“Back to the Present”
Writing and pencils: Alan Davis
Inks: Mark Farmer
Colours: Dana Moreshead
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Original publication date: June 1993
This week, we’re going back to “Back to the Present,” and by present we mean future, and by future we mean the far-flung year of 2015, when the world was/will be run by Sentinels and a dude obsessed with Rachel Summers, Moby Dick, and thigh-high boots. Joining us on this journey is returning guest Nola Pfau, fresh off an Eisner Award hat trick for her Editor-in-Chief-dom of Women Write About Comics! We wax poetic about women and circles, debate the mechanics of time travel vs interdimensional travel vs are they actually the same thing, and say we love comics a lot, because we do—including this one, a lot.
“The opening splash page is a stigmata image, but Kate can also be read as a Vitruvian Man. It’s a body that fits in both a circle and a square. It’s a body that’s a microcosm of reality.” -Anna
On technologies of gender:
“Widget’s upgraded body is, in many ways, very male coded. Which is fascinating because Kitty Pryde has always existed in that nebulous space of queerness and marginalized identity. To have the reveal play with gender is really interesting.” -Nola
On queer robots:
“Kitty can be queered, gender-wise, by her involvement with technology, at least by the generic standards of the 1980s. So to have her merge with a technological entity is a significant choice… Kitty uses technology for empowerment and always has.” -Andrew
On love saving the day:
“I don’t understand Kitty’s transformation into Widget on a practical level. But I don’t care. What happens is a superhero does something impossible because they love someone else so much.” -Anna
On Meggan's moment:
“This is one of those scenes that gets posted all the time and shared around… it’s one of those iconic, classic scenes. And it’s one of my favourites.” -Nola
“Even though most readers wouldn’t know these Marvel UK characters, it’s one of the many ways Davis is signalling broader worlds, other worlds beyond this comic, where different things, different futures are possible.” -Anna
On cosmic formalism:
“The combination of sameness, repetition, and juxtaposition in the layout and coloring of this page does such a great job of signalling multiple levels of consciousness and the idea of moving through both time and space.” -Anna
Want more Nola Pfau?
You can find her on Twitter (@nolapfau).
And! Check out her essay on Paul Smith’s X-Men: “Reading Between the Lines: How Paul Smith’s Fluid Style Made Him the Best X-Men Artist of All.”
Also! Find her writing reviews of X-Men-related things at ComicsXF, including the current Knights of X series!
Plus! She covers a whole lot of stuff over at Women Write About Comics.
By chipping in some Patreon money, you can read Anna’s essay about sexy Nightcrawler, linked below.