Tomorrow Stories 8 – Tomorrowgrams
Below are Splash Brannigan annotations for Tomorrow Stories, No. 8 “Tomorrowgrams” Letter Column (2 page, January 2001)
Writer: presumably Alan Moore (AM), Letters from: presumably Adam McGovern, Jackie Williams, Abraham Kawa, Ian Sokolitsky, and David DeGerald
>go to Tomorrow Stories, No. 8, main Splash story “Testostor”
>return to Splash Brannigan annotations index
Note: These Tomorrowgrams letter columns are pretty obscure. In the words of Alan Moore: the whole family conveniently avoids reading the letter column like everyone else. Tomorrowgrams letter columns were only printed in the comic books, and left out of the trade collected editions. I don’t have all of the original comic books… so the only Tomorrow Stories Tommorrowgrams lettercols I found were in issues 7 and 8. There may be others. The main reason I’ve reviewed them is because issue 8 has a cool Splash Brannigan drawing. If there’s stuff I missed or got wrong, let me know in comments, or email linton.joe [at] gmail.com
General notes: Letter columns were a staple of the superhero comics I grew up reading, though I think they’ve largely been abandoned? It seems like some letters were ghosted by in-house folks… I suspect Alan Moore may have written some of the letters here, as he did in his 1963 series. For now, I am just focusing on Splash Brannigan stuff.
Adam McGovern writes:
But about that Splash Brannigan – it seems Alan Moore’s mythos is now rich he can start minting archetypes of his own archetypes. By the durable Marxist axiom of history repeating itself once as tragedy and then as farce, the pathos of Promethea, spirit of creativity, has recurred as the patheticness of Splash, spirit of… productivity? Long many he stain!
- Adam McGovern might be this writer who writes about comics and who writes comics.
- He seems to be writing about the artsy plotline in TS No. 7.
- Promethea is an excellent ABC comic series by AM.
- I am not sure about the “Marxist axiom,” probably something Groucho or Harpo said? (Found it.) Not sure Promethea is tragedy, but Splash is clearly farce.
Jackie Williams writes
I won’t tell you how good all the stories in TOMORROW STORIES #6 are. Instead, I’ll focus on Splash Brannigan.
To be honest with you, I found Splash’s initial story to be mediocre. Like the first appearance of most super characters, we get to see a snappy origin story and a somewhat naive newcomer that we are supposed to identify with. This is a story that I have seen time and time again. It’s such a tired concept that even someone as brilliant as Alan Moore has a hard time making it seem interesting to me.
Fortunately, this story is saved by its humorous illustrations and happenings in the background. On my second read of the story I picked up several things that cracked me up. I couldn’t believe that the editor was lighting his stogie on a contract or that the supply cabinet was home to Jimmy Hoffa and Big Numbers #3. I always wondered what limbo they ended up in. I also noticed Splash’s handprint on a rather provocative section of Daisy Screensaver’s anatomy. Was that why he cranked out all those pages for her?
Despite the shortcomings of this first story, the humor kept it fun and made it a worthwhile read. Now that the obligatory origin story is out of the way maybe Alan and Hilary can do some really neat stuff with the character. He definitely has potential and I have no doubt that Alan and crew will help Splash live up to it.
The lettercolumn (AM?) responds:
Because of Jackie’s overwhelming enjoyment of Splash Brannigan’s mediocrity, we happily bestow upon the Kentuckian the original art for the Splash cartoon [above] that appears on this very page. You lucky cad, you. Don’t worry about Splash, he’ll grow on you.
- Jackie Williams of Louisville, Kentucky, is a letterhack who was already published in TS No.7 Tomorrowgrams. That they say they actually sent original art makes me think this letter could be real… or maybe that’s a ploy too. Her name is too common for Google to nail down conclusively.
- “Jimmy Hoffa and Big Numbers… handprint” are all explained in my TS No. 6 annotations.
Abraham Kawa writes:
[…] And of course, there’s Hilary Barta (who I knew only as an inker; I was amazed by her rich aside-filled cartooning, worthy of those Mad guys Wood and Elder). Splash Brannigan (whose name strangely rang like a pulp P.I.’s ), seems a promising character to explore a wacky, comics-defined reality. Lots of innuendo there, too. I probably have a dirty mind, but that ‘therapeutic’ ink bottle shaking was hilarious (by the way, don’t have Daisy wear black, or we might miss where Splash’s paws roam between panels).
The lettercolumn (AM?) responds:
[…] Oh and Hilary’s a GUY. Kiddling aside (but we’re not kidding about Hilary being a guy), a sincere thanks for the most excellent letter, Abraham, and to all of those who take the time to write – we still need more of you to do so! We are so cick of all those TOM STRONG and TOP TEN yub-yubs going on and on about the bags of mail they get. […]
- Abraham Kawa might just be this author, who is described as a “researcher of graphic novels.”
- “Mad guys Wood and Elder” are Mad Magazine contributors Wally Wood and Will Elder.
- AM will explore Splash as a “pulp P.I.” (stands for Private Investigator) and even the “strangely rang” stuff in The Big Seep, TS Special No.1.
- Innuendo, therapeutic shaking, and Splash’s roaming paws refer to things I annotated from TS No. 6.
- Hilary Barta is a guy.
- Tom Strong and Top Ten are other AM ABC comics.
I didn’t annotate as much as I could have here. Mostly I wanted to preserve the humor of these lettercols, to let folks know they exist.