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SYFY WIRE AfterShock Comics

A dark tomorrow arrives in AfterShock's new sci-fi western, Join The Future #1

By Jeff Spry
Join the Future Hero

The enduring spirit of the resilient frontier is alive and well with a gleaming sci-fi twist in writer Zack Kaplan and artist Piotr Kowalski's upcoming sci-fi western for AfterShock Comics, Join The Future — and SYFY WIRE is saddling up an exclusive preview of the premiere issue.

Future 1

Kaplan first made headlines back in 2016 with his and Giovanni Timpano's scorching Image/Top Cow series, Eclipse. That hot sci-fi book quickly attracted the attention of Robert Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment for small-screen series development with its high-concept narrative premise.

He and artist Andrea Mutti then struck gold with Image/Top Cow's alien outpost title, Port of Earth, which was again grabbed for TV development by Kirkman's Skybound. Fortune following his projects, Universal TV recently snatched up the rights to Kaplan and artist Álvaro Sarraseca's YA supernatural adventure series for AfterShock, Lost City Explorers.

Join the Future Slice 1

Join the Future #1 enters our timeline on March 4, 2020, and is matched with provocative artwork by Kowalski (Wolfenstein, Dark Souls), colors courtesy of Brad Simpson, and letters via Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. A propaganda poster-style variant is included by Brandon Peterson.

The futuristic storyline presents ultra-modern megacities rewarding millions of their citizens with a totally funded life, with nearly every conceivable need met, from food to housing to healthcare, all in a necessary effort to compete in a complicated economic war among cities where population is key. When one of these sparkling cities pressures the self-reliant residents of one of the last true towns in America to join up, the brewing conflict forces the Mayor’s daughter, Clementine Libbey, on an altruistic quest for revenge.

Join the Future Slice 3

Kaplan's plot came from his observation that over the past few decades the USA has seen more people moving from rural and small-town communities toward heavily populated urban cities.

"Join the Future considers this trend and imagines a new Western frontier 50 years in the future, where the American small town, once a symbol of community and self-reliance, is all but gone," Kaplan tells SYFY WIRE.

"And for those who refuse to join these new megacities and to accept a technologically dependent life, and to live off the land, off the grid and off their value -- they’ll have to fight like hell for it. The series joins a headstrong and tenacious young woman, a regular Katniss Everdeen, who goes on a journey of revenge and resistance against forces she can’t possibly overcome, and what follows is a coming-of-age exploration about our ideals in the face of an ever-changing future.”

Join the Future Slice 4

“Piotr Kowalski and Brad Simpson capture an awesome mix of Western vistas and breathtaking landscapes, along with hi-tech gunslinging action, a powerful duo of detailed inks and nuanced colors, along with Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou's precise and polished letters," Kaplan notes. "I couldn’t be more proud and excited by the creative force here."

Journey into tomorrow in our exclusive peek at AfterShock Comics' Join the Future #1 in the gallery below, with its engaging clash of promising progress and old-fashioned ideals, then tell us if it spurs your imagination enough to join the resistance when it arrives in 2020.