Comic Book: Tomorrow Stories
At the end of The Nineties
, Alan Moore
founded Americas Best Comics
, an attempt to put a new twist on superhero
comics from well before The Dark Age of Comic Books
. Tomorrow Stories
, especially so. Where Tom Strong
started with mostly issue-length adventures, and Promethea
had a mystical adventure arc that eventually went cosmic
, Tomorrow Stories
was an Anthology Comic
that brought back the 6-10 page stories common in The Golden Age of Comic Books
. It was a superhero Anthology Comic
long after the fashion had passed.
Each issue comprised four stories, with five features introduced overall. These were:
- Greyshirt: A former low-level gangster with an armored shirt, a badass kerchief, and a cool cane.
- Cobweb: A sexy vigilante who worked closely with her chauffeur/sidekick Clarice.
- First American: An ineffectual Jerk Ass who happened to have a costume and a resentful sidekick in U.S. Angel.
- Jack B. Quick: A boy scientist given to experiments like putting buttered toast on a cat's back. (You see, toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet.) Never one to let morality get in the way of Science!, to the despair of his folksy parents.
- Splash Brannigan: A living blob of four-dimensional ink. Quite friendly.
Tomorrow Stories as a whole provides examples of:
Individual features provide examples of:
- Arch-Enemy: Johnny Apollo.
- Ascended Extra: Nearly every supposedly one-shot character from the Tomorrow Stories Greyshirt segments reappear in Indigo Sunset, either for a cameo or revealed to have been more ingrained in Greyshirt's life than previously alluded.
- Ax-Crazy: Something of a staple in Greyshirt's Rogues Gallery, most noticeably Johnny Apollo and Lapis Lazuli.
- Back from the Dead: Johnny Apollo. The Lure reconstructed him using parts of itself.
- Badass Normal: And how!
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Ella Bly sold Franky Lafayette out to Johnny Apollo in exchange for help in launching her music career. Well, years later she's now a famous blues singer and pianist, but her face was badly burned by Johnny with an iron.
- Cool Big Bro: Greyshirt.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Fanman, of Fanman Productions, really Johnny Apollo.
- Covers Always Lie: Averted and subverted. The covers of Indigo Sunset feature stories that, while they aren't the main focus of the issue, are featured as newspaper stories in the back. This is keeping in the theme that the title Indigo Sunset is the name of the Indigo City newspaper.
- Dating Catwoman: With psychotic serial killer Lapis Lazuli.
- Death Equals Redemption: Spats Katz' longtime moll Candy sincerely repents in prison just before her execution. An explosion in the prison allows her to escape, although it's implied that the district attorney, an old childhood friend of both Candy and Greyshirt, purposefully turned a blind eye to her escape.
- Demoted to Extra: Greyshirt's sidekick, Rocky, barely appears in Indigo Sunset at all.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Carmine Carbone and Lips Lafayette. Carmine went to pot du to excessive drinking. Lips sold Carmine out to the police because prison was much safer than on the streets, considering Spats Katz and Johnny Apollo could've easily had him killed in the state he was in. She then goes blind from glaucoma and gives up her second child by Carmine for adoption. Their daughter, named Catherine Smith, is born slightly retarded from Lips' drinking and is raised in an orphanage. By Indigo Sunset, Lips is a blind newspaper vendor called "Lady L", Carmine is a shell of himself who lives in a halfway home for convicts, and Catherine is a twelve-year old papergirl. The three are kidnapped by Fanman (Johnny Apollo), both in an attempt to draw out Greyshirt and because Lips and Carmine could easily sue for the profits made from The Carbones. As Lips and Carmine try to get out of the Indigo City mines, the sight of the Lure brings Carmine back to his senses. The two plan to make up for all the lost years by getting married and raising Catherine.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Lure.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Lapis Lazuli originally designed a ray that turned anything into sapphire. It accidentally hit her and turned her skin diamond hard and blue. It also gave her a form of immortality.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Vinnie Assapunto.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Subverted, in that most of the people who do the smoking are mobsters.
