“Days of Future Tense”
Writer: Warren Ellis
Pencils: Casey Jones
Inks: Tom Simmons
Colours: Ariane Lenshoek and Malibu Hues
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Original publication date: February 1996
Hang on to your leather-clad butts, snap on your fingerless gloves, and fire up your razor for an undercut because we’re going back to the future past of 2013 in Excalibur #94, “Days of Future Tense”—or was it all a dream…? We’ll discuss all that plus comic book movies and the existential dread of the apocalypse with comics and film scholar Dr. Dru Jeffries! And! Tangerine!! Also Pete Wisdom does Charles Xavier, for reals this time!!!
“I was intimidated by X-Men comics as a kid because they were this dense ongoing story that you couldn’t make heads or tails of. Reading this as my first issue of Excalibur—I relived a lot of those feelings.” -Dru
On existential risk:
“Apocalypses but also, more generally, the concept of existential risk, is really central to contemporary superhero narratives.” -Dru
“At the end, I felt like I’d been reading a choose your own adventure book, and I’d chosen wrong.” -Andrew
“I think Ellis was very invested in this Pete Wisdom as Charles Xavier gimmick and kinda wrote a comic around that.” -Anna
On apocalypse narratives:
“At a certain point in superhero stories, anything less than the end of the world started to feel like small potatoes.” -Dru
On masculine alternatives:
“In a world where you have Republican lawmakers comparing the X-Men to trans people while siding with the villains trying to destroy them, ‘Days of Future Past’ is sadly more relevant than ever.” -Dru
On punchable problems:
“We don’t know how to win against AI and climate change, so we win against AI and climate changing by restaging and winning 9/11 instead.” -Mav
Want more Dru Jeffries?
Dr. Dru Jeffries teaches in the English and Film Studies departments at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the author of the book Comic Book Film Style: Cinema at 24 Panels Per Second, and the editor of the book #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age. He’s recently published in Inks, the journal of the Comics Studies Society, has a forthcoming article about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with JCMS. He is also the co-editor, with Anna, of a forthcoming academic anthology called Small Screen Supers: Essays on Superhero Television.