The Future 5, 2005, EdFund’s Communications Department
writer: Hillary Haas
design & illustration: Miracle Studios
layout & art direction: Lindy Dunlavey
production coordinator: Chaz Smith
editor: Jason Warburg
Blogger’s note: Entry for Saturday, April 19, 2008.
Working for a youth-oriented nonprofit organization, sometimes I’m fortunate enough to come into quirky little public service comics. Last year’s Spider-man/Power Man/Storm American Cancer Society comic is one such example; The Future 5 is another. Published by EdFund and the California Student Aid Commission, The Future 5 is a tight ten-page comic starring, of course, the Future 5, a team of college graduates that, under the guidance of Professor Nightbird, promote the benefits of high education and thwart those that dissuade youth from pursing it. Roll call: Chef, a culinary school grad who “whips up powerful combinations of food and spices to combat evil; Techno, a computer guy; Luna, a licensed veterinarian with a special connection to animals; Sky, the team pilot and engineer. In this story, “The Power of Your Mind,” the five battle Dr. Know, who, despite his philanthropy for homeless kittens (really), has devised a grassroots scheme to take over the world by bullying kids away from college. Fortunately, the good guys arrive just in time to list the types of universities Know’s potential victims can attend, and the various financial aid options at their disposal. It’s a hilarious infusion of textbook-like terms regarding applying for college, but, I must confess, if I’d read this issue my junior year of high school, I think I’d have had a better grasp on the whole financial aid situation. Writer Hillary Haas retains just enough of a colloquial demeanor with her lead characters that their sudden exclamations of EdFund rhetoric aren’t too much to bear, though still unwittingly comedic in contrast. Also, Lindy Dunlavey and Miracle Studios’ artwork is truly above average for a public service comic book; though some panels betray an amateurish quality, most of the pages’ layouts are innovative and eye-catching, and the characters are expressive enough to convey their points and personalities effectively. The bottom line is, I would have no problem sharing The Future 5 with a teenager struggling with making the right post-high school choices, as long as he understood that the comic was intended to inform and not purely to entertain. Then again, the future is what you make it -- so why should the Future 5 be any different? If you’re like me, you enjoy seeing the comic medium used for varied purposes. It’s a truly educational reading experience.