Joe In The Future

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"Joe in the Future"
Panel from second Joe in the Future story from Heavy Metal Magazine.jpg
Panel from the second JOE IN THE FUTURE story in Heavy Metal Magazine. Art by Trevor Von Eeden.
Date 2003
Appearances From Heavy Metal Magazine

Joe In The Future is an ongoing short story comic strip that appears in Heavy Metal Magazine. The strip is co-written by Horatio Weisfeld and Peter Koch. The first installment of the series appeared in the January 2002 issue of Heavy Metal Magazine. The most recent appeared in the September 2010 issue. Heavy Metal began running Joe In The Future as a print series in 2001 after the initial episode appeared as 3-minute internet flash web animation and Heavy Metal editor Howard Jorofsky suggested Weisfeld allow the magazine to run additional episodes as a print and Weisfeld then followed with several additional Joe in the Future installments for Heavy Metal. The nearly simultaneous appearance of Joe in the Future as both web-animation and print episodes makes the series an early example of web-initiated Transmedia storytelling.

In the series, Joe, spends most of his time seeking out cigarettes (which are hard to acquire in the future) and often comes into difficulty with a variety of humans, robots, mutants, etc., who seek to disrupt Joe’s cigarette centric agenda to suit their own needs. The Joe In The Future is narrated in a terse crime novel style but the stories tend to evolve from commonplace incident rather than good/bad guy type genre conventions. Joe is a tough rogue and his yarns tend to feature Goodfellas-type petty street tension that boils to a violent climax, but through it all the title character tends to eschew anger, malevolence and disrespect. In this regard, the strip is rather unusual among action & crime genre material.

The first Joe in the Future story was developed by writers Horatio Weisfeld and Peter Koch as a short comic book story after Weisfeld, during the late 1980s, was served a cockroach in his food at a Chinese restaurant and imagined the same event playing out in a futuristic setting. That scenario was eventually appropriated by artist Arthur Suydam, a mutual friend of both Weisfeld and Koch, for an episode of Suydam's Cholly and Flytrap series in Marvel Comics Epic Magazine. After this, Weisfeld continued to develop more Joe in the Future material with Koch and, in the early 1990s, commissioned 3 pages of comic artwork from acclaimed Batman illustrator Trevor Von Eeden for what would become artwork featured in both first episode of Joe in the Future in Heavy Metal Magazine and a 3-minute animation that was made from scans of the comic page panels. Weisfeld then submitted the story to both Heavy Metal Magazine and Tundra publishing but it was rejected, and it would be 10 years before Joe in the Future was finally printed in Heavy Metal, after Weisfeld, having had success developing Penthouse Comix, and had become acquainted with Heavy Metal editor Howard Jurofsky. It was eventually printed in the Jan 2002 issue. The second Joe in the Future story then appeared in Heavy Metal in 2003.

2012 Inkpot Award winner Trevor Von Eeden has illustrated several Joe in the Future stories. Other artists have included George Freeman and Floyd Hughes.

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