During a visit to Artist Alley at this year’s New York Comic Con, I had the
pleasure of meeting writer, Caleb King and artists, Andrew Day and Carla Wyzgala. A highlight of comic-con for many is artist alley, where some of your favorite creators, and some that may soon become favorites gather. The web-comic, “Past Tense” by creators Caleb King and Andrew Day reminded me of the magic of great writing and just how much a talented creative team could help take the comic medium to places different from what so many of us are accustomed to reading.
While speaking with Chicago based illustrator and storyboard artist, Andrew Day, he told me about his comic series, “Past Tense.” A 2013 comic series he co-created with Caleb King (Surreality) is a book that deserves to be the next big thing. It is a series rife with anti-hero sentiments, irony, and wit that puts it in the ranks of books such as “Hellblazer” and “Thomas Alsop.” “Past Tense” is an independently published book, that upon a single glance, could easily be mistaken for an Image or IDW publication that you saw at your local comic store and always wondered why you never picked it up. “Past Tense” by Caleb King and Andrew Day is that good. It is a refreshing take on the superhero element and a uniquely original project that deals with creation, humanity, and a man who enjoys plenty of his vices. The artwork itself is interesting to look at and thanks to the staging of Andrew Day’s layouts, each panel seems ready for screen adaptation.
The first issue of “Past Tense” doesn’t fill the reader in on how expansive and ambitious the project is, but does a fantastic job in introducing you to Adam, who in the last page is described as “an a******” who “drinks Scotch, smokes Marlboros, and is immortal and all-powerful.” After a few pages that contain Adam flirting with a waitress named Jane and confronts a stereotypical do-good superhero that interrupts his eating a sandwich, we come to a sudden end. Left salivating for what happens next and a true desire to see more of Adam, one could only hope that the talented creative team of Caleb King and Andrew Day have more in store for us.
I give “Past Tense” 4 out of 5 big bangs!
Past Tense is the story of Adam, one of the First Men. The First Men are an immortal race of humans that visited Earth in its primordial years and shaped it into a planet that could bear life. Through their work over countless millennium, life began. Adam, our protagonist/antagonist, was not known to be agreeable by his peers. In fact, Adam was generally an asshole. When the First Men’s work was completed, roughly ten thousand years ago, they departed Earth, never to return. They decided it was in their best interest to leave Adam behind. Adam, now stranded on Earth, must wait for the early humans to evolve high enough to create technology that will allow him to go off in search of his people amoungst the stars. Nature, however, abhors an anomaly. The Earth itself can sense Adam’s existence. To combat this singular anomaly, the Earth raises up “super-heroes” throughout history to combat and eliminate this anomaly. Adam, being infinitely more powerful than the super-beings, has no trouble destroying them. The Earth, however, has time and evolution on its side. Throughout time, Adam has been at many of they key points in human history. He was drunk in Egypt when the first pyramids were being constructed. In his irritation with the “savages” who clearly did not have the proper technology to make straight edges, he took it upon himself to show them. He is responsible for the Crusades. He is responsible for Abraham Lincoln’s assasination. He is responsible for the Zeppelin. He is responsible for every major innovation and catastrophe in human existence. Past Tense is a story that shifts between events in the past, and now. The events in the past are moments that somehow correlate to the events in the now. By running stories parallel like this, we can learn about the events that shaped our world as we know it today, as well as develop Adam’s story in the now to see where his future is headed.
*You can find out more about this series at Past Tense; Writer Caleb King could be found at www.thecalebking.com; and illustrator Andrew Day at http://www.andrewday.me/ Be sure to follow them and let them know just how much you love “Past Tense” and their character, Adam.