heroic age ‘round the turn of the century.” The first issue ends with the beginning of Miguel’s origin story which is helped along by a vengeful co-worker with murder on his mind.

Leornadi’s art was quite different to others in 1992, but this is not a bad thing as his panels were striking and I have to admit that the 2099 Spidey suit is my second favourite behind the black symbiote suit! His double page spread on page 2 and 3 hooked me immediately and his final frame (a full-page panel) was all at once haunting, terrifying and exhilarating!

If you haven’t read this original run – do it! You will thank me.

John Vader is a child of the 80s who is still growing up.


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KABOOM! Making comics Awesome

KABOOM! Making comics Awesome


Kaboom! #1 1997

Rob Liefeld had an idea, to showcase up and coming comic talents through Awesome Entertainment. There were some great titles amongst this unfortunately short-lived comic ‘powerhouse’ but two were stand outs for me. Kaboom! and Battle Chasers were two titles that kept me busing it back to the comic book store to check if the next issues had arrived. (Unfortunately, some of the lines had issues with production timelines but that is another story.)

Both of these lines stood out to me because hands down they had some of the best art on the shelves. Jeff Matsuda was an inspiration – I wanted to draw like him. I would try to imitate his style in my own drawings and would study his panels in awe of his composition.

Combine the skill of Matsuda with the ideas of Jeph Loeb and I was a complete mark eagerly handing over coin for another shot of inspiration. Kaboom centred around a 16 year old boy, Geof Sunrise who was in the possession of two powerful mystical gloves that elevated him to superhero status. It also brought him to the attention of the Nine, the demon antagonists of the tale who are relentless in their pursuit of Geof.

Geof’s world explodes on his 16th birthday (not your usual sweet 16) and he literally has to fight for his life. He is approached by The Zang a Japanese Sax player, think Mr Miyagi mixed with an Imp, who presents him with the gloves saying “Believe in yourself Geof Sunrise. Believe in the Kaboom Cycle.” It’s a little Flash/Speed Force-ish, but it is a fun story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact the main character ‘dies’ at the end of the first issue and we are left with a tongue in cheek, fourth wall breaking panel featuring the two creators.

Unfortunately it was a short lived run, Awesome Entertainment was beginning to have issues, so Kaboom never really had a chance at longevity. But it’s style is unforgettable and easily appreciated. I would go so far as to say that the art was better than the story (which can be said for a number of titles) but I don’t regret still having these in my collection. My kids will love them just as I did!

John Vader is a child of the 80s who is still growing up.


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It was my Father’s decision

It was my Father’s decision


I still remember it clearly, you usually do when it’s your first time. We were travelling up the east coast of Australia, it was Easter, and I was hooked! That morning the Easter Bunny had visited us and I had received the most precious gift. Yes there was chocolate but that wasn’t the best part. The Bunny (AKA Dad) had left me a comic with my confectionary. The Amazing Spider-Man #299 in fact. A gateway to a lifelong love of comics and storytelling that will never let up.

This Spider-Man wasn’t wearing the same red and blue costume that my bendable action figure had. It was black, and it was AWESOME! He was still Spidey though without any doubt. The quips, the thwips, it was all there. Plus, there was Chance, a mercenary with the swagger of Bruce Campbell and the Rocketeer. Spidey had to save him from the clutches of the Life Foundation, which was a little counter-intuitive but it hooked me even more. His relationship with Mary Jane was explored and how their lives didn’t quite gel as perfectly as you would expect.

But the last sequence of the comic had the largest impact. The menacing reveal of the mystery villain who could seemingly avoid Peter’s spider sense. “Hi, Honey… I’m home!” four simple words that so clearly terrorised Mary Jane, his face reflected in her pupils, accompanied by a demonic cheshire grin. I consider myself really lucky to have been exposed to Todd McFarlane’s drawings that enhanced the story of David Michelinie as my first foray into comics. Stumbling into the ground zero of the behemoth that would be the Venom phenomenon.

I remember reading it again and again. It has some creases now, and the pages have yellowed slightly but it is still to this day my most cherished comic. I loved the art, the way that action and movement danced from panel to panel. I loved the story, the cheekiness of Spider-Man, the hints at more to come. But above all of that I loved the joy that I felt each and every time I opened its pages. I still do.

John Vader is a child of the 80s who is still growing up.


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** All claims made by Comic Creatives are their own and not those of ComX.net.au
*** All art remains the intellectual property of the artist and may not be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the actual artist

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