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Comic Book / Futurama

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Like The Simpsons, Futurama ventured into the Comic Book scene thanks to the TV show's success. The comic book series was published by Bongo Comics and has been published bi-monthly in the United States since November 2000 (apart from a brief break for the crossover). During the production hiatus between 2003 and 2006 and from 2013 to present it is the only new Futurama material being made. The comic book series continued its run, even after two cancellations of the TV series, until 2017.


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.
  • Amusingly Short List: Bender says that all he needs is "booze and floozies".
  • 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?
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the issue #33 Amy accidentally spritzes herself with a less-than-refreshing enlarging spray that turn her gradually in a giantess and starts to destroy New New York.
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  • Burn the Witch!: Parodied in an issue when Bender gets sent back through time into a Salem-esque area where townsfolk, having run out of witches to burn for their sour milk, spoiled crops and bitter wives, have started hunting robots. Of course, being prejudiced morons, they asked the robots for a list of their weaknesses, and promptly got handed a book of such "facts" such as "robots feel no pain when their hair is cut", "robots are ticklish" and "robots float in water". Once the final test is complete, they try burning the poor sap, only to find ponds aren't easily set aflame. This gets the guy trying to do this some suspicious looks. Bender steps in and tries telling the townsfolk that their deeds are wrong, only to clue them in on the real robots. One Smash Cut later they're both being burnt alive. Of course, being robots, they don't burn at all.
  • 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.
  • Comically Small Bribe: When the DOOP president comes to Planet Express, asking them to go find a missing Zapp Brannigan, they're reluctant until she offers them a generous bonus of twice their usual fee. This is enough to convince Bender to hold Leela at gunpoint all the way to Zapp's last location (in case she tries killing them or herself to get away). As Kif reveals, this bonus amounts to a whole twenty dollars.
  • Crossover: The two-part "Futurama Simpsons Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis".
  • Crossover Couple: In the Simpsons crossover, Mom and Mr. Burns.
  • 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.
  • Deity of Human Origin: It is featured briefly an alternate timeline, where Greeks disillusioned with democracy, switched to theocracy and built robot gods to rule them. It ended as you could expect from ancient Greek deities.
  • 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, 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!
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even Zapp Brannigan - who has no qualms about sending armies of untrained civilians on suicide missions - draws the line at Child Soldiers and is horrified after realizing he was brainwashed into making the camp's children into soldiers in Issue 41.
  • "Everyone Is Gone" Episode: Following on from the previous issue, the first part of the Time Bender Trilogy has Fry, Bender, Leela, and Cubert returning to Earth only to find everyone missing and the planet deserted. It is revealed at the end of the said issue that everyone had actually been sucked into a Time Vortex.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: One story had Captain Zapp Brannigan really enjoying being treated like a deity by a tribe of insect-like aliens. They catered to his every whim and fed him constantly, leading to a huge weight gain. It turned out he had been pumped full of their larvae and was acting as a living incubator. In the end, the crew of the Planet Express Ship managed to rescue him and extract the larvae, which looked like brine shrimp. Bender made a stew out of them and served it as dinner. Only Dr. Zoidberg was willing to eat it.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The Professor and Hermes go almost completely nude at a car-wash, scaring away all the customers.
    • Not to mention an X-Mas play that ends with the Professor running onstage naked.
  • 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.
  • Feigning Healthiness: Discussed in "A Cure for the Common Clod"— Fry has an alien disease similar to a cold, but his friends wonder if he's Playing Sick. Zoidberg then notes that usually, his patients pretend not to be sick.
  • Foot Bath Treatment: In "A Cure For the Common Clod," Fry is seen on the cover unwell with his feet in a bowl of water.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: One episode takes place in a freak show. Exhibits include Zoidberg's uncle, a bearded lady, and a five-fingered man.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: The comic did this in issue 46, Follow the Reader; it starts with the Professor talking directly to the reader to explain how the Gamebook format works. It then appears that he was babbling because Bender spiked his drink.
  • Fur Bikini: Leela wears one in issue 38 (using the fur of a leopard defeated by her before).
  • The Future: Like the TV show, the future is the setting for the comic series.
  • Future Me Scares Me: One issue has an old, bitter Leela from the future appear thanks to one of the Professor's inventions. Leela is unnerved by her.
    • Teenaged Leela, on the other hand, sees the current Leela as the "old and bitter" Leela.
  • Gamebooks: 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.
