Thursday, May 18, 2017

Terms and Conditions by R. Sikoryak

Sikoryak has made his comics career out of taking words and pictures from other people and mashing them together -- most notably collected in Masterpiece Comics. His thing generally is to redraw famous comics pages -- sometimes new pages in the style of someone old and/or dead, but usually the famous art itself -- and put different words into the balloons, for amusing, satiric, and or artsy purposes.

A couple of years ago, he decided, for whatever reason, to abandon high literature and take his text from much duller reality -- Apple's iTunes Terms and Conditions, a legal document that millions of us have accepted without actually reading. The book Terms and Conditions explains, in a short postscript, how he went about working on this project, and which iterations of the changing legal document were used for various versions of these pages, but it never actually tells us why he did it.

The book also never mentions that Sikoryak replaced the main characters in all of this redrawn art with what looks like a Steve Jobs figure -- the name Jobs is never mentioned, nor the fact that this book has a single main character throughout all of its hundred art styles. But it's what he did, and you can see many of the styles of Job on the front cover.

Sikoryak's postscript also notes that he worked on his book in batches of pages, a dozen or so at a time. He would draw those page and then shoehorn some T&C onto them, and then go onto the next batch. So he didn't pick pages to coincide with the text; he just redrew a bunch of famous comics pages to star Steve Jobs instead, and then tossed what is essentially lorem ipsum text onto those pages.

It's all very arty. But I don't really see the purpose or use of it. Terms and Conditions can have no artistic unity in any way -- each page in completely independent, and the text is pure legal boilerplate. The enjoyment in reading it is primarily in recognizing each page (if you do so instantly) or in trying to figure out the source if it's vaguely familiar. It is a cold and pointless thing, of interest primarily to people who like conceptual art.

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