Like The Simpsons
, Futurama ventured into the Comic Book
scene thanks to the TV show's success. Between 2003 and 2006, and from 2013 onward, it is the only Futurama
media being made.
Tropes found in this series include:
- Adam and Eve Plot: After the Professor teleports Earth's population to the dinosaur age, minus Fry, Bender, Leela and Cubert, the Omicronians show up to salvage the uninhabited Earth, unless our heroes can display one hundred Earthlings, proving Earth still has people. This trope may have been Fry's idea, earning him a slap from Leela.
Fry: Okay, fine. Then you come up with another way for us to repopulate the planet.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: A somewhat unusual example from #31:
Professor Farnsworth: Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Hermes?
Hermes: That depends. Are you wearing your thought-controlling glasses again?
- The Cameo: Quite a few well-known (and less well-known) comic and cartoon characters make background appearances over the course of the comic — but issue #31, As The Wormhole Turns, takes it Up to Eleven with multiple cameos from such diverse characters as Brak, Soundwave (with Laserbeak), The Great Gazoo, Howard the Duck, Marvin the Martian, Metal Men, Mork from Ork and even DoDo, the Kid From Outer Space, and his robot bird Compy.
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Invoked and parodied in issue #46, Follow The Reader, where the reader is every so often given choices on whether to skip forward or backward in the comic — but the reader's choices don't actually affect the story in any way, they just decide how much of it you actually read (and sometimes alter the context of a scene a little by making different set-ups or payoffs for jokes).
- Some of the alternate paths offered are even complete jokes in and of themselves, such as the part where Fry wishes he still had the reality-warping die from Bender's Game, and the reader is told to "cut this panel out, then cut the shape out, tape it together, and you have a die! Number it, roll it and go to that page! Unless you've gone stupid, then just read on."
- One of the paths even leads to a story that was covered in an earlier issue, and if picking his path, the reader is told to go read that issue.
- And the ending leads to a final path telling the reader to go back to the beginning of the issue, and it's implied several times during the story itself that the story is actually a Stable Time Loop where the same things happen over and over.
- Crossover: The two-part "Futurama Simpsons Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis".
- Deadly Game: Who's Dying to be a Millionaire?, a game show where the contestants run the risk of being vaporised after getting far enough in it. Predictably, Momcorp is behind this, and Morbo the host. Fry enters it in order to raise up money to save Planet Express.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Played with. At the end of one issue, Bender gives the reader a list of (fake) sites to illegally download comics from, saying "If you don't see the person you're stealing from, that makes it okay."
- Disneyfication: Mostly averted — while all the comics produced by Bongo are inherently kid-friendly, and the number of adult jokes in the Futurama comic is notably lower than in the TV show, they still have a few Getting Crap Past the Radar moments, and Bender is still allowed to tell people to bite his shiny metal ass.
- Possibly parodied in the Timebender trilogy — apparently Leela isn't allowed to say "ass," but Bender is:
Leela: Fry, after I stop screaming in terror, remind me to kick your butt.
Bender: After you kick his butt, I'm gonna kick his ass!
- Fan Disservice: The Professor and Hermes go almost completely nude at a car-wash, scaring away all the customers.
- Fantastic Racism: The Timebender triology features a version of the Salem Witch trials... but with robots. Fortunately (for the robots), humans relied on robots to give them their weaknesses, and got played for chumps.
- The Future: Like the TV show, the future is the setting for the comic series.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: One issue has a plot twist revolving around erectile dysfunction.
- Jerkass Gods: During the Timebender trilogy story, Leela encounters a version of Ancient Greece ruled by robot gods, who routinely abuse the locals, and demand the sacrifice of kittens. It turns out they were built to govern justly, but almost immediately became corrupt and mad. Later on, the robot Hermes tries to blow up the world.
Leela: Why would you do that?
Robo-Hermes: It's the sort of thing gods do when we're bored!
