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Here's the first pages and pitch I put together for THE FUTURE AMERICA, with art by Jok, who I've worked with since the first STRANGEWAYS story. You can read the full text of the pitch following the pages.

So, editors. I'm available. Not only did I write and co-create, but did the logo design and planned out far more storylines than I ought to have. Such is life.

Share and enjoy, just don't strip the credits or origin, please.

-- Pitch follows, as do spoilers --


Written and created by Matt Maxwell


Issues 1-6 "Benign Neglect"

In the year 19XX, everything has a price but Toné Akron can't be bought.

Ex-war hero now criminal folk hero Toné Akron escapes from prison to investigate the murder of one of his only remaining friends in Edge City, where everything, including war and justice, is mere entertainment.

"Benign Neglect" is the six-issue story arc that leads of 19XX: THE FUTURE AMERICA, which I see as a continuing series. The over-arching story line could go to about sixty issues. This is with some side exploration. The main series itself could wrap in perhaps four years. If there were supporting sales, I could see going significantly further. I've set up the structure of the book to be self-contained series which build on one another, allowing for some side storylines, introduction of new characters and reveals/reversals on familiar faces to keep things fresh.

The readership for this book could be either male or female (men and women as co-leads.) Additionally, there's a strong retro-futuristic component, leaning heavily on both cyberpunk and 80s/VHS action movie for atmosphere and feel, though the story material will be meatier. So fans of those genres will be drawn to take a look. Planning on tying things to a current resurgence in 80s sci-fi/horror/etc.-style soundtrack music (aka "synthwave"). Wish particularly to push this look/aesthetic on the covers (or through alternate covers) to catch interest from those potential readers as well. Both younger and middle-aged readers will find something that appeals through the look of the book and the story will keep them coming back.

As for books like THE FUTURE AMERICA? Despite the aesthetic approach described above, I'm working on character-driven story first and foremost. Yes, the setting is a sort of alternate future as imagined from 1985, but today's readers have a different expectation. Books like ELEPHANT MEN capture the feel, and THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE catch the hard lean on style. Obviously this book owes a lot to JUDGE DREDD, in terms of both setting and satire. Honestly, THE FUTURE AMERICA is more inspired by film and television than comics themselves. There isn't much out there like it, though, and that's one of the things that I'm hoping will make it stand out.

THE FUTURE AMERICA is squarely science fiction/action. There are elements of satire, both of entertainment/media obsession and politics, but I'm not setting out to make direct comparisons or do allegory. I just want to take a fun and unique setting and push it a bit further, make it feel like a world that stands on its own but is still distinct from our own experience enough to make it a book people want to come back to and explore fully. As for themes, probably the biggest one is looking at what we see in the media and trying to make sense of the world. We see how things are, but never look at why. Toné Akron and the other characters will be driving hard into that and this will force them to make choices between betrayal or loyalty, crime or justice and greed or loss. Ultimately, we'll get to the plan behind World War Short and maybe even find a way out from under it.


Written and created by Matt Maxwell


916-673-8777 (cell)


Issues 1-6 "Benign Neglect"

Toné Akron is our main character, an infamous war hero/criminal folk hero. Tiffany Jones is a member of the crime-fighting Americennes (an all-female crime fighting troupe) who's lost faith in her work, feeling it's more about demonizing the poor than fighting crime. Her rival in the Americennes is Amber T, who will do anything to stay on top of the game. The Americenne's Manager is working behind the scenes for a real-estate/financier named Ramesseum who's running the biggest arson scam ever, planning on getting a small-scale war declared so she can profit from both the insurance and the re-development when the smoke clears.

Toné Akron escapes federal prison to track down his friend Hector's murderer, but finds his celebrity is a huge obstacle to getting anything done. He has to disappear to the most lawless neighborhoods and dodge camera crews. He tracks down the Load's associates, who have open wallets now but closed mouths. Toné asks where the Load's body went and one of them replies "What body?" Is the Load dead or just hiding out?

Toné meets Tiffany of the Americennes (working on her own). Together they battle against the terrorist group that claims responsibility for the bombing that killed The Load. As it turns out, the group doesn't really exist. It's a fiction created by a bunch of private soldiers and some actors from a place called the Phantom Limb Agency. Tiffany suggests that Toné needs help to move around Edge City and she can offer it, as Tonémania is building to a fever pitch now, with imitators and lookalikes cropping up in the media-obsessed landscape.

Toné and Tiffany check into the Phantom Limb Agency, which is in the midst of Toné lookalike casting calls. Tiffany uses her smarts and showbiz connections to do work that Toné couldn't. Both trusting each other more, at least until the Americennes and America's Top Cop show up and start a running fight through the place that spills onto the streets of Edge City. Tiffany's loyalties are torn but she ends up siding nominally with Toné and Amber (of the Americennes) plants a bug on Toné. Fight ends with Toné being choked out by America's Top Cop while Hector watches from across the street.

Toné breaks away but loses Hector, though he picks up some leads. Toné is unsure how to regard Tiffany now. Is he just a high-profile collar to her? The Americennes try to hold together as their Manager gets ready to promote a big prime-time special, but he's cagey about what it will actually be. Tiffany does some poking around and finds hints that the new sponsor is behind the current troubles. Toné gets close to Hector, but instead finds it's a trap set to catch him for an Americennes show, prime-time arrest in studio.

Only when the cameras roll, it's not the real Toné, but a lookalike in his place. This is the work of the Manager who wants to keep the 'hunt for Toné Akron' storyline going as long as possible. Toné is held elsewhere but milks his capture for as much information as he can get then breaks loose, to finish his pursuit of Hector. Toné finds him, gets some answers before Hector is killed by his two former pals. His final act is taking a bullet for Toné. Tiffany allows herself to be kidnapped by the Manager in order to get some answers.

Toné diverts Hector's last bomb, placing it instead in Ramesseum Towers. It's not enough charge to take the building down but to cause a big diversion. Toné is reunited with Tiffany, though they're re-captured after figuring out what's going on. Ramesseum is using the Arbiters to wipe out parts of Edge City and profit from the insurance and rebuilding process. When Ramesseum sets off the last bomb, she instead finds out its in her own basement. Toné and Tiffany turn the tables and Ramesseum is arrested. Toné arranges a Viking burial for Hector in a stolen Ferrari, debts paid on both sides.

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