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Comic Book / Tomorrow Stories

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At the end of The '90s, Alan Moore founded America's 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 Jerkass 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:


  • Adventurer Outfit: Pandora Siam dresses in a 1930s-style outfit of riding boots, jodhpurs, safari jacket and pith helmet.
  • Amnesiac Protagonist Catalyst: Subverted in one issue, which sees the detective Greyshirt chasing after an amnesiac man who believes that he killed eight people because he suddenly woke up in an alley next to a dead woman. After Greyshirt finally catches the guy, he reveals that the amnesiac was innocent; the dead woman was the killer, but suffered a fatal slip while trying to attack the man. Alas, by that time, the man has killed someone, convinced that he was already doomed to be executed for the eight previous murders anyway.
  • Arch-Enemy: Johnny Apollo.
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  • Ascended Extra: Nearly every supposedly one-shot character from the Tomorrow Stories Greyshirt segments reappear in Indigo Sunset, either for a cameo or for the reveal that they were more heavily involved in Greyshirt's life than they first appeared to be.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The Lure is unable to consume Johnny Apollo since he’s become toxic to it. Not only that, in a few years, Johnny himself would have become the Lure if Greyshirt didn’t have other plans.
  • 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.
  • Cane Fu: Greyshirt carries a Classy Cane that he uses as his primary weapon.
  • Classy Cane: Greyshirt carries a cane that doubles as a Grappling-Hook Pistol.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask
  • Cool Big Bro: Greyshirt to his younger sister Catherine.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Fanman, of Fanman Productions, really Johnny Apollo.
  • Covers Always Lie: Subverted. The covers of Indigo Sunset feature stories that aren't the main focus of the issue, but are featured as newspaper stories in the back of the issues. 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. After she fakes her death, Lapis suggests the idea of leaving Indigo City and running off with Greyshirt. Greyshirt muses Lapis would probably try to kill him, and she sadly agrees.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Spats Katz' longtime moll Candi 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, back when she still called herself Laverne, designed a ray that turned things into sapphire. The ray accidentally hit her and turned her skin diamond hard and blue, and also gave her a form of immortality.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Vinnie Assapunto.
  • Expy: Lapis Lazuli is a cross between Catwoman and post-secondary-mutation Emma Frost.
  • Gem Tissue: Greyshirt's sometimes enemy, sometimes love interest Lapis Lazuli's body is composed of living sapphire following a mishap with a transformation beam.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Subverted, in that most of the people who do the smoking are mobsters.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Greyshirt's Classy Cane doubles as one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Integral to his Super Hero Origin.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Ella Bly, former self-described "Whore with a heart of gold." She 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 in her life who has treated her with dignity and respect, she 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 her betrayal against Ella.
  • Insufferable Genius: Artist Andy Savannah, who made a living copying panels from Hoodlum Hits, the comic that was about Franky Lafayette and Johnny Apollo, and passing it off as high grade art. He's a Take That! at Roy Lichtenstein and he gets killed.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Lips, Candy, and Ella. In the case of the former two, their looks went down the drain from years of smoking and drinking. In Ella's case, it was from being scarred with a hot iron by Johnny Apollo.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: People comment that Greyshirt's alter ego, Franky Lafayette, wasn't so much a bad guy as he was someone who was in it for the adventure. Not like his former partner and friend, Johnny Apollo, who was a sociopathic nut.
  • The Killer in Me: the Amnesiac Killer version is inverted when a man finds himself with a bloody hammer and a dead woman, and no memory of either. He reads in the newspaper that the Hammer Killer has murdered eight people and flees the police as it must be him. But when Greyshirt and the police find him, they tell him he was the next victim: the Hammer Killer slipped while attacking him and broke her skull. Unfortunately, he has killed someone who tried to stop him, thinking he was a multiple murderer anyway.
  • Kinky Spanking: Between him and Cobweb (naturally).
  • Match in a Bomb Shack: In Greyshirt's origin story, psychotic gangster Johnny Apollo is pursuing the future Greyshirt Frankie Lafayette through the pitch black tunnels under Indigo City. Wounded and lost, Apollo strikes his lighter to work out where he is. The first thing he sees by the light of the lighter's flame is a sign reading 'FUEL DEPOT'. BOOM!
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: In Greyshirt's origin story, psychotic gangster Johnny Apollo is pursuing the future Greyshirt Frankie Lafayette through the pitch black tunnels under Indigo City. Wounded and lost, Apollo strikes his lighter to work out where he is. The first thing he sees by the light of the lighter's flame is a sign reading 'FUEL DEPOT'. BOOM!
  • Musical Episode: #9 features a Greyshirt musical, as in a literal stage production; Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset later established that the man himself took the title role at one showing. Critics are astounded at Greyshirt's singing and dancing, claiming that he could've been another Gene Kelly.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ella Bly had this reaction after 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.
  • Out with a Bang: Lapis Lazuli (whose body is compose of sapphire) murders her gangsters lover by driving her diamond hard finger into his ear while they are having sex.
  • Painting the Medium: The word "Greyshirt" would always appear among the scenery, because this feature was an homage to The Spirit
  • Pet the Dog: Spats Katz was an abhorrent gangster with no regard for human life, but he strangely seems to actually care about Candi, enough that he pushed her out of the way of Johnny Apollo's car and saved her life at the cost of losing his legs.
  • 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 through the power of "Recognition."
  • 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, I'm 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 and those of the supporting cast.
  • 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.


