The future… as seen from the early 1980s

Let’s talk about graphic novels for a change. If you’ve been following me for any length of time you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I read a lot across all sorts of genres. I’m currently reading Portrait of a Mutant written by Alan Grant. The graphic novel was published in 2002, a reprint of a story from 2000AD which was published in 1981.

Portrait of a Mutant is set in the future after the devastating Great Nuclear War 2150. This war has led to a lot of nuclear fallout, which in turn has led to a huge increase in humans born with mutations, which are far, far more likely to to result in a disability than a super power. Mutations giving superhuman powers do happen but are vanishingly rare.

There is a great deal of prejudice by the ‘norms’ (regular people without a mutation) against the ‘muties’ . There is a popular politician called Nelson Bunker Kreelman who brought in anti-mutie laws, for example, that mutants are not allowed to be employed, the resulting poverty leading to mutants getting evicted from their homes and ending up starving in out-of-town mutant slums. The comparisons between the treatment of mutants in this world and Jews in Nazi Germany have been noted by many, and aren’t exactly subtle. Kreelman is definitely one of the bad guys in this story.

But there was one particular Kreelman quote that I’d like to share with you all that brings to mind more recent events. In one speech he says:

Until the scourge of the mutants is wiped from our streets, no man dare turn his back – no woman or child is safe! I say – let us act! Let us make this country great again! Let us banish all muties from our cities! And you can quote me on that.

I make no comment about politics, but did the people running Trump’s presidential campaign know that they were quoting the bad guys with the whole Make America Great Again thing? I mean, if you were a young teenage boy in the early 1980s, you may well have the skills and experience to be involved such a high-profile political campaign by now. Did it start as a joke and just get out of hand?

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9 thoughts on “The future… as seen from the early 1980s

  1. I love Alan’s work. I am not a comic novel fan but his themes are enthralling and disturbing.

    I have met him a couple of times in Spoken word events. He is a fantastic performer and always surprises. In person he is a very modest, kind and supportive man.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m not a graphic novel sort of guy, but this sounds interesting because I do love me some post-apocalyptic fiction.

    If you like that sort of thing, I highly recommend you check out War Day by James Kunetka and Whitley Strieber (yes, the noted UFO nut – but don’t let that put you off).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting. Portrait of a Mutant is a great story. I must correct you though. It isn’t written by Alan Moore. It is written by Alan Grant. Both are great comic writers in their own right but completely different people!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting comparison with Trump’s slogan, I find that quote echoing some of the voices behind Brexit. Not all, but some.

    There was a certain grittiness to 80’s comics and graphic novels that made them so appealing. Although, back then these were “comics for grown ups” as far as I was concerned back then.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alan Grant was likely quoting from the last American presidential campaign. Ronald Reagan’s slogan was, “Make America Great Again.” Similar slogans have been used before and, sadly, they will be used again.

    Liked by 1 person

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