Boom! Studios' new Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? takes the classic Dick novel into the comic medium without losing one word, resulting in an experience that's unique, rewarding and likely to make you forget Blade Runner.
One of the most immediate surprises about DADOES is how true it manages to stay to both the comic medium as well as the original book; I'd expected something more akin to an illustrated book, large chunks of type occasionally punctuated with short comic sequences, but that's not what you get here. Instead, Dick's writing is broken into caption boxes and speech balloons and, impressively, it works - Yes, some pages seem wordy, but not so much that they're unreadable; whether the distribution is down to letterers Comicraft, artist Tony Parker or editor Ian Brill, it's a great job.
Artwise, Parker does well. There are some moments of discontinuity from the text ("Long robes" become noticably shorter in his hands, for example), but not so much that it pulls you out from the story, and he handles the space and choreography of the page well. I'm less in love with the coloring by Blond, which gives everything a glossy, generic texture, but willing to let that go as a sign of my obsessive nerditry; it doesn't stand in the way of the visuals, and you could argue that it speaks to some theme of synthetic/fake nature from the story itself.
It seems pointless actually reviewing the writing, in a way; Dick's novel is very Dick, complete with the imagination and surrealism he always offers, and complaints about the lack of drama in the issue's close become particularly ridiculous when you remember that this is literally just the first 24th of the book and never intended to build to a particular cliffhanger that'd bring you back next month. What may surprise many, though, is full of information this issue is; even allowing for the amount of text contained in this issue, there's a lot of stuff to learn, and remember. Whether this will be off-putting for some more used to less-filled monthly comics, though, remains to be seen (It's interesting that the first issue comes with a short essay in back from Warren Ellis, and that Matt Fraction will be providing a similar piece in the second; fans of those writers definitely should enjoy this, if they're not already familiar with the book).
As a comic, then, it works - Surprisingly, and against expectations. But there's still a part of me that wonders why someone would choose to read this over just reading the original book, which gives the full story in one sitting, as opposed to over a 24-month period; as good as the visuals are, and as interesting as the comic is as an object, the question of "Why?" looms large, if unspoken, on every page.
The first issue of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? is released tomorrow.