Yesterday’s Tomorrows today – Rian Hughes’ collection reviewed

Rian Hughes Yesterday’s Tomorrows is an absolute treat which comes from the 1980s and 1990s with the writing of Grant Morrison, John Freeman, Tom deHaven, Chris Reynolds and Raymond Chandler. My friend, Dick Jude, introduced me to the name by letting me know that he designed the rocket logo for Forbidden Planet and this collection is a way overdue treat.
There are a couple of noirish style strips (written by Chandler (adapted by deHaven) and Reynolds), John Freeman’s Science Service and two strips from Grant Morrison. Science Service is a great story which displays a lack of belief in the optimism of the 1950s and 60s visions of the future. The shiny futures decay and crack in the artwork and writing. Really and Truly is a strip which ran in 2000AD and one of two collaborations with Grant Morrison and is psychedelic roadtrip which is great fun and reminiscent of the Invisibles.
The anger toward Thatcherism in British comic writing shows through in Dare, the Morrison/Hughes reworking of Dan Dare. This is clearly the star of the collection and is worth buying just for this. Dare has retired and no longer understands the crumbled world around him. After the death of Jacqueline Peabody, he is recruited to be the face of the ruling party in the upcoming elections. He and Digby discover truth behind the death of Peabody and come across his arch enemy.
The anger is wedded to the broken visions of optimism and the stylised versions of the artwork. Hughes’s art work is knowing and an absolute joy to view as it moves through a range of styles. These designs are at once retro and futuristic and the collection as a whole is beautifully designed and well worth getting.

Rian Hughes is signing at Forbidden Planet’s London store on Thursday August 23rd.

Knockabout Comics

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