Published by 2000 AD on August 26 2015
Genres: Science fiction, Art
A bit of an unusual review for you today. I was approached by a publicist from 2000 AD, a British serialized comic that’s been going strong for over thirty-five years. He explained that they were publishing a limited edition book of concept art from the 2015 movie, Ex Machina. I was unfamiliar with both the movie and 2000 AD’s web presence, but because I also love art, I was curious to see what Ava Evolved was all about. The publicist provided a PDF for me to review, and despite the fact that viewing art on a tablet isn’t the best way to experience it, I was intrigued by artist Jock’s development of the character of Ava, a beautiful AI who must interact with humans to prove how “human” she is.
The book is mostly filled with Jock’s artwork, and the total word count is probably less than 500 words, so it didn’t take me long to get through it. Ex Machina director Alex Garland briefly describes how Jock helped him realize the final version of Ava by creating sketches of the character, and how they worked together to move the final version of Ava away from a mostly human figure into something much more alien.
Reviewing a limited edition book without holding it in your hands makes it hard for me to convey my opinions. However, I suspect this is going to be a gorgeous book, if the artwork I saw gives any indication. Jock’s illustrations of Ava look very human in the beginning, but as his ideas progress, they become more and more alien and robotic. The final version of Ava is a strange and unsettling combination of human beauty and stark metal machinery, as you can see from this movie still:
Unfortunately for most readers, this will be a hard book to come by. Its limited edition status (2000 AD is only publishing 500 copies), combined with the fact that it is only available from the 2000 AD website, makes it pricey and unattainable for most. If you live in the UK, the book is priced at £40 (which as of this moment, translates to about $ 63.00 US.) Fans of the movie, as well as those who are interested in science fiction art, specifically the work of artist Jock, will be the target audience for this book.
You can purchase Ex Machina: Ava Evolved from the 2000 AD website here.
Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy of the book.