This is why licensed comics can be so enjoyable. The same characters who first appeared on the screen or in a book are able to come to life in ways they couldn’t have before. As great as this can be, sometimes the possibilities are too much for creators to handle and the comic doesn’t quite hold up in comparison to the original work. It is a careful balance that some creators are unable to achieve.
There are many different purposes licensed comics can serve, and many different ways they can both succeed and fail.
Supplementing Ongoing Stories
One of the most successfully adapted examples of this is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? This retelling of the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name pairs the critically acclaimed story with cinematic, almost film-noir art. It’s a compelling combination. It’s also interesting because the novel was already adapted into a more visual medium in Blade Runner, but the comic deviates from the visual style of the movie in a number of ways. Reimagining the original story with different visuals (and a more loyal retelling) gives fans an entirely new way to interact with the story and characters. It provides an alternative to the ones that were previously prescribed to them and allows fans to derive new meaning from a work they already loved. It also brings new readers to the story who had never heard of or had been intimidated by the novel itself, and opens up the community to even more people.