- Lethal Chef: Bender's god-awful cooking ends up with him becoming Nixon's official health guru. He quickly uses the opportunity to turn New New York into a sweatshop. It also drives Hermes to eat Fry's pants.
- Mythology Gag: From "Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis":
Lisa: That's a great picture! So realistic!
Fry: Yeah, so much that Leela crashes into it almost every week!
- No Export for You: The UK version got cancelled at the end of 2013 due to catching up with the US originals. The next issue would've used content from the issue still on sale in the Us, and the following one would've overtaken the source! However, this means that the US issues 69 onwards will not be reprinted in the UK unless they get re-released as trade paperbacks.
- Running Gag: A Waterfall (Free Waterfall the Third, to be precise) shows up on a lethal game show. The predictable quickly happens, much to Bender's happiness.
Bender: I swear, I would weld myself to this couch if I thought I could see a hippie die on TV each night.
- Schizo Tech: Bender is an advance robot capable of recording things, but he only plays Betamax. He refuses to take the upgrade on the grounds that he prefers Betamax.
- Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: Most often, the comic follows the tone and style of the TV show, but some issues play around with the medium and takes full advantage of this being a comic.
- Professor Farnsworth sometimes plays the part of Fourth Wall Observer, acknowledging that he's in a comic and directly addressing the reader, though the other characters tend to just write this off as senile ramblings. Cubert, being a clone of the Professor, also seems aware of his status as a comic book character, but tends to be ignored by the others when bringing it up. Other characters, like Bender and Zoidberg, also seem to be addressing the reader at times, but most often this is a Fourth Wall Psych.
Professor Farnsworth: Here at Planet Express, we approve of free will. In fact, in this story, you can choose from several alternative paths. So, if you want to know what happens next, read on, but if you'd rather follow Bender, go to page 9.
Hermes: Who are you talking to?
Professor Farnsworth: Why, the reader, of course. But to keep up our facade, I'll tell you I was talking to Scruffy, who was reviewing the human resources manual.
Scruffy: Scruffy uses it to conceal Etch-A-Sketch porn.
- A few issues Paint The Medium to an almost ludicrous degree, such as Issue #20, Bender Breaks Out, where Bender accidentally tears through the comic page and spends some time "on the other side of the page," before invading the (fake) back-up feature, Backstage at Bongo, and talking to Bill Morrison and other members of the staff at Bongo before getting bored and leaving when they tell him they don't have any beer. Consequently, the Professor requests the help of the reader, basically telling them to fold certain pages of the comic in half so they'll tell a different story and Bender's escape never happens in the first place. It works.
- Subverted Catch Phrase: For some reason, the characters' standard catch phrases tend to be subverted and parodied more often than in the TV show. Bender's "Bite my shiny metal ass!" is the most common parody target, but Professor Farnsworth's "Good news, everyone!" gets a few as well.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In one issue, Leela, Fry and Bender are revealed to be both this and Always Second Best to one of the earlier Planet Express crews; a one-eyed woman named "Sheila," a slacker guy named "Sly" and a robot named "Mender." The Always Second Best part is subverted by the end of the issue, when it's revealed that Mender killed Sly and Sheila when they didn't live up to his standards, and replaced them with holographic simulations. ("I'm a mender robot. That's what I do. I mend things. Make them better.")
- Take Over the World: Bender actually accomplishes this in an altered timeline. He eventually got bored and handed Earth back to humanity for a few bucks, then got a job as a shoe-shiner.
- Take That, Us / Take That, Audience!: There are a lot of gags here about how comic books are pointless, stupid and without any kind of merit, and how anyone who reads them is a total loser. Fry, of course, is consistently portrayed as a big fan of comics.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: In issue 67, Zoidberg accidentally eats the Professor's newest invention and ends up travelling between the past, present and future a la The Time Traveler's Wife. During the process, he learns that Mom and Richard Nixon will marry and declare war on each other, causing an apocalypse. With nobody else aware of this (and thinking he's crazy), he's forced to save the day by himself.