Chew creator John Layman’s The Man Who F#%&ed Up Time is a time travel whodunit about screwing up on a cosmic level

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Time travel: It’s impossible, perilous and filled to the brim with the opportunity to create a few paradoxes. Travel back in time and accidentally squish a mosquito? Congratulations, you just allowed a thread of vicious Neanderthal mutants to avoid a plague that would have wiped them out and allowed for the rise of Homo Sapien.

There’s no telling just how much damage one individual could do to the flow of history, but that isn’t stopping John “Chew” Layman from taking a stab at the genre with his next title at Aftershock Comics. Simply titled The Man Who F#%&ed Up Time, Layman’s new series with artist Karl Mostert examines just how badly one individual can cock up history. Here’s the full synopsis for it:

Sean Bennett is just your everyday, ordinary lab worker in a high-tech lab with a proto-type time machine. And, yeah, he’s got the same temptations any of us would have about going back in time, just a bit, to correct mistakes of the past and right old wrongs. So, when he meets a version of himself from the future who encourages him to do just that, Sean takes the temporal plunge. Only…can you guess what happens next? Did you read the book title? Yup. All of TIME is f#%&ed up now, and it’s up to Sean to cor-rect it-or else!

“The Man Who F#%&ed Up Time is the story of Sean Bennett, a low-level lab worker who meets his future self in a bar, who convinces him to use the prototype laboratory time machine and go back a week —just a week— and make a few minor changes to order to improve his life,” Layman said in a press release.

Only when he comes back, all time has been screwed up… dinosaurs walk the earth, samurai, Vikings, and they are all ruled under the tyrannical iron thumb of Emperor Abraham Lincoln IV. Poor Sean is tasked with setting right the space-time continuum, or face the wrath of the cyborg Future Police. To do this, Sean has to undo everything he did previously, but every action he takes seems to make things worse and worse.

Beyond being a showcase of screwing up on a cosmic level, Layman says that the series will also have a whodunit story running throughout the pages:

I’m calling it a ‘Butterfly Effect noir,’ because, even amid all the absurdity of fixing a crazy, f#%&ed-up space-time continuum, Sean Bennet also has to get to the bottom of things. If it wasn’t his time-traveling actions that screwed everything up, whose was it? Whodunit? And why?

It’s a crazy premise, one that Mostert has to draw while presumably making plans to send Layman a massive box of spiders for Christmas. “Poor Karl Mostert! This book is his first mainstream gig, and he’s got the unfortunate job of having to draw all the crazy things I throw at him, which is essentially everything in all of human history—and more! But I have to say, he’s stepped up in a huge way, drawing all the madness I’ve asked him for, and then upping the scale and scope every issue,” Layman said.

I suspect when we finally meet face-to-face he’s going to punch me right in the face. I also suspect this book is but the first of many comic projects you’re going to hear from Karl, because he’s monstrously talented and super hard working.

The Man Who F#%&ed Up Time will be out next year February, with Dee Cunniffe throwing in some vibrant colours and Layman also doing double duty on the lettering.

Last Updated: November 5, 2019

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