Occasionally a book comes along that really makes me think. I don’t mean in the, “Huh, oh that’s neat”, way; no, more like, set the book down, take a step back, sip my coffee and really contemplate this whole thing we call reality. Future Primitive is such a book and if you’ve been following along, you’ve likely begun to make some neural connections that were either non-existent or long dormant as well.
The story revolves around two warring factions of proto-humans, the Australopiths of The Moon Clan and the Skybearer Neanderthals. The earth is on the verge of cataclysmic change and the two races fight for control of the young planet. As with most wars, though, there’s more to the conflict than resource control and bloodletting.
As regards my opening comment, despite its imaginative theme, this book is anything but light reading. If you aren’t familiar with alternative history, the tendency might be to take everything here as fantasy; that would be a mistake. Gunstone and his team have put together a comic that, if it’s ever released in a single volume (crosses fingers*), could very well serve as an illustrated textbook of unconventional cross-cultural creation myths. And by myth I don’t mean fairy tale or fable, some invented narrative that serves to teach a moral lesson. I mean myth in the technical sense, that being a very old story to explain some primordial event of prehistoric origin.
And that is where FP deviates from your average comic; the depth of detail that is achieved in terms of historical mythology and cultural perspectives. From references to ancient Mesoamerican gods to myth as a vehicle for scientific worldviews, there’s much more in the book than could be listed in a simple review; let’s just say that Ancient Aliens has nothing on this comic.
Future Primitive succeeds in making the oftentimes outlandish theories presented by those on the fringes of anthropology and archeology more approachable. The idea that ancient peoples may have possessed advanced knowledge of astronomy and earth sciences comes to life through the eyes Kulkan and the actions of his people. The chosen one archetype really helps to center the story and establish a connection, a brilliant technique that captivates the mind while engaging readers on a personal level.
However, Future Primitive’s strength may also be its main, or perhaps only, weakness. At times the story becomes terribly complex and that density, while necessary, does slow the book down quite a bit. My concern here isn’t that the creators have included unnecessary detail so much as an overwhelming amount for anyone unfamiliar with the concepts being presented. As I said, this is isn’t anything like light reading, so be prepared to do some unpacking, to borrow a term from academia.
For the thinkers and students of the unorthodox, there probably isn’t a better title than this to get the old brain juices flowing.