Issue: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? #5
Writer(s): Philip K. Dick
Artist(s): Tony Parker
Cover(s): Bill Sienkiewicz, Moritat, Scott Keating
Letterer: Richard Starkings of COMICRAFT
Backmatter: Graeme McMillan
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
I read Summer’s reviews of issues #1 through #4 in preparation for this review I’m doing of issue #5. I haven’t had a chance to consult her personally, so I’m not sure I’m getting it right, but basically her conclusions seem to be: (1) the story is interesting (2) adapting a novel straight to a comic book is probably not a good idea because just reading the novel is cheaper and the visuals won’t add much to the novel anyway, and (3) the “backmatter” at the end of each issue is really fascinating and perhaps the only thing that makes the comic worth buying instead of just checking out the original novel from the library. So, I have to decide whether I agree.
I should say one more thing before I get into this. Although I loved the Blade Runner and Total Recall movies, I usually prefer utopian futures in my science fiction rather than dystopian. I know a lot of people prefer a healthy dose of cynicism in their futuristic worlds, but I get a bit impatient with all that “humanity is doomed” and “look at how horrible people are” attitude. And Phillip K. Dick is a master of dystopian world building. So keep that in mind if I get a little harsh when I review this stuff.
Having said that, I’m not sure what I think yet of the series overall, but I didn’t like this particular episode. The entire issue consists of Isadore and his employers deciding what to do with the dead cat and how to inform the cat’s owners that their feline friend has kicked the bucket. If I were buying this comic off the shelf, I would be really annoyed to get home and find out that the entire issue is Isidore fretting about whether he can use a “vid-phone” and subsequently babbling to the owner about how he’ll replace the corpse with a fake that just might be able to fool her husband (who is the one that actually loved the poor creature).
On the other hand, most people who read this are likely to be collectors, and the whole point of this effort by Boom! Studios is to reproduce the entire novel instead of – I don’t know – completely gutting it like the movie did. So, for someone who wants the entire collection, or who is eagerly awaiting a trade paper back, this might be an acceptable sacrifice to be loyal to the source material. Plus, the “backmatter” is pretty good. Written by Graeme McMillan, it provides an entertaining little narrative about how McMillan got into PKD, along with a bit of analysis into his work.
My instinct is that fans of Phillip K. Dick will love this series. For those who have heard of his genius but are unfamiliar with is work (like me): half will like it, and half will conclude Boom! should have adapted it more for the comic format. Of course, if you don’t like Dick, then you won’t like this at all.