  • All There in the Manual: ABC A-Z #2 revealed 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.
  • Anything That Moves: Although with the exception of Greyshirt, Cobweb has only ever shown romantic and physical interest in other women.
  • 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.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Or rather, Sister Sister Incest. Every ancestor of Cobweb and Clarice since their families learned how to reproduce asexually have basically grown up together in the same household as sisters, yet still fall in love and have sex with one another. Even if they're not biologically related, these women have been raised together in the same family yet don't seem bothered by the idea of sleeping with one another.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As kinky as Cobweb is, she was disgusted by Money Spider's advances and voices her disgust when she receives an unwanted kiss from her.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: In Tomorrow Stories Special #1, Cobweb and Clarice are caught in an inescapable Death Trap. Thinking they are about to die, they reveal their true feelings for each other and kiss. The villain is so turned on that he shuts off the Death Trap so he can watch them make out.
  • 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.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: It is revealed that Cobweb and her sidekick/lover Clarice are the daughters of a previous Cobweb and Clarice, having been born as a result of a ritual where their ancestors made love in a certain place which had certain special qualities. This was because their ancestors were, due to an accident, from a One-Gender Race.
  • 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.
  • Kinky Spanking: Cobweb is into this.
  • 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: Greyshirt has tried investigating Cobweb's past in order to determine how old she is, going by reports of her crime fighting career in the 1940s and the novels about La Toile from the 19th Century. It later turns out there's been more than one Cobweb.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Cobweb and Clarice essentially grew up together in the same household as sisters even though they're not biologically related to one another, and still fell in love with each other. As did their moms. And their moms. And so forth.
  • Rogues Gallery: Money Spider, the Lost Housewives of New Jersey, Little Bo Peep, Dr. Phallocrates Phlange, Isidric Lautermanns, 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 eight. 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".

First American

  • Arch-Enemy: His most recurring foe, the fat, suicidal opera singer Gerta Dammerung.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Gerta basically had a gay orgy with The Village People while renting First American's body, with him having no idea what happened afterwards. It's later implied F.A. got revenge on U.S.Angel by using her body to sleep with Cobweb.
  • 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 after seeing the depraved antics on a Jerry Springer-esque T.V. show, thinking the world deserves to be put out of its 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 and the audience actually sides with him when the truth comes out.
  • 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.
  • Dating Catwoman: Actually married Gerta once, before leaving her for his aromatherapist.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": F.A. marries someone named "Blonde Woman", who's later referred to as "Blonde Transsexual" after he divorces him and has gender reassignment surgery. Their kids say his name wasn't "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.

Jack B Quick

  • Alien Abduction: An inversion. Jack actually abducts an alien of his own, and holds it hostage. In return, the aliens deliver Glenn Miller and his orchestra.
  • Black Comedy: He fails to notice that his cheerful meddling in things man was not meant to know drives his simple farming parents into depression and eventually attempted suicide. This is pretty much in the background.
  • Child Prodigy
  • Insufferable Genius
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Most of his inventions work as design, based on design principles (and laws of physics) that make no sense, don't mean what he thinks they mean, or both. Examples: a device that makes light obey posted speed limits inside city limits, and an anti-Armageddon device consisting of a series of doomsday devices (each of which could create an Armageddon) connected to a lever labeled "Reverse."
  • Mad Scientist: Emphasis on the mad. Most of his inventions work exactly as he intends them to, possibly because he intends them to.
  • Reality Warper: Jack is implied to be this, with the Mad Science! working simply because he believes it will. For instance, after misunderstanding "entering puberty" as a reference to the effects of entering the town of Puberty, he follows a group of older children, who suddenly exhibit the expected "symptoms" as soon as they pass a road sign that says "Now Entering Puberty."
  • Suicide as Comedy: Jacks science based hijinks and meddling in Things Man Was Not Meant to Know eventually drive his folksy parents into depression and suicide. Their suicide attempts are frequently relegated to a Funny Background Event.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: His entire home town may be this. In Promethea, he is airlifted from an area where the government has apparently placed him for the safety of the public, along with his handlers. He's dropped from a helicopter in a wooden crate, and survives (apparently simply because they didn't tell him how far they were dropping the crate, and he assumed it fell apart because of shoddy workmanship instead of high-velocity impact).
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The townspeople have come gotten used to Jack's "meddling in God's domain", but still get annoyed when it disrupts their daily life.

Splash Brannigan

  • 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.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


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