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6 September 2014

Electric Ant (2011)

The quest for comic perfection continues! My mission to uncover immaculate storytelling has taken me to the darkest corners of the publishing world and I'm still sharing my thoughts with you on this blog. Yay!

Things are starting to tie themselves in knots like some sort of mutant Moebius loop. It was only in rereading my last post on "I Am Legend" that I realised that the Steven Niles responsible for the script adaptation is none other than the very same Steven Niles responsible for "30 Days of Night". The pieces of the jigsaw are beginning to slot together! I see honing of craft. I see practice through execution. I see obsession. I see the path to enlightenment and success!

 Imagine my surprise when I then realised that the David Mack responsible for scripting the 2011 graphic novel "Electric Ant" is the same David Mack responsible for Kabuki.


It's true I tell you!

Today's post dusts off a comic I'd almost forgotten that I'd read. It was the Philip Dick connection that made me do it.

You know that I've got a soft spot for anything Philip K Dick-related. I used to be a crazy-mad fan in my youth devouring anything I could lay my hands on by him.

I'd never heard of any PKD novel called "Electric Ant" but figured that this must be one of those instances where the Americans have given the book a different name or perhaps it was one of his short stories I'd forgotten about?

On the front of the comic it says: "Philip K. Dick's ELECTRIC ANT". You'd think it is one of his stories wouldn't you?

Despite feeling cheated the time I first read this book and damning Marvel for their "corporate lies" it turns out that this is in fact based upon the PKD short story of the same name.

I'm so embarrassed. I can't begin to apologise for my ill-informed ranting!

;-) Ha ha.

"Electric Ant" was first published in 1969 in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. The graphic novel I'm going to talk about is an adaptation scripted by David Mack and illustrated by Pascal Alixe. I can't comment on how the two stories line up because I can't for the life of me remember ever reading the original. :-(

One of the first things that struck me when reading this is how very much it could have been a PKD story. That's no doubt helped by the fact that it is a PKD story. The dialogue is brilliant. Of course we get classic PKD themes running throughout, such as that perennial question of whether your reality the same as mine, but more than this, the way the lines are delivered is trademark PKD. It's a pleasure to be lead by the nose through the adventure and there's plenty of craziness and food for thought along the way.

"Electric Ant" tells the tale of Garson Poole who survives a "car" crash only to discover that he's some sort of robot. And with this realisation his world begins to unravel in ways that I'm not going to begin to explain. Go read it yourself!

I'm going to cut to the chase and say that this isn't a classic comic and I'm going to lay the blame squarely with the artwork. Specifically I'm going to call out the colouring. Bear in mind that I'm colour-blind, so you might be see something different to me. Wow... That was a very PKD thing to say wasn't it!

Who are the robots here!?!

To my eyes the colouring is too intrusive and detracts from what is actually some very accomplished drawing. It could be that I'm missing something here, but let's assume I'm not. The characters have a sort of pointy-chinned modern manga look to them which I'm not a fan of, but actually it does help to give a futuristic feel to the artwork.

The painting seems out of step. Sorry Chris Sotomayor, but I can't get away from my view that the colouring seems stark and devalues the overall book. Let's move on.

Well actually, there's not much more that needs to be said. On the hallucinogenic Triple-B I'm going to start tampering with reality by adding 6 punch-holes to my internal tape mechanism...

Or am I?


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