  • Gasshole: During the Simpsons crossover, Bart constantly tries to prank substitute teacher Fry, who knows all of the tricks. However, there's a loud "BRAAAAP", and one of the students congratulates Bart on the whoopee cushion gag. Fry interrupts and says, no, there was no cushion. That was just him. All of the students go "Ewwwwwwwww!" invoked
  • Genre Savvy: In the first part of the Simpsons crossover, Fry is easily able to navigate Springfield because he spent hours playing a Simpsons video game when he was younger and has the layout of the town completely memorized. Later, Amy unexpectedly saves the day when she reveals that she disguised herself as Smithers to keep an eye on Burns, having seen enough Simpsons episodes to know that Burns was about due for an evil plot.
  • Getting Sick Deliberately: The strip "Night of the Automated Dead" has Bender infect himself with a robo-cold so that he can get sick days off work. However, his attempts fail even after being fully exposed so he files a complaint with Planet Express. As it turns, the virus has started to mutate within him, turning it into a virus that creates Robotic Undead.
  • 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.
  • HA HA HA—No: Subverted:
    Bender: So we're free to go?
    Robot Devil: Free to go? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA! I'm sorry, I just remembered a joke Robot Hitler told me this afternoon. Oh, and yes, you're free to go! Bye now! Don't forget to sin!
  • Hidden Depths: In "The Cure For the Common Clod," Fry passes the thought-to-be-extinct common cold to the rest of New New York City, which mutates in their 30th century bodies, causing them to revert to their most primal selves.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: Bender after impregnating Ned Flanders' jukebox.
  • 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!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Frequent, especially in "Futurama Returns," which is an Overly Long Gag about the series cancellation and revival similar to the opening of the subsequent movie Bender's Big Score. Elsewhere there are plenty of references to the comic format.
    Fry: Maybe this is for us!
    Bender: It better be. There's only six pages left!
    Fry: What?
  • 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.
  • Lighter and Softer: For the most part, this series doesn't have the dramatic, emotional moments the tv show had, and while there's still plenty of adult humor it's not quite as dark. It's still a very funny, well written, and overall deserving tie-in to the television series, though.
  • Mistaken for Undead: Played With. Professor Farnsworth meets his old crew who he thought had died in a vortex but really they survived. He thinks they're zombies but they confirm they are not. However, it turns out that three of them (Sheila, Sly, and Dr. Zoidberg the Second) were killed afterwards and replaced by holograms. Mender the robot, however, is real; in fact he's the one who killed them.
  • Mythology Gag: "Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis" references the show's theme sequence.
    Lisa: That's a great picture! So realistic!
    Fry: Yeah, so much that Leela crashes into it almost every week!
    Leela: Humph!
  • Oddly Specific Greeting Card: In "Freaky Fry-Day," the 31st century has a Great Nephew Day, and Fry comes across a greeting card for the specific relationship.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: In "A Whole Lotta Leela," Leela gets stuck with three time duplicates of herself as a baby, a teen, and an old woman. She's not happy with this setup as the baby cries endlessly, the teen is a rebellious brat, and the old lady is smug. However, by the end of the comic, she admits that she does like her other selves, and thus likes herself.
  • Positive Friend Influence: When Bender's adoptive parents ban Fry as a perceived Toxic Friend Influence, Bender is quick to set them straight.
    Bender: He's not a bad influence! He's good! He's so good, some of it accidentally rubs off on me sometimes!
  • Precocious Crush: In "A Whole Lotta Leela," teenage Leela has a crush on Fry, who's over a decade her senior. Naturally he's weirded out by it.
  • Reference Overdosed: It's rare to find an issue that doesn't have a reference to movies, comic book, video games, etc..
  • Refugee from TV Land: The Simpsons characters (and later, non-Simpsons fictional characters) being pulled out of comics into the Futurama world.
  • The Reveal: One comic reveals why Zapp remains a high position in spite of being blatantly incompetent. In the past he used to be the physical and psychological equivalent of Captain America, the perfect human super soldier. Nixon wanted to clone him into an army to take over the galaxy but, when Wernstrom was chosen to run the project, Farnsworth sabotaged it out of envy. Not only were the clones ruined, the process backlashed onto Zapp, scrambling his DNA turning him into the hedonistic, womanizing idiot he is today. After disposing of him failed, Zapp blackmailed Nixon and DOOP into giving him his position, because attempting to clone him for galactic domination is illegal.
