Karla Nappi – Marianna Strychowska – Joshua Reed – Carlos Mangual – Leila del Duca – Owen Gieni
Everyone loves a good story set in the heart of future dystopia. Drawing inspiration from such classic and cult favorites Blade Runner and Minority Report DUPLICANT brings a truly unique vein to the genre. It isn’t just the dystopian take at play in this brilliant project, but the “doomsday plague” that has been insanely popular over the last decade. While it’s been a long standing formula for successful sci-fi and horror projects for decades it has been the resurgence in popularity that has driven some of the best and most creative approaches to it. DUPLICANT found a way to bring both scopes into a singular story and has created something truly original. This 56 page collection of the first two chapters is wrapping up funding in the next 24hrs! It is already blowing through stretch goals (4 extra digital books, bookmark, postcards so far with a sticker set still attainable). First off, I apologize to the creators of the project. I’m beyond late in getting this out to you folks.
So what exactly is going on with DUPLICANT? The short version is that Earth is hit with an organ failure epidemic. We fail to find a cure for it and find ourselves up that proverbial brown creek with no means of making way. As is one of the best aspects of this project, the book finds a way to bring in another real life hot point (cloning) and use it seamlessly. One of the scientists at the cooperation that failed to find a cure for the epidemic has actually perfected a means of duplicating organs. That’s a big hooray right? Well, as with the real world there’s the rest of the story. Big Tech takes issues with things and through their amalgated front they make it illegal to receive human organ transplants. Taking the one good thing (the ability to duplicate organs) and twisting it into the worst thing, people are now faced with the horror of having their lives at the mercy of Big Tech/Corp/Pharma etc. It is truly such a horrifically real take on realities we live with in the modern world. The realization we see on a day to day basis of corporations, conglomerates, and government is addressed and utilized very well as the overbearing bad guy in the story. I mean what else but ‘the bad guy’ would you call the entity that makes it illegal to save your life through means not controlled by them but then also auctions you off by way of your debt if you can’t afford their means? We are given two avenues through which the horrors of this new world unfold.
Pamela and Matt are the central characters and represent two distinctly different takes on the seizure of control and warping of what is now reality for people. Pamela represents what most people would find as their life in this dystopian future. Her lungs fail and she needs a transplant. The docs look at her account and see that she’s not able to cover things. Off to auction she goes where she gets bought. Now she’s at the mercy of and nothing more than a disposable tool for whomever bought and covered her debt. THAT is a very big reality check for folks. As fictional as the setting is, the themes are just as real. Then there’s Matt. His discovery/innovation should have been a greater good application for humanity. Instead, he’s faced with seeing everything he’s done used as a tool of ultimate evil. His part of the story really adds the depth in layers that DUPLICANT has in spades. On top of the dystopian future brought on by a humanity threatening plague of organ failure, society has now been infiltrated by even more institutional control than before. Your very life is controlled not just by the one that signs the paychecks and those that hold your bills. That has turned into a literal ownership of life. Choosing to use two very common tropes as dissection points for the story has allowed the creative team to dive deep and bring out both horrors we live in today and those sitting on the horizon of society.
The book itself serves the story well and the creative team has integrated it into the storytelling itself. The lines and colors are wonderful and the usage of both the art and structure elements only adds to the overall product. There are a few instances where words blend into the background or page structure slightly confuses the flow of things. However, creatively both the story and structure of the book stand on their own. For readers sensitive to traumatic events there is an instance of rape (the before and after, none of the act is shown). It isn’t a throwaway moment however. It is hard to make a comic that simultaneously uses real world application, theory, and on the cusp possibility effectively without either leaning too hard on one or just using one and running off with it. DUPLICANT is put together extremely well in all aspects. It carefully layers and utilizes the multiple lanes it navigates to create a wholly unique vision within existing genres.
HURRY AND GET IN ON THE PROJECT: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2007016434/duplicant-1-and-2-dystopian-future-biopunk-sci-fi-comic?ref=user_menu