I want to begin this entry with a BIG congrats on the success of Robert Venditti’s graphic novel The Surrogates which is now going to be made into a movie staring Bruce Willis. Robert and I worked together for a couple of years back in 1998. We opened a Borders Books, Music, and Cafe in Winter Park, Florida which is just outside Orlando. We met again at Megacon in Orlando which turned out he now works for Top Shelf Comix. If the name sounds familiar, you might have read it on an earlier post about Andy Runton “Owly” attending an event at the Miami Lakes Branch Library. The picture at the beginning of the entry is not the movie poster for the film but rather a faux advertising ad that was place at the end of the single issue edition.
Top Shelf Comix is also the home of Alan Moore who has written V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Speaking of which, Alan Moore was Simpsonize on yesterday’s episode which was very funny. Click here to watch online.
What is The Surrogate? Here is a review that was done back in 2006.
The Surrogates is not simply a disturbing look into the future. It’s a powerful commentary on the world we live in today. First time writer Robert Venditti has a gift for being able to touch on poignant subjects such as gender roles, technology, American consumer culture and advertising, while never losing focus on telling an exciting science fiction crime tale, similar to films like Blade Runner and Total Recall, but with an identity of its own. Combined with some great artwork and creative extras, Top Shelf has given us one of the best graphic novels in quite some time.
Less than 50 years from today, Surrogates are as common as televisions and home computers. An owner of one of these life-like androids can live a daily existence from the comfort of home, and the world seems to function better for it. Every sensation imaginable can be experienced through a Surrogate, without worrying about aging or the consequences of stepping outdoors. Crime is virtually non-existent, since every Surrogate unit can be traced to its owner. Smoking a cigarette no longer causes bodily damage, and random hook-ups between strangers are now safer than ever (even if you might not exactly know with whom it is you’re hooking up). So when a masked being starts destroying random surrogates, the police department knows that this threat to civilization’s way of life could cause public pandemonium. Lieutenant Harvey Greer is assigned on the case, and links the surrogate assaults to Zaire Powell III, a religious radical who many years ago, led a violent but unsuccessful rebellion against the blasphemy of people trading their humanity for machines. All the while, Greer’s own surrogate is destroyed, but instead of a replacement, he tackles the case ‘in the flesh’, and begins to appreciate the wonders of experiencing life once again, much to his wife’s discontent.
It’s rare to find a book where the artwork conveys such emotion as in The Surrogates. Close ups of character’s faces and expressions reveal pain and inner sadness, whether in human or surrogate form. Each scene changes tint and color tones to give it a sense of impending anger and hopelessness, which works incredibly well with the theme of the story. Between each chapter, supplemental material is included to draw you deeper into the world of The Surrogates, with scholastic journal articles, newspaper clippings (complete with classified ads), and even Greer’s brochure about new features in Surrogate technology, which he acquires in the story. The detail given to the presentation of this volume is astounding, and warrants a second look.
It’s admirable how the author presents each concept in The Surrogates. Though it would be easy to label certain parties in the book as bad guys, Venditti is too smart for that. Instead, both sides of the arguments on the usage of Surrogates are presented, and they both offer a compelling case that allows readers to pass their own judgment on the notion of living such an existence. Surely no one could live a complete life in this Matrix of sorts, no matter how willingly you choose to participate. Yet at the same time, because of the surrogates, society has eliminated most of its dangers and casualties, and given a life to those who may not have the ability to experience it. Or is the true danger, like with any other human vice, only present when full dependency on the technology arises?
As I end this entry, I want to thank everyone that has made this blog an incredible success in a very short time. I am aiming to enhance the blog with my podcast running next year (cross my fingers). With each podcast interview I will do, I will be giving away signed copies of books/artwork or other cool swag. Keep on reading my blog for more detail and updates.