The Adventures of Dat Williams: Episode 1

The Adventures of Dat Williams is a clever, campy rethink of the Clarke/Kubric 2001: A Space Odyssey engine. Dat Williams features our eponymous hero straggling on his mission somewhere in deep space, languishing and lonesome for human contact. Although Dat’s computer sagely advises that too much time ogling in front of the mirror can’t be good, “It is unhealthy to study oneself in the mirror as much as you do, according to the psychological models,” Dat likes to hang with his reflection, and the passage of time is marked by

Dat’s versatile array of hairstyles.

I was at first lulled into thinking that the relationship between Dat Williams and his computer was less cryptic than the one between Dave and Hal in 2001. For instance, Dat’s computer dishes out Aspirins and concocts something hot to eat when Dat’s got the cosmic travelling blues. Friendly enough, right? by the end of this first segment, though, you see that the machine’s urge to control its human passenger is perhaps only masked by its outward display of good manners.

The dream space sex sequence involving troubles with gravity is hilarious. I also loved details such as Dat’s computer monitor circa 1990. The artwork is somewhat naive but it’s fresh and the airlock pictures are some of my favourites for the way that they convey the heaviness of technology in the vastness of outer space.

Dat Williams’ vintage serial feel and tantalizing cliffhanger are evocative of classic Flash Gordon, except loaded with irony. Next issue: “The Secrets to Everlasting Life Revealed!” Can’t wait. (Melissa Bull)

Comic, Nicholas Welp, c/o Erin Redmond, 3412 Duval St., Austin TX, 78705, nickwelp@gmail.com

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