San Diego Comic-Con 2008

SDCC '08: Philip K. Dick's Electric Ant

Writer David Mack and artist Pascal Alixe talk about adapting the classic story

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By Tim Stevens Prepare to question your reality because everything you know about yourself may be a lie. Don't believe it? The upcoming adaptation of legendary science fiction author Philip K. Dick's "Electric Ant" might just change your mind. The story follows one Garson Poole after he awakens from a vehicle accident and begins to psychologically unravel. Or he might just be the only person who can see everything, including himself, for real. Writer David Mack and artist Pascal Alixe bring the story to four-color, five-issue life for Marvel with covers provided by Paul Pope beginning this November. However, many other hands have contributed to making this series a reality—if you forgive the pun.

Concept art by
Pascal Alixe

As Mack explains, "The producer of the 'Scanner Darkly' film, Tommy Pallotta, put [the project] in motion. Tommy showed my work to Philip K. Dick's daughters [Laura and Isa] and he suggested the idea of adapting PKD stories into graphic novels for the first time. "Tommy and I, along with [novelist, OMEGA THE UNKNOWN writer, and Philip K. Dick scholar] Jonathan Lethem, went about combing the prolific works of PKD in search for the right story to start with." After "Electric Ant" became the clear choice for its "quintessential themes of humanity," Mack suggested Marvel Comics as a good home for the project, given the initial adaptation of Stephen King's "Dark Towers" novels' success. Marvel expressed interest so all the parties met and the project began to take shape. Pascal Alixe became involved in the book at this time when, he recalls, "[Editorial Talent Coordinator] Chris Allo introduced me to [editor] Mark Paniccia who proposed me the project, asking me to do the color as well." Alixe, who believes that, "most modern [science fiction] product show some kind of connection to Philip K. Dick's themes" quickly signed on.

Cover by
David Mack

As with any adaptation, ELECTRIC ANT will not be 100 percent the same as the short story; overall, however, Mack promises a high degree of fidelity: "It was most important to me to be respectful to Philip K. Dick's story and that my version would ring true to his daughters. I can't tell you how happy I was that [they] liked the script that I wrote. That meant everything to me." He adds, elaborating on how the short story and adaptation differ, "Everything that is in the short story is adapted into this version, but things that are suggested in the original story are given more room to flesh out. Some ideas and details that are mentioned only once at the beginning of the short story, now have room to return with a twist." For up to the minute Marvel news spinning out of the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, visit the Marvel.com SDCC news hub. And while you're waiting in between announcements, spend some time over at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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