The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Present": two page comic by Kelly Bahmer-Brouse

In honor of the 54th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of Star Trek, I’m pleased to present my comic “Future, Past and Present,” which appeared in Vagabond Comics‘ Issue #12: 20/20, a collection of optimistic visions of the future. This particular issue is a wonderful balm for this particular year. Physical copies may be purchased for $10 plus shipping from Storenvy; digital copies are $5 over at Gumroad.

If you’re in the greater Cleveland area, copies may also be available at Carol and John’s Comic Shop. (Independent comic shops, and independent bookstores, have suffered greatly during the pandemic, and they appreciate your business.)

A shelf at Carol and John's Comic Shop in Cleveland, Ohio, displaying issues of Vagabond Comics
Putting this here mainly so I can tell you how thrilled I was to see a comics anthology containing my own work on sale at Carol and John’s Comics, my favorite comic book shop — underneath figurines of Cleveland’s most famous native superhero son, no less.

A couple of notes:

Cover of Herbert S. Zim's Stars; detail of illustration by James Gordon Irving of Halley's Comet's 1910 appearance
Cover of Herbert S. Zim’s Stars; detail of illustration by James Gordon Irving of Halley’s Comet’s 1910 appearance

–The kids’ astronomy book I mention in the first panel is Stars by Herbert S. Zim, still in print. The glorious illustrations are by James Gordon Irving. Clearly they made a lasting impression on me.

–The moon rock in the fourth panel came from NASA’s Glenn Research Center — known as the Lewis Research Center from 1941 until 1999. It’s located in a suburb next to the one I lived in when I was in elementary school; several parents of kids I went to school with worked there. Thinking about that causes me to reflect that Cleveland has many random links to space travel and science fiction:

–the 1966 World Science Fiction Convention, held in Cleveland, hosted the world premiere of Star Trek‘s first episode the week before its TV debut.

–legendary science fiction author Harlan Ellison, who wrote the initial treatment of the standout Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” was a native of Cleveland.

–NASA’s official seal, as well as the less formal insignia fondly known as “the meatball,” were designed at the Glenn Research Center by James Modarelli, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art.

–and of course, the state of Ohio has a unique claim to fame when it comes to space travel:

Small scene of an astronaut standing on a lunar surface, captioned "More astronauts have come from Ohio than any other state!"
It’s true! (excerpt from my Map of Ohio)

There are plenty of science fiction works which depict dystopias, and horrible monsters.  But I still think of it, largely, as a genre of hope. If we’re thinking about the future, and describing the future, we still have a chance to change it.

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