Tuesday, April 25, 2017

0003: Past Futures

The cover scan below is from the 1989 promotional comic "Dark Horse Futures" (hence this post's title).

A quick Google Image search shows several instances of this cover ("...from Hard Boiled by Geof Darrow", according to the inside front cover), but no other possible sources. That suggests that the art is unique but with all the websites dealing in original art these days I'm sort of surprised that it hasn't shown up in any other form on the internet.

Anyway, Hard Boiled went on to become pretty famous, as did many of the features in this 32-page newsprint promo. Only the front cover is in color, the rest in B&W. Some of the titles touted were already being published when this came out (Concrete, Aliens, Flaming Carrot, Mr. Monster, etc.) and others were imminent. A few, however,,, well, I admit I have no idea what happened to them. (This is the point where Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland burst in and say, "Hey gang, we've got everything we need to start our very own rumor! My uncle will let us use his barn, and we can sell tickets!") Cast your rheumy third eye on this little oddity:

A six-issue color series? Not that I ever saw, and I ravenously seek out whatever I can find from those first ten years of Dark Horse. I don't even remember seeing ads for that. In cases like this (and there are a lot of them once you start digging into old fanzines and publisher solicitations) there are several possible explanations:

  • The project surfaced under another title.
  • The project was brought to another publisher.
  • The project was eventually published in a different format.
  • Any combination of the above three
  • The project was abandoned altogether.
  • The project was brought to a different medium other than comics.
If I had to guess, I'd say 'abandoned'. The inside back cover of the promo has a mail order form for DH back issues. The most recent issue of Dark Horse Presents offered on it is #30 (06/89), which contains a 15-page collaboration by Luke and Norwood called "Project Overkill". There is no masked hero in it and no one mentions the name "Equinox". The next Dark Horse credit I can find for Luke is five years later when he works on several "Comics' Greatest World" titles. Norwood had more credits in the intervening time, mostly on features tied to movies (Aliens, Predator, The Abyss). That shouldn't be surprising, since they were both working in film and TV before and after this. They both worked on the TV movie sequel to Disney's "Not Quite Human" and Norwood provided storyboards for "Abyss", "Honey I Shrunk The Kids", "Star Trek IV" and "Terminator 2". They both still straddle the worlds of film and comics, each having worked on different animation projects for Marvel and DC in the last five years.

So, whither Equinox Prime? I have no idea what happened to it, but if you think you may have spotted it in another form (or if you ARE Eric Luke or Phillip Norwood), drop a line in the comments. I may post other orphan projects in the future (including from this same promo comic) but the next post will be audio or music related again.


  1. Many are the books that are previewed but never appear. DC, Marvel, Image...

  2. Interesting post. In my job I see a lot of vapor ware announcements. Some are very frustrating because one will come from a competitor and the marketing folks go crazy and send everyone spinning in all directions. Sigh. Anyway, keep up the good work.

  3. I also looked at your profile. Gaimin, Hesse, Ellison! I saw Ellison speak quite a few years ago - opinionated and funny. I have quite a few of his collections and an Amazing Fantasy (?) issue devoted to him with a cover by Freas. Also glad to see someone appreciating Ian Hunter. Some of his later stuff is just terrific (Man Overboard) and You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic is one of my favorite albums from high school

    1. I haven't figured out how to imbed images in blog comments as one can in G+ comments, but I'm holding that digest with the Freas cover right now (when I'm not typing, that is). It's Fantasy and Science Fiction for July 1977. According to the indicia it's Volume 53, #1 or Whole #314. I bought it used about 30 years ago and couldn't guess what it goes for these days.


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