- Heel-Face Turn: Integral to his Super Hero Origin.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: People commented that his alter ego, Franky Lafayette, wasn't so much a bad guy as someone who was in for the adventure. Not like his former partner and friend, Johnny Apollo, who was a sociopathic nut.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Ella Bly, so-called "whore with a heart of gold". She actually sold Franky Lafayette out to Johnny Apollo in exchange for a start on her singing career, but upon realizing that Franky is the only man who has ever treated her decently informs him that Johnny is on his way. Franky escapes in time, but for her trouble Ella has her face disfigured with an iron by Johnny. On his part, Greyshirt has implied that he doesn't hold it against Ella.
- Insufferable Genius: Artist Andy Savannah, who made a living simply copying panels from Hoodlum Hits, the comic that was about Franky Lafayette and Johnny Apollo.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Lips, Candy, and Ella.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Ella Bly selling Franky Lafayette out.
- Noodle Incident: Greyshirt's adventure with Pandora Siam is one of the few exploits of his career that's never been fully explored upon.
- Painting the Medium: The word "Greyshirt" would always appear among the scenery, because this feature was an homage to The Spirit
- Pet the Dog: Despite being a generally malicious and monstrous gangster, Spats Katz, in Indigo Sunset, pushes his moll Candy out of the way of Johnny Apollo's car, crippling him for life.
- The Power of Love: The fabled Star of Indigo sapphire, a giant sapphire which has the uncanny ability of uniting a man and woman together.
- Punny Name: Vinnie Assapunto hates being the butt of jokes. Assapunto = ass + pun. Also, the title of his story is "The Butt Kicks Back", which is another rearrangement of his last name to "ass punt".
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Hit man Vinnie Assapunto goes on one after discovering that he's the butt of several jokes in Indigo City. The rampage is him tracing the jokes back to their original source, knocking off everyone he questions, until he finds out the source is really his psychiatrist.
- Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Lady L.
- Shout-Out: to Will Eisner's The Spirit
- Spin-Off: Was the only character from Tomorrow Stories to receive his own spin-off miniseries, which not only incorporated everything from the previous stories but further expanded his backstory.
- Story Within a Story: Indigo Sunset contained a number of short comic strips done in the style of newspaper comics, up until the fifth issue.
- That Man Is Dead: The world thinks Franky Lafayette is dead. He thinks it's better that way.
- Those Wacky Nazis: One story focused on Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, reincarnated as cockroaches in an old woman's kitchen. They're later exterminated with some roach motels, but come back again as a germ culture that's implied to be incinerated.
- Anything That Moves
- Arch-Enemy: Her only reoccurring foe is Octavia Price, the Money Spider.
- Art Shift: In nearly every issue Melinda Gebbie worked on, the storytelling format and art style changed.
- Church of Happyology: A story about Scientology got eighty-sixed by parent corp DC Comics, much to Moore's displeasure.
- Dating Catwoman: One story focused on Cobweb's sadomasochistic relationship with a male villain called the Mongoose. But the relationship was pretty much a straightforward hero-villain type of thing, except Cobweb's internal dialog played it out like they were lovers, as a parody of Foe Yay in the superhero comic.
- Death Equals Redemption: Cobweb's ancestor La Toile ascends to heaven after becoming bored with the debauchery of the underworld and realizing that life is meaningless. Or something.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Clothilde, the assistant of the 19th Century Cobweb, La Toile, became disillusioned when her mistress's tastes started becoming more debased than usual, so she fled to America with their children.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Cobweb. She discovers that her enemy the Mongoose has come back from the dead (again) but has kidnapped another superheroine. Cobweb's response was to burn the building down with the two of them still in it.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: With Greyshirt. She's the one woman he could never have, and you can probably figure out why. Well, they had sex, of course, but still.
- Legacy Character: The current Cobweb is not the first.
- Lighter and Softer: The "Li'l Cobweb" story. Only that could be applied to half of the story, as what Li'l Cobweb believes to be a case involving Russian anarchists is really her married neighbor having an affair with a police officer. The artwork shifts from intentionally cute while focusing on Cobweb and Li'l Clarice, to more adult oriented when focusing on the neighbor.
- Living Doll Collector: Phallocrates Phlange.
- Lost Tribe: The Lost Housewives of New Jersey.
