Failure to Launch: A Disappointing Collection of Ill-Fated Futures

Failure to Launch: A Disappointing Collection of Ill-Fated Futures


Failure to Launch is a light-hearted, educational tour of (so far!) unrealized technological and societal advances promised in years past, but which never came to be. What could have been, but wasn’t. Flying cars, robot butlers, Martian vacation homes, meal pills, utopian societies, one-world governments, artificial languages, and more. It’s everything we were told would be a part of our everyday lives, that never showed up. Bummer! (Sometimes.)

Click here to submit a proposal, but make sure you read this page first!


We’ve already got a whole bunch of great creators contributing stories to this book!

  • Blue Delliquanti
  • Hbomberguy
  • Iris Jay
  • Jay Edidin
  • Katie Tiedrich
  • Maddi Gonzalez
  • Ryan North


  • Paleofuture! A fun and fantastic blog, dutifully collecting and discussing myriad failed futures since the days of the early Internet. Everything from EPCOT’s visions of tomorrow to the torpedo cars predicted to be blasting down LA’s streets.
  • Closer Than We Think!, the ridiculously optimistic, future-forward comic strip of Arthur Radebaugh. Arthur got a whole lot right… and a whole lot wrong. His comics offer awesome insight to the Futurist fantasies of the mid-twentieth century!
  • The 2012 Apocalypse Phenomenon! You know what I mean, you were there! History is jam-packed with failed cataclysms of all kinds. Remember the Y2K bug?
  • The Oneida Community, and other utopian experiments. The mirror-universe manifestations of 2012 apocalypse furor, and just as densely populated with failure.
  • Futuredays: A Nineteenth Century Vision of the Year 2000, a collection of illustrations meant for the 1900 World Exposition in Paris, compiled by Issac Asimov. Like Radebaugh, there’s a lot they got right, here, but the best stuff is delightfully wrong. Rideable seahorses?


Failure to Launch will be a full-color, all-comics anthology. Each story will be between 4 and 20 pages in length. The desired contents are:

  • Fiction Inspired by Real Events! The story of a kid who fully expects to be living on the moon by 1990, or billionaires investing in immortality experiments. Cite what inspired the story, just so everyone knows you’re not just making it all up!
  • Non-Fiction! We expect this to make up the bulk of submissions. Tell us the story of alternating vs. direct current, or how the Hindenburg disaster ruined the idea of dirigible travel forever!
  • Biographies and Autobiographies! Did you grow up in a doomsday cult? Will it be impossible for you to rest until EVERYONE knows about Nikola Tesla’s thought camera? Consider sending us a story about it.

In short: We want stories about futures that never came to be, and the people who that disappointed . . . or elated.


  • Submissions from creators under the age of 18.
  • Pin-ups and prose submissions. This anthology will exclusively feature comics.
  • Excessively graphic content. Submissions to the anthology must be equivalent to a PG-13 or soft R movie rating. No  frequent “hard” profanity or erotica will be accepted.
  • Proposals from incomplete creative teams. If you’re an artist without a writer, or a writer without an artist, please find a partner before submitting your proposal. Iron Circus Comics can’t play matchmaker. (Single-creator submissions are fine. We don’t prefer multi-person teams over single creators, or vice-versa.)
  • Fanfic, fan art, or pastiche. Please don’t submit stories using intellectual property you don’t own, or stories that are clearly referential of such work/take place in the same universe or reality.


Failure to Launch will pay contributing teams a page rate of $75, plus ten contributor’s copies per creator and the perpetual right to buy copies of the anthology for 50% off the cover price for as long as the comic is in print. There will also be a bonus to page rates for all contributors if the Kickstarter campaign meets stretch goals.


Creators submit stories to Failure to Launch with the understanding that, if accepted, they are ceding exclusive first worldwide rights to the story for a full calendar year from the date of publication, and non-exclusive worldwide reprint rights in perpetuity. Intellectual property rights will remain in the hands of the creator.

We don’t want your characters or concepts, just your comics.


  • Submissions are open now.
  • Submissions close November 30, 2021.
  • Successful applicants will be announced January 3, 2022.
  • Final art will be due December 31, 2022.
  • Book is scheduled to ship Spring/Summer 2023.

If your submission is accepted, the final art must be designed to fit standard American graphic novel dimensions: 6.625″ × 10.25″. What this means for your production process depends on your choice of medium, but the following guides may be useful.

For more information, consult Blambot’s page on the subject.


What material will we need to submit for consideration?

When submissions open (DATE HERE), it will be in the format of a Google form. Prospective participants will be required to provide:

  • The names and emails of all creators involved in the story
  • The title of the proposed story
  • A summary of the proposed story, which includes the beginning, the middle, and the end
  • A predicted page count (estimates are fine)
  • Portfolio links for the proposed participants, which may also include any preparatory sketches done for the proposal, although this is not required

Each participant will also acknowledge and agree to a release, which will be part of the Google form.

What level of ability will you be looking for in submissions?

This is a professional publishing project. Writing and art will have to meet our standards of quality. Please browse our previous anthology efforts to get an idea of what we consider acceptable.

I’m not American. Can I still submit to this anthology?


Can I submit more than one proposal? I have multiple good ideas!

Yes, but please, no more than three per creator/creative team. We want your best ideas, not every idea you have.

I have an already-finished comic that fits this prompt perfectly. Would you be willing to consider it?

Only so long as it truly fits the original prompt, follows the stated guidelines, and has never been physically published before. (online publication as a webcomic or portfolio piece is fine.)

What age group will this anthology be meant for?

YA (Young Adult) and up. “Hard” swears (F***, C***) should be limited and nudity should be non-sexual.

Is the page rate per comic, or per team member?

Per comic. If the anthology finishes its Kickstarter with a $100 page rate, that page rate will be universal, regardless of the size of the creative teams. A comic with three contributing creators won’t make $300 per page.

What about intellectual property rights? Are you buying those from selected stories?

No. Participation in Failure to Launch cedes universal first publication rights to Iron Circus for a period of one year, and general publication rights in perpetuity.

What that means in practice is that only ICC and no one else will be permitted to sell your story in the agreed format (as part of an anthology) for one calendar year, and will be permitted to continue to sell your story in that format until the heat death of the universe, non-exclusively. After that initial year concludes, you can put your submission on Gumroad, sell it to a different anthology, stick it up on with pay-what-you-want pricing, print it as a mini for cons, anything you like.

And ICC is not purchasing intellectual property rights. If Guillermo del Toro decides he needs to make a movie out of a story we’ve published in Failure to Launch, he’ll have to go to you, not us. ICC exclusively publishes creator-owned comics.


If you have any questions about this project which have not been addressed here, you can contact the coordinators at [email protected]. Please read this page in its entirety before emailing.