History, it’s said, is written by the winners — but, let’s be honest: more often than not, the losers have better stories. That’s the thinking behind Failure to Launch: A Tour of Ill-Fated Futures, a new anthology from independent powerhouse publisher Iron Circus Comics that focuses on the unfulfilled promises of technology and grand ideas from the past… and Popverse has an exclusive preview of one of the stories inside.
Explaining the impetus behind the project in a statement, Iron Circus editor-in-chief Spike Trotman says, simply, “I love bad ideas. I am a bad ideas expert, just ask my friends. And now, I’ve got an entire book full of bad ideas, which turns out, was a good idea.”
Editor Kel McDonald adds, “Failure to Launch is a fascinating project because while we frequently idolize pioneers, we forget that a lot of pioneers don't make it. I think showing the missteps and stumbles in the march of progress paints a more complete picture of history. Ideas rarely spring forward fully formed and are immediately accepted. Every success learned from those who came before.”
31 stories across more than 300 pages map out this new history of civilization and technology, including 'Milking It' by Colin O'Mahoney and Mari Rolin, which O’Mahoney told Popverse “is about that fortunately brief time in history where medical science decided it was a terribly good idea to use animal milk for blood transfusions. This went about as well as you would expect it to. The story of 'Milking It' it embodies the idea of truth being stranger than fiction. Animal milk transfusions resulted in a lot of deaths, but doctors carried on regardless, believing it to be the future of medicine. The utterly unfounded optimism of its practitioners is, in retrospect, darkly comical - as is the very idea of using animal milk to transfuse into humans. The story is gross, baffling, morbid, and worst of all - entirely true.”
Similarly, 'One Man's Beast, Another Man's Bacon' by Triple Dream Comics looks at a near-miss when it comes to cuisine, as Triple Dream’s Lauren Davis explains. “Why did we want to talk about hippos? Mainly because the idea of ranching hippos in Louisiana sounds ridiculous, but it was taken very seriously at the time. Plus, it’s fun to imagine what the world would have looked like if the plan had gone through.”
And then there’s 'CGIdol' by Victor Santiago and Bolu Oriowo, which looks at the drawbacks of worshipping virtual pop idols. Don’t take our word for it: check out pages from the story for yourself, below.
More information about Failure to Launch: A Tour of Ill-Fated Futures can be found on its BackerKit account, available here.
Iron Circus won two awards at last year’s Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards; go revisit last year’s big winners.