Future Primitive #1
Story: Kevin Gunstone
Pencils: Slobodan Jovanavic
Letters: Patrick Foster
Colors: Matteo Baldrighi
Release Date: October 15, 2014
Kevin Gunstone’s Future Primitive is exactly the kind of stuff that cult classics are made of; epic scope, exotic locales, and complex cosmogony. The book basically has everything that the discerning geek asks for in a good comic. Seems like the guys over at Markosia are doing a pretty good job of building an indie powerhouse of less traditional stories and storytelling.
Issue #1 of the five-part miniseries opens with an obligatory amount of backstory as we’re introduced to Kulkan the Noble, future king of the Neanderthals. His name, like many others in the book, is an indirect attribution to real world cultures of the past.
That said, Gunstone seems to have mined ancient Mesoamerican, Egyptian, and Norse cosmologies quite a bit for some of the more obscure cultural elements in the book. References to ancient gods like Aten and the Quechua phrase, “ In Lak ‘ech Ala’kin” are detailed enough to lend an air of authenticity to the story. The mix of the factual and the fantastic is immersive and leads to an appropriately primal tone.
Besides the allusions to quasi-primodial mythology, the relationship between the Australopiths and the Neanderthals, two hominid species that predate modern man, is interesting. In Gunstone’s universe, the two are completely separate species ( and there may be some scientific basis for that belief) with the Neanderthals possessing more technological capability than the former.
Of course Slobodan Jovanovic’s art has to be mentioned as well. Murky, moody, and just this side of eerie, Jovanavic’s style is perfect for the world that he and Gunstone are building. His panels are weighty and gripping without being overwrought or too melodramatic.
The tale being woven here is either one of the distant past or far future (a fact that the title’s creators have been purposely cryptic about) and has the feel of Ralph Bakshi’s 1983 rotoscope classic “Fire and Ice”. Or any B-movie sci-fi film from the mid-60’s through early 70’s really. That doesn’t mean that the book is B-movie material. It is clearly influenced by works in the genre,however, but you get the idea that the scale here is grand enough that if this book ever is made into a film, the budget is going to be large enough for solid A-list status.
While Future Primitive may not convert any new fans for Gunstone, it should, as this book has the potential to be something great and well worth reading more than once. The faithful will find this book up to par with the seasoned writer’s past work and in line with the varied offerings of his new publishing home.
By Adam Cadmon