  • Revolting Rescue: In "A Cure for the Common Clod", once the citizens of New New York recover from a cold-like alien disease, they sneeze up Monstrous Germs, which coalesce into one germ that attacks the city. To save the day, the Planet Express crew infects the mutants, who sneeze up antibodies, which form another blob, that fights off the germ. It works, however, the blobs explode into snot, leaving the entire city and everyone in it Covered in Gunge.
  • Robo Family: In one issue, Bender is adopted by two "parent" robots, who quickly forbid him from hanging out with Fry.
  • Robotic Undead: One strip of the comic book ("Night of the Automated Dead") has a pile of deceased robots buried under the Planet Express become exposed to a mutated version of a virus that Bender was carrying in an attempt to get out of work, leading them to reanimate and start looking for "boards". Farnsworth is eventually able to find an anti-virus for the zombieism and turn the zombie robots back to normal.
  • 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.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: One B-Plot involved Hermes, Amy and Zoidberg being forced into the sub-sewers, where they find an idyllic society of handsome and beautiful humans. They keep offering the group things such as new clothes and prestigious positions within their society, and only at the end, when they believe they are about to be made rulers, do they discover why these people live underneath the sewer mutants; they are supremely arrogant and haughty, to the point they now can only communicate in biting sarcasm, meaning they were actually being mocked since the second they arrived.
  • 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.
  • Self Botched Catchphrase: During the opening for Issue #2, the Professor bungles his own Catchphrase.
    Professor: Excellent happenings, people! [the crew doesn't react] Whuh? Oh, now, that's not right — let's see... ah, yes... [shouting] GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE!
  • Sleep Cute: In an issue where the crew have to sleep at the Planet Express office, Bender sleeps standing up per usual with Fry curled up in his extended arms.
  • 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.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In "Freaky Fry-Day," Fry tries to prove he's stuck in the Professor's body, rather than the Professor going insane, by revealing embarrassing secrets about his friends that only he knows. To avoid getting caught, they wave it off as him being the crazy Professor.
    Fry: Hermes lists me on his tax return as his "adopted child" so he can get a bigger write-off! Amy's secret dream is to drop out of Mars University and go to clown college! And Leela told me on a delivery mission the other day that she hasn't had sex since—
    Leela: Ho, ho! You sure are sick, professor!
    Amy: And how!
    Hermes: That's one jerked brain there!
  • Stripperific: In issue 43 we see Amy dreams of being a superheroine called Cute Girl and she wears a very revealing, leather, superhero outfit, along with a black mask.
  • 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.
  • Super Gullible: One issue parodies the Planet of Hats trope as codified by Star Trek's gangster planet with a race of people that believe whatever their told. Eventually revealed to be called the Naive in a parody of Avatar, they kick the crew off their planet because they couldn't survive following any more advice from them.
  • 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, 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.
  • Talking to the Dead: In Issue 38, after the ship crash-lands on a planet inhabited by "primitive" computer nerds, Fry finds Bender's lifeless, hollowed-out body, which has been scrapped for parts, and drags it around while he seeks revenge on Bender's murderers, chatting one-sidedly with it the whole time. Somewhat Played for Laughs since Fry's usual Too Dumb to Live nature causes him to tip off the enemy to his location ("They'll never find us in this cave, Bender!")
  • Terminator Twosome: "New Year's Rockin' Evil" presents an alternate universe story in which Fry writes a sci-fi story in 1999 that serves as a doctrine on human culture in the distant future, guiding humans through a human-robot war. Bender and Leela arrive on New Year's Eve 1999 to take Fry with him, both claiming to save him from the evil "Bendernator" who wants to destroy Fry and his story. Turns out Leela is the Bendernator in disguise, with Bender saving Fry from its wrath so they can someday fight side-by-side in the future war.
  • Unprovoked Pervert Payback: In one issue, Leela has been split into her baby, teen, and elderly selves. Her teen form gains a crush on Fry, and starts flirting with him, causing Leela to hit him even though he's clearly uncomfortable with a teen flirting with him.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: Unlike the actual show's "Freaky Friday" Flip episode, which did employ Voices Are Mental, "Freaky Fry-day" has Farnsworth wake up in Fry's body and remark that his voice does sound different, assuming it's a cold before he realizes what actually happened. Justified, as it's a comic where the reader can imagine the voice as whatever they want.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Planet X-Press Men" is an homage to X-Men, with the Planet Express crew in their place.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Near the end of "A Whole Lotta Leela," Leela assures her teenage self that, even though she's insecure and scared about her future, she has a good life ahead of her. It doubles as a motivational speech for Leela to love herself.