Futurama

Fan's Comics

L&A Confidential Author's commentary
By Erik Heltner

12 January 2008

In July 2006 I saw all 4 seasons of Futurama for the first time in my life. I had only seen a few episodes from the first season when it aired years ago on Danish television, so it was a fantastic experience to suddenly be able to see all 72 episodes. As you can probably imagine, I was blown away! (Man, I used to think "The Simpsons" was cool. Now,after having watched Futurama, I think "The Simpsons" sucks!) I don't know why, but for some reason it made me remember what it is I've always loved about animated cartoons.

After having watched the episodes, I wanted more! So I searched the web and saw the many fan sites and experienced the huge fan culture Futurama has spawned. One thing I was particularly interested in, was the many drawings made by the fans (as a former cartoonist, you can imagine why). One thing I noticed in particular was that a great number of the fans had made drawings depicting Leela and Amy together in... a highly adult situation! It's almost as if they were implying that Leela and Amy were... Gay.

Come on! Leela and Amy, gay? That would be like saying that Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy from "Batman - the animated series" were gay, or that Xena and Gabrielle from "Xena the warrior princess" were gay. It makes absolutely no sense.

Still, though it is nothing but a sick idea created in the minds of horny fans, I couldn't help thinking what it would like if Leela and Amy really were lesbians and in love with each other. How would their lives be? What challenges would they have to go through? The more I thought about it, the more I got convinced that I could make a good story by trying to answer these questions (and maybe a few others as well). I've always loved stories seen from a woman's point of view, so this was a great opportunity to make one myself.

To make a long story short: In September 2006 I began writing the script for the story. Obviously I wasn't capable of making my own animated cartoon-show, but I knew how to make comics, and that would be just as good. Because the story focuses exclusively on the characters, I decided to approach it like a graphic novel, while maintaining the well known style of Futurama. This made the story almost twice as long as I expected, but it added a depth to the story I wouldn't have gotten in a regular comic.

After having made the script, I started working on the layouts in November 2006. In January 2007 I clean-penciled each page, and once that was done in July 2007, I started the tiresome process of inking each page (highly interesting, right?). When the inking was finally done in November 2007, I colored each and every page on my computer. A couple of days ago, the nightmare was finally over, and it had only taken me about... 16 months?! This may sound like an extremely long time (and it is), but you have to keep in mind that I only worked on it when I was in the mood. Days, weeks, even months could go by were I didn't do squat! If I had worked on the story eight hours every day like a professional comic creator, the entire process would have taken less than 5 months. In other words, the story was delayed because of sheer lazyness!

After having worked on the story for so long, it's time to show it to the public. And since Bongo Comics will probably never agree to publish it, I've decided to do the next best thing: Post it on Futurama Madhouse.

An obvious question would be: Why did I do it? I don't know, I guess I just wanted to prove myself capable of doing it. Was it worth it? Well, I certainly learned a lot about graphic storytelling, as well as computer coloring (believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever colored one of my comics, and it's also the first time I've made a story this long). Oh, and I certainly learned a lot about Futurama! More than any regular fan is capable of this short time period. I had to study background designs, character designs, colors. The whole concept of Futurama had to be studied meticulously in order get as close as possible to the shows style.

Though I'm pretty much fed up with Futurama by now (go figure), I doubt it will be my last graphic novel. While making this story, I wrote down ideas for at least ten more stories, including two sequels to this one. So who knows, in 1½ years from now, you may receive another Futurama story!

I hope you're not too disappointed about my choice of story. I guess most fans would expect a Futurama graphic novel to be about some overblown, crazy, epic space adventure story (pretty much like Bender's Big Score), but that's not my idea of a graphic novel. Let's leave it to David X. Cohen and his henchmen to come up with traditional Futurama stories like that, while we, the fans, explore the Futurama universe beyond our wildest imagination. This is Futurama for crying out loud!

Nothing is impossible ... not if you can imagine it.

Erik Heltner
Cartoonist

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