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Existenz: A Graphic Novel

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David Cronenberg is the visionary director of the modern classic films Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and The Fly. An interview with Salman Rushdie inspired him to make a film about an artist who finds herself on a hit list, and must go into hiding.Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Willem Dafoe, the film eXistenZ (Miramax) is set in the near future, when game designers are wors David Cronenberg is the visionary director of the modern classic films Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and The Fly. An interview with Salman Rushdie inspired him to make a film about an artist who finds herself on a hit list, and must go into hiding.Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Willem Dafoe, the film eXistenZ (Miramax) is set in the near future, when game designers are worshipped as superstars, and players can actually enter games. eXistenZ is a breakthrough gaming system invented by game goddess Allegra Geller. When downloaded into humans through a bioport fitted into the spine, eXistenZ accesses their nervous systems, transporting them on a wild ride that will shatter the line that separates fantasy from reality. When anti-eXistenZ fanatics attempt to assassinate Allegra Geller, she is forced to flee into hiding. Her sole ally is a guard who is sworn to protect her. Allegra persuades him to play the game and draws them both into a phantasmagoric world where existence and eXistenZ begin -- and perhaps will never end. This graphic-novel treatment of eXistenZ (based on David Cronenberg's screenplay) is by Sean Schoffield, who has drawn for Marvel and DC Comics. He has recently completed a series of X-Files adaptations for Topps Comics. Both Cronenberg and Scoffield live in Toronto.


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David Cronenberg is the visionary director of the modern classic films Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and The Fly. An interview with Salman Rushdie inspired him to make a film about an artist who finds herself on a hit list, and must go into hiding.Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Willem Dafoe, the film eXistenZ (Miramax) is set in the near future, when game designers are wors David Cronenberg is the visionary director of the modern classic films Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and The Fly. An interview with Salman Rushdie inspired him to make a film about an artist who finds herself on a hit list, and must go into hiding.Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Willem Dafoe, the film eXistenZ (Miramax) is set in the near future, when game designers are worshipped as superstars, and players can actually enter games. eXistenZ is a breakthrough gaming system invented by game goddess Allegra Geller. When downloaded into humans through a bioport fitted into the spine, eXistenZ accesses their nervous systems, transporting them on a wild ride that will shatter the line that separates fantasy from reality. When anti-eXistenZ fanatics attempt to assassinate Allegra Geller, she is forced to flee into hiding. Her sole ally is a guard who is sworn to protect her. Allegra persuades him to play the game and draws them both into a phantasmagoric world where existence and eXistenZ begin -- and perhaps will never end. This graphic-novel treatment of eXistenZ (based on David Cronenberg's screenplay) is by Sean Schoffield, who has drawn for Marvel and DC Comics. He has recently completed a series of X-Files adaptations for Topps Comics. Both Cronenberg and Scoffield live in Toronto.

30 review for Existenz: A Graphic Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amber Tucker

    For those who don't know: "Set in the near future, eXistenZ depict a society in which gaming designers are worshipped as superstars and players can actually enter inside the games.. The name of the game is eXistenZ – a technology so advanced that it uses biology to transport players into gaming experiences beyond the bounds of virtual reality. eXistenZ taps so deeply into players' fears and desires that it blurs the boundaries between reality and escapism." [from the inleaf and back cover] Two p For those who don't know: "Set in the near future, eXistenZ depict a society in which gaming designers are worshipped as superstars and players can actually enter inside the games.. The name of the game is eXistenZ – a technology so advanced that it uses biology to transport players into gaming experiences beyond the bounds of virtual reality. eXistenZ taps so deeply into players' fears and desires that it blurs the boundaries between reality and escapism." [from the inleaf and back cover] Two point five stars from me, but that rounds up. I am rating this based on its quality as a stand-alone, that is, without considering that it's based on a film. eXistenZ: A Graphic Novel wears a more-or-less obscuring veil of surreality the whole way through, and while I don't consider that necessarily bad style for a graphic novel, it was rather hard to read. I managed to follow the action (not sure if I'd call it a plot, and the departure from that is admirable) only on what felt to me a basic level. Try as I did to determine what was going on, I was not always able to connect the relation of two side-by-side frames when they were split by a totally unwarned-of saccade from one scene to another. Fine in a movie; confusing in a book. The artwork here demands mention, and adulation. Scoffield takes the graphic novel through his illustrations to a level of realism I've never encountered in a graphic novel. It's very movie-like which, I gather, is the aim. And it's undeniably gorgeous. Gorgeous, as well as appropriate. It evokes the shadowy world of 'virtual?... or... reality?' with almost chilling efficiency; we can't make out everything that's happening, and we're not sure if the characters inside the frames can, either. Again, though, I have to say that the close-ups and the extreme shading in many frames are frustrating to me. You're in a world with quite a few objects foreign to our own: bioports, Pink-fones, Game Pods and so on. There is a handy glossary of these in the beginning. But in the course of the story, I find myself needing to jump a few frames ahead to learn what exactly an earlier frame depicts, and that took away from my own enjoyment. Altogether, this is one of those rare times when you need the movie as a starting place to enjoy the literary version. I have not seen Cronenberg's film, and I know I would have found this to be a far richer reading experience if I had.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jemiah Jefferson

    Interesting watercolor depiction of actual screen grabs from the film itself - it sadly takes away all of the sick, twisty humor of the motion picture. Strange project!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Raewyn

    I love this movie. I liked the stylization of the story in this graphic retelling but something was missing to show the frantic blurring confusion necessary for the tale.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David

    eXistenZ is not the best of Cronenberg's films (although I recommend the Canadian DVD release with multiple commentaries and documentaries over the bare bones US release). The book has the feel of one of the Richard Anobile photo-books of classic films that were popular in the 70s. The artwork here is the big problem. While Sean Scoffield may be an excellent artist elsewhere, here his work looks like photoshopped images manipulated with a paint-simulation filter. Some images are realistic, other eXistenZ is not the best of Cronenberg's films (although I recommend the Canadian DVD release with multiple commentaries and documentaries over the bare bones US release). The book has the feel of one of the Richard Anobile photo-books of classic films that were popular in the 70s. The artwork here is the big problem. While Sean Scoffield may be an excellent artist elsewhere, here his work looks like photoshopped images manipulated with a paint-simulation filter. Some images are realistic, others are lost in a blurring of detail.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    One of my favorite movies in a not-so great graphic novel adaptation. As a graphic novel the story feels incredibly rushed and doesn't have the intensely creepy feeling of the movie. Only for big fans of eXistenZ.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    I'm not honestly sure what to say about this book. It sure is different.

  7. 4 out of 5

    André Dadi

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessie B.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paradiso Arthur

  10. 5 out of 5

    Corey

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tin

  12. 5 out of 5

    DoctorM

  13. 5 out of 5

    woody fanon

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shar

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard Lanson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Girard

  18. 5 out of 5

    Corey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Terry Mulcahy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Μανώλης Φραγγίδης

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marcelo Quintarelli

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristijan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jacques Adrian Powers

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nina W

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tina

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cait

  27. 5 out of 5

    L

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Dont even bother... the movie is bad enough and that only takes 1 and 1/2 hrs.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Grimsley

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fontenot

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