Thursday, August 17, 2006

Don’t Eat the Electric Sheep

Don’t Eat the Electric Sheep, 2002, Knee Deep Press
by Joe Flood

I have two issues that claim to be Don’t Eat the Electric Sheep #2, but I think today’s issue is actually a reprint from the first in the series, with an additional back-up story for fresh, added value. Only its creator, Joe Flood, would really know for sure. I’m not too terribly concerned about the discrepancy in continuity. When a story stars an insane robot trapped in a secret asylum, linear thought isn’t much of a factor.

I’ve referenced Don’t Eat the Electric Sheep before, categorizing it with other breakout indie books like Pop Gun War and Finder. These titles dangle within the realm of reality by a thin thread, with just enough familiarity to distract the reader’s attention away from the strange, surreal subtext that permeates the plot. Don’t Eat the Electric Sheep stars a robot drone, Myles, struggling for its freedom, and although he breaks his bonds and initially eludes his captors, he eventually succumbs and submits to their will again. The weird part is, this robot appears to be human, with “bio fluid” that could pass as blood and an artificial heart that “can fool the even the wariest female.” I wonder if Flood is constructing a carefully satirical allegory, or if we are supposed to think so. The line between cleverness and coincidence is too thin in the world of indie comics nowadays.

The follow-up story apparently began as a conceptual homage to Flood’s favorite cartoonists, presumably including the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His protagonist, a humanoid duck named Bill, fights monstrous alligators in the sewer alongside his friends Frank (a Frankenstein monster) and Cricket, a carefree young lady. The tale is simple and fun, with allusions toward continuous adventures.

So, one issue, two quacks. Sorry. Had to say it.

I confess, I picked up issues one (?) through three of DETES at the Con because I actually had issue four, from where, I don’t remember. But I remember enjoying it, thematically and artistically. Looking three issues into the past, Flood certainly came a long way in the interim, and having previewed art from an upcoming project of his, his skills are exponentially improving with each of his offerings. This issue is good, but visually sloppy compared to his later installments. I can’t tell if much changed between the four issues by way of its characters – they seem to be in the same predicaments from one episode to the next – but the real story is Flood, anyway. If you haven’t heard of him before now, something tells me you’ll hear from him again.

Speaking of hearing from folks, I’m not sure what this weekend has in store for the A Comic A Day challenge. My co-workers and I are going on a calendar planning retreat, so although I will still read and review a new issue daily, I may not be able to post until Sunday. We’ll see what happens. Now I know what Myles feels like. There are some things you just can’t escape.

No comments: