Foundation – The Psychohistorians 0

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Isaac Asimov wrote Foundation half a century ago, but somehow his ideas still resonate with as much force as ever. With my version of his story I wanted to expand on the hints he gives us about future Galactic culture, binging in elements from the Victorian era, imperial China, and old science fiction. As the Foundation progressed I had big plans for how the material culture would evolve through styles based on sci-fi from the fifties, sixties, and on to the present.

Foundation was my first webcomic. It was (at the time) one of the longest comics I’d ever done, and you can probably see the beginnings of a stylistic approach that has influenced much of the work I’ve done since.

Maybe some day I’ll get to do a legitimate adaptation of a classic science fiction novel. That’d be nice. Comics adapted from books are a lot of fun to do.

Discussion (12)¬

  1. Mini-Mimi says:

    Ooh, this sounds interesting. Is is a comic version of a pre-existing story? (Because it says, “Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’.)

  2. Nimtar says:

    So I don’t know if anyone has told you to make a graphic series out of this, but you should make a graphic series out of this. Asimov fans would all love you. Especially if you draw Hober Mallow to look like Blackbeard.

    • Jonathon says:

      Nimtar you have no idea how much I would love to do exactly that. I had a whole big plan for how the material culture of the Foundation would evolve from pseudo-steampunk at the start to retro 1950s to 1970s scifi. I had character sketches for the next chapter all done. Buuuuut I don’t actually have the rights to this story, unfortunately, and I doubt I could get them. So I guess it’s not going to happen.

      • Nimtar says:

        Oooh that’s too bad! Have you tried writing a letter to the Asimov Estate?

        Also would you mind talking about why you decided on an Empire filled with Chinese language? I noticed it on the cab drivers, police, the dress-codes of the commissioners of safety, heck, even the mathematical equations.

        • Jonathon says:

          There are quite a few books I would love the chance to adapt into graphic novels. But ultimately I think I need to establish a career doing successful comics of my own first, so that established authors and publishers would take a request like that seriously.

          There’s a couple of reasons why my version of the Galactic Empire has so many Chinese elements. First, in one of the three tribute sequels to the Foundation series written after Asimov’s death, one of the authors makes the case for the Empire being modeled after Imperial China, especially the bureaucracy. I think he made the case pretty well. Second, this is a truly Galactic Empire that encompasses all of humanity. Why wouldn’t it take inspiration from all of human history? I incorporated a lot of elements from Victorian Britain, neo-Classical America, ancient Rome, and China. They mix together pretty well, I think.

          Also, having “commissioners of public safety” is SUCH a Chinese thing to do. And in the original, the guy’s name is Chen…

  3. nimtar says:

    Let’s see if you can get some reddit love for this one…

  4. Dimens says:

    Thank you for this amazing comic, i always knew Isaac Asimov wrote amazing stories from what my father told me of books he read from him. I never really got in to book reading for my memory wont allow me to remember what i read yesterday.. Reading your comic makes me want to read the hole book for the story is just to good to pas up. Know im responding to something old here, but what the heck..

    • Jonathon says:

      Thanks Dimens. Have you considered listening to the Foundation series as audiobooks? I listen to audiobooks a lot as I draw to make up for how little time I have for reading novels. There has been talk about turning Foundation into a movie or something, but it’s the type of book that would never adapt well to movies or television.

  5. deky says:

    Wow, loving your adaption of the series. I always envisioned a sort of space cadet feel but your vision has totally replaced what I imagined while reading the books. You have adapted the first book why not finish the trilogy?

    • Jonathon says:

      Thanks, Deky. This is actually just the first chapter of the first book in the trilogy. I had big plans for how I was going to adapt the rest, but since it’s unlikely I’ll ever get the rights to the Foundation books, I decided it was a much better use of my time to focus on my own stories, which I can sell or distribute however much I want.

  6. AsimovTroper says:

    You might be interested to learn that the Asimov estate has authorized another artist to make a comicbook adaptation of the Foundation.