Jun 10, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1201: 2020 Visions #4, August 1997

https://www.comics.org/issue/60654/

Okay, back to it.

2020 Visions is a good comic, but it's rapidly becoming dated, with us being only 2 years away from the ostensible date of this series. Writer Jamie Delano tries to project 23 years into the future, but that's always a risky notion. While tech and mores can change quickly, they don't often follow what we think will be the dominant trends. For example, in this comic, no one seems to have smartphones, since in 1997 such a thing was not in the cultural consciousness.

And while the setting of today's story is a Miami that has seceded from the U.S., and come under draconian Catholic control, Delano and artist Warren Pleece do give us an interesting view of gender and sexuality under such a regime in the focal figure of private investigator Jack Atlanta. That's her up on the cover in the white suit. Jack is wonderfully gender queer, still using she/hers pronouns, but sporting a naturally grown pencil mustache, and dressing like one of the characters from the original Miami Vice. I wonder if this is intentional, as Crockett and Tubbs were exemplars of masculinity for quite a while in the 1980s.

Sex and sexuality are handled in an interesting way. The world within which this Miami exists is eerily similar to The Handmaid's Tale. Fertility rates, though this time in men, have dropped off dramatically, creating a demand not only for fertile men, but also for black market babies. Jack's case, the disappearance of a young woman, leads her into this gruesome underworld. Furthermore, as Nueva Florida is under a Catholic government, many, if not all, divergent sexualities can only be pursued in private, and away from the prying eyes of the law. Jack indulges in backroom virtual sex that puts her heavily in debt, but this covert method is simply the only way she can satisfy her proclivities. It doesn't really sound that different from being queer in the 20th and many prior centuries.

More to come...

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