- Multiple-Choice Past
- All There in the Manual: ABC A-Z #2 revealed that the other incarnations of Cobweb and Clarice that have appeared in the 19th Century, the 1940s and 1960s were the ancestors of the current Cobweb and Clarice. It also revealed that the Cobweb of the 1940s was in fact the first heroic one, as all the previous ones were all debased and evil. Okay granted, Cobweb is still a bit debased.
- Rogues Gallery: Money Spider, the Lost Housewives of New Jersey, Little Bo Peep, Dr. Phallocrates Phlange, and the Mongoose.
- Shout-Out: The story featuring Cobweb investigating a disappearnce in the fairy tale community seems to be one to Fables. Or a Take That, depending on your perspective.
- Stripperific: Mostly see-through costume.
- Too Kinky to Torture: If anything, her internal monologues while battling the Mongoose reveal this. But Cobweb's very good at pretending otherwise.
- Truly Single Parent: Cobweb and Clarice are the latest generation of a bloodline of parthenogenetic Central American lesbians.
- Vapor Wear: Cobweb wears nothing beneath her see-through costume.
- Woman Scorned: Her so-called "relationship" with the Mongoose ends this way.
- Writer Revolt: While nothing confirmed, Melinda Gebbie stopped doing the artwork for Cobweb after issue seven. The story after that would've been the aforementioned Scientology story.
- You Are Fat: Cobweb, after killing the Mongoose and his captive Astounding Woman by setting his hideout on fire, tells the press that Astounding Woman "was probably too fat to escape in time".
- A Date with Rosie Palms: During a brief stint when U.S.Angel was possessing F.A., she saw him heading into the bathroom and take out some magazines of pigs and farm animals in lingerie. Thankfully she got out before she saw anything more.
- Arch-Enemy: His most recurring foe, the fat, suicidal opera singer Gerta Dammerung.
- Butt Monkey: U.S.Angel once discovered a portal into F.A.'s mind, which she then exploited to his rogues gallery by renting his body out. The tables turned when F.A. discovered a similar portal into U.S.Angel's mind.
- Cassandra Truth: The first issue had Gerta trying to destroy the world because of a Jerry Springer-esque T.V. show, thinking the world deserves to be put out of it's misery. By the end of the story, F.A. and U.S.Angel concede that she may have had a point, as the show host is actually the front man for an alien invasion, only the audience actually sides with him when the truth comes out.
- Dating Catwoman: Actually married Gerta once, before leaving her for his aromatherapist.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: F.A. marries a woman named "Blonde Woman", who's later referred to as "Blonde Transsexual" after she divorces him and has a sex change. Although their kids say her name's not Stella.
- Idiot Hero
- It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context: Gerta once tried to flood the world using the genetically engineered, giant eyeballs of Gwenyth Paltrow. Why? Because she's twenty pounds overweight and will never get married.
- Legacy Character: A story in America's Best Comics 80 Page Giant reveals that First American is the descendent of the First First American, who originally came up with the idea of fighting crime in a costume with a funny name (he had the funny name, not the costume). U.S.Angel quickly points out that this completely contradicts his established origin.
- No Fourth Wall
- Shout-Out: to Jack Kirby and Joe Simon's Fighting American.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: The relationship between F.A. and U.S.Angel shifts from her being a disrespected sidekick, to her barely putting up with him.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Gerta. Her attempts at destroying the world usually stem from her belief that it needs to be put out of its misery, or because of homicidal depression caused by her lack of a love life.
- Yaoi Fangirl: His sidekick U.S.Angel enjoys writing Starsky & Hutch slash fiction.
Jack B Quick
- Added Alliterative Appeal: This living liquid loves like letters.
- Comically Missing the Point: In a story that had Splash go up against a white-colored doppelganger, after spending the entire story fighting, they dawn on an epiphany about co-operation and friendship... and then Splash disintegrates him. The moral? Don't bet on the white guy.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Sidney J. Kaput, Daisy's editor and the owner of Kaput Comics, once went on a rant about his carefully controlled heroin addiction, and how he once stalked Flo Steinberg and Marie Severin.
- No Fourth Wall
- Plucky Girl: Daisy Screensaver.
- Rhymes on a Dime: He's energetic! He's poetic! He does this so much it's pathetic!
- Shout-Out: This time to Plastic Man.