If you were on Twitter a year ago, you may have seen director Duncan Jones running a poll about comics creators. The seemingly innocuous post became a graphic novel, Madi: Once Upon A Time In The Future. The project is currently demolishing its goals on Kickstarter. We chatted to Jones and his collaborator de Campi about the book as well as getting a glimpse at two exclusive pages from the comic by the incredible James Stokoe.
So what is Madi about? “A team of British ex-special forces had technology incorporated into their bodies during their years of service, but the government won’t pay for its upkeep so they now have to work in the private sector doing corporate ‘hostile takeover,’ ‘aggressive expansion,’ and ‘patent protection’ work on behalf of the company. Problem is, the more missions they do, the more they get injured and damaged, and the deeper they are falling into debt… Our lead, Madi, has had enough, and decides to take a job off the books,” Jones told Nerdist.
The creative team is a who’s who of incredible artists including; Simon Bisley, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Tonci Zonjic, Pia Guerra, James Stokoe, RM Guéra, Chris Weston, Rufus Dayglo, Annie Wu, and more. For Jones, it was a dream come true. “It’s mind blowing,” Jones said. “I have always been a comic fan–I’m British–so yes, but from a 2000 AD, Eagle magazine, Tiger, Commando comics perspective primarily… most Americans may not even have heard of those. There are a lot of artists working on this I have fawned over in 2000 AD for years. It’s hugely exciting to see their interpretation of what Alex and I have written.”
The collaboration between Jones and writer/editor/letterer Alex de Campi started after Twitter recommended her as a potential name to help Jones adapt a screenplay into a comic. “It’s been a wild and very compressed ride; we will have put this book out in 18 months,” de Campi explained. “Duncan’s been an amazing, fun, insightful, and smart collaborator, and together we made a book with some artist friends. That’s the very, very short version.”
Although this was Jones’ first foray into longform comics, de Campi was clearly impressed by her collaborator. “He’s been super involved in every part of the process, from tweaking my comic script adaptation (a shared Google doc) to checking the lettering and giving feedback on art. It’s always been the right level of involved too, which is sometimes hard to get across to folks not involved in comics. He understands collaboration, and when to push and when to let go.”
de Campi also shared her thoughts on why readers should support Madi: Once Upon A Time In The Future. “It’s a proper spectacle, and not a lot of comics are any more. The story’s fantastic and you’ve got some of the greatest names in comics doing the (oversized) work of their lives.” She also had some fighting words for the big two. “It is the biggest event book of 2020, sorry not sorry Marvel and DC. And unlike many events, I think Madi is a book people will come back to again and again.”
Jones has some advice for readers who might still be on the fence. “The best way to tell if you are into it is to read the first 17 pages as illustrated by the amazing Dylan Teague, FOR FREE right now!”
Header Image: Duncan Fegredo, Jacob Phillips