Comic strips have always had a thing for the future. From the classic sci-fi adventures of Buck Rogers in the 1920s to the dystopian existence depicted more than a half-century later in "X-Men: Days of Future Past," the medium has consistently looked far ahead to help tell a story that resonates in the here and now.
More than a month ago, the Indy put out an open call to the region's burgeoning comic strip/graphic novel community to imagine "Missoula in the Future" for our third annual Comix Issue. We had no idea what to expect. Nothing but chain hotels filling the downtown? Commentary on climate change? Perhaps a more utopian outlook reflecting Missoula's predominantly progressive values? We got inventive variations of all of those things—and so much more during a process that involved more submissions than any previous year.
- On the cover: Leila del Duca grew up in Missoula and Billings, went to art school in Denver, and now lives in Portland, Ore. She draws “SHUTTER” from Image Comics and is currently writing AFAR, a young adult graphic novel to be released in November 2016. Leila will forever consider Missoula as her beloved hometown.
The future depicted in the following pages may not always look bright, but the state of Missoula's arts community remains stronger than ever. To help celebrate such an impressive collection of illustrators and writers, we're inviting you to a month-long exhibit and First Friday reception at Clyde Coffee on the Hip Strip. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 6, we'll have variations of the selected comic strips on display—from early conceptual sketches to uncolored drafts to finished products—with many of the artists in attendance, plus food and drink. It's an opportunity to celebrate this special issue and perhaps look forward to our collective future together.
- Missoula Cowboys Past, Present and Future, by Luke Smith with colors by Jenny Dibble
- Cosmic Insight, by Kate Dunn, katedunndesign.com