The Long Tomorrow

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"The Long Tomorrow" is the title of a short story comic written by Dan O'Bannon in 1975, and illustrated by Moebius. In his introduction to the French hardcover graphic story collection "The Long Tomorrow", Moebius wrote:

I drew "The Long Tomorrow" in 1975, while I worked with Alexandro Jodorowsky on a film adaption of "Dune". Originally Douglas Trumbull was to do the special effects, but that was not to be so Jodorowsky hired Dan O’Bannon to replace him. Dan came to Paris. Bearded, dressed in a wild style, the typical Californian post-hippie. His real work would begin at the time of shooting, on the models, on the hardware props. As we were still in the stage of preparations and concepts, there was almost nothing to do and he was bored stiff. To kill time, he drew. Dan is best known as a script writer, but is an excellent cartoonist. If he had wished, he could have been a professional graphic artist. One day, he showed me what he was drawing. It was the story board of ‘The Long Tomorrow’. A classic police story, but situated in the future. I was enthusiastic. When Europeans try this kind of parody, it is never entirely satisfactory, the French are too French, the Italians are too Italian … so, under my nose was a pastiche that was more original than the originals. A believer in parody, Dan continued that tradition. As the story was very strong, I immediately asked if he would allow me to play around graphically, with complete freedom, without conventional pyrotechnics, to refocus on the floating point of view. Pete Club’s costume, for example, was almost ridiculous, far from the traditional raincoat of Bogart. It was the same for most of the visual elements. I scrupulously followed Dan’s story. One day I wish we could publish our two versions side by side. As the strip has pleased everyone, I asked Dan about a sequel, but it did not get his attention, so was simply an adventure I never designed.

The storytelling of "The Long Tomorrow" is inspired by film noir and hardboiled crime fiction, but the story is set in a distant, science fiction future, making it one of the first true cyberpunk stories. Pioneering cyberpunk author William Gibson said of The Long Tomorrow:

So it's entirely fair to say, and I've said it before, that the way Neuromancer-the-novel "looks" was influenced in large part by some of the artwork I saw in 'Heavy Metal'. I assume that this must also be true of John Carpenter's 'Escape from New York', Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'", and all other artefacts of the style sometimes dubbed 'cyberpunk'. Those French guys, they got their end in early.[1]

The comic came to the attention of Ridley Scott and was a key visual reference for Blade Runner.[1] The main character has the key fashion adopted by "the Prodigy" for their song "Firestarter". George Lucas directly copied the launchpad sentinel for the look of the probe droid in "The Empire Strikes Back", completely preserving Moebius' original design. The reference to Ridley Scott and George Lucas is documented in the Foreword passage in "The Long Tomorrow".

It was originally serialized in two segments in the French magazine Metal Hurlant in 1976 and later by the American magazine Heavy Metal in Vol. 1 No. 4 and Vol. 1 No. 5 published in July 1977 and August 1977 respectively.

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