Contemporary Fears in the Near Future of Analog 4

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Science fiction stories are often set in the future, but they reflect the contemporary anxieties of the societies in which they’re created. The Los Angeles of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner was heavily inspired by the modern landscape of Tokyo — it’s bustle and aesthetics cranked way up to sinister levels. As Sarah Emerson notes in a 2017 piece for Motherboard regarding cultural fetishization in the franchise, Blade Runner was a product of its time; in the 1980’s the West was still feeling the effects of an economic downturn just as Japan’s economy began to kick into high gear. Couple that with already high fear of cultural invasion thanks to the ever-present Cold War, and the futuristic dystopia of Blade Runner where, as Emerson writes, “communities are ghettoized beneath Asian-branded skyscrapers” comes into focus.

Unlike Blade Runner, which consciously or unconsciously stoked audiences’ fears for mere atmosphere, Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan use Analog to actively exercise their fears about the present. That’s exercise — not exorcise. The internet run amok, neo-Nazis, greed and corruption in the systems meant to protect us, Duggan and O’Sullivan are writing a noir story of the meanest kind, where the rot in society is too deep to be cured and the best one can hope for is making it out alive. There are no solutions to be found in Analog. Jack McGinnis managed to shut down the internet and it wasn’t enough to make things right.

But like any good noir, just because Analog is bleak it doesn’t mean it’s joyless. As someone who spends most of their time tied up with anxiety about the state of the world, I’ve found there’s catharsis in Analog’s pessimism. Have a few thoughtless internet billionaires seemingly fucked everything up for the rest of us? Hell yes they have! Doesn’t it suck how the world continues to get hotter and hotter? Absolutely! Can you believe that we have to regularly talk about white supremecists — like on an almost day to day basis? No, I can’t! Reading an issue of Analog is like going to Angry Liberal Church on a regular basis and I love it. Amen!

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

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