Some comics have the unique ability to make you think, “Wow, this would make a great movie.” One of these comics is Time Before Time. It’s a good sci-fi storey with a premise that’s so simple and elegant that you’ll wonder why no one else has thought of it before.
Time Before Time: Looper Meets, Children Of Men
Declan Shalvey (the Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan scribe is also on the cover) and Rory McConville (Write it in Blood) have reimagined Rian Johnson’s time travel thriller Looper through the prism of Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopian masterpiece Children of Men and Tony Fleecs’ quantum spending spree, Time Shopper.
A criminal group known as the Syndicate smuggles people back in time to more prosperous eras of human society in a future universe (circa 2140, to be exact) that is about to reach a dead end.
The mafia-like organisation doesn’t care how much trouble you’ve gotten yourself into right now. What they think about is whether or not you can pay — and pay handsomely.
Tatsuo is one of the Syndicate’s most valuable workers. He enlists the aid of his coworker, Oscar, to rob a time machine and flee to the past in order to pay off a seemingly infinite debt and to get rid of his employers’ callous attitudes toward future customers.
To go any further would be to give away the entire first question, but suffice it to say that things do not go as planned.
Image Comics, the book’s publisher, has generously shared two exclusive pieces of artwork from the book’s illustrator, Joe Palmer, ahead of Issue #1’s release next Wednesday (Write it in Blood).
The first depicts Tatsuo and a mystery character called Nadia — no spoilers here — while the second depicts prototypes for time machines, which are referred to as “Pods” in this future vision.
“Being able to do some design work ahead of time is a treat for me, and it’s something I really enjoy,”
Palmer says. It’s always a delicate balancing act to come up with interesting-looking things without making the designs too rigid when it comes to adapting them to storey pages and scenes in the comic. Dec and Rory pretty much gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted, which I greatly appreciate.”
“I’m still blown away by Joe’s incredible energy in his drawings, and these in particular captured the tone and feel of the book right away,” McConville continues.
“From the outset, Joe’s designs for Tatsuo and the enigmatic Nadia nailed the characters. They’re totally different from one another, but they share a sense of belonging to the same world. Joe is a master at creating characters.
They’re instantly striking as designs,” Shalvey says. “I’m also a fan of Joe’s Pod designs… The way he breaks them down into truncated, boxy shapes makes the time machines both retro and futuristic at the same time, contributing to a more low-tech future.”
The creative team also revealed some details about the cover for Issue #3 (due out this summer), which hasn’t been seen yet.
As you can see, Shalvey’s artwork depicts Tatsuo trapped in the midst of a very violent car accident.
“I’ve been having a lot of fun working on these covers outside of my usual cover work,” admits the writer/artist. “I’m getting to try out a new strategy that I hope will channel Joe’s work into my own while also contributing to the series’ identity.
I’m hoping that these covers will stand out on the shelves as Time Before Time covers every month. We can see that Tatsuo’s situation is deteriorating in this one.”
Shalvey is “one of the most sought after cover artists in the industry, and for good reason, as this cover demonstrates,” according to McConville.
He’s still moving his work in new and exciting directions, and I think people will appreciate the approach he’s taken with the Time Before Time covers, which are among his best yet.”
“With the book covers, Dec is aiming for a very pared-down aesthetic, which is a lot harder to do than you would think,” Palmer concludes. “He’s done an excellent job of creating eye-catching designs, and I believe the books would stand out on the shelf as a result.”
The first issue of Time Before Time will be released on May 12th.