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excellent writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 8
No Future
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Only Printing / 1980 / 32 pages / Titanic Enterprises
No Future is a comic book from Sydney, Australia that was entirely produced by Toby Zoates (a pen name). The book is comprised of one full-length adventure, except for the covers and inside covers, which provide ancillary fantasy and anecdotal biography. The main story is called, not surprisingly, "No Future" and it conveys the continual struggle of a gay man trying to live in a society that not only insists on permanently branding him as an unnatural and degenerate human, but wants to wipe him off the face of the Earth.

The artwork by the not-formally-trained artist is primitive, the plot a bit rambling, and the writing somewhat wordy, but the underlying messages about societal rejection and condemnation in No Future are delivered with crystalline clarity. In essence, the story follows a man named Jim Boots as he escapes being institutionalized for his sexuality and forms a rebellion with other ostracized people, which leads to them inhabiting a "last-chance" society that seems to give them hope of a "normal" life. Alas, this utopian society still wants to destroy all dissidents and heretics, and since they are natural-born dissidents there is still no future for them.

Zoates was 30 years old, virtually penniless and living in an abandoned, delapidated house (known as "cracking into a squat") while producing this book over three decades ago. As he states on the back cover, "Having experienced the most brutal oppression all my life because of my sexuality, I have become a confirmed enemy of the status quo...." The evidence supporting his statement is provided in "No Future."

Fortunately, Zoates is still around today, not beaten to death or dead from AIDS, a prolific artist who has endured being an "outsider" for over four decades. Instead of trying to describe his stake in life, I'm going to let Zoates speak for himself since he does it with so much passion. The following excerpts are taken from two different posts in Toby Zoates' blog, one from 2006 and one from 2011. I recommend you visit his blog and peruse its contents, because if you're like me, you'll come away impressed by the raw power of his writing.

"I created my moniker, Toby Zoates, in 1978 as a punk satire on consumer capitalism and bourgeois art, ripping off the famous Australian porridge makers [Toby's Oats], getting my name promulgated every 3 seconds in TV commercial breaks, sowing my wild oats with images of teenagers swallowing phallic meusli bars, their gobs dripping with creamy porridge sludge. With a tag like that I was never going to make it in the above-ground art world. If you look up my 'nom de guerre' on Google you'll find one notice, among many, that states I was a punk cartoonist of the seventies and eighties, and then apparently dropped dead. I have, in the '90s and 21st century, carried on drawing subversive satires of the world I'm floundering in, only I got killed off "spiritually", I can't get a showing, or published, or distributed, except for my ongoing self-engendered flyers, posters, cards and comic-strips.

"I got buried in the Underground and this 'ranting' is my bitching scream of anguish as I try to claw my way out of the muck. The Internet may give me a democratic space, not only thru blogging, but maybe my artwork will get promulgated in some arcane sites, ongoing graphics that put the finger to this fame-whoring, money grubbing, war-mongering, scumbag-ruling world. In these post post-modernist times, ART is a syphilitic whore that careerist status-worshippers and money-suckers have fucked into vacuous imbecility, that is, ubiquitous abstract expressionism, indulgent 'cult of the celebrity' portraiture and gut churning conceptual diahorrea. Who gives a shit when millions starve or are bombed to oblivion, ART farts and will return to the dust along with all the rest of us.

"What's my problem? Why the chip on my shoulder? Why do I have to eternally stick the finger to the System, the Beast, Consumer Capitalism? (Again I'm a walking contradiction, my art is possibly just another product to be consumed!) First, because as a cheesy smiling sacred cow white-washing exploitation, pollution and destruction the Beast cries out for satirisation, and, secondly, because I got fucked, twisted, stunted on the journey to here and I can't Get Over It. Toby Zoates is my "fuck you" to the Beast."
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.
Toby Zoates - 1-32