Lurking in dystopian corners of the Internet are superfans of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. They spread rumors about upcoming sequels and debate the nuances of Android science (is Harrison Ford’s character a human or a replicant? Will we ever know?).
More than 30 years after the film came out, they finally have something new to obsess over. Chicago-based artist James O pays homage to the cult classic with Skinjobs: A Blade Runner Zine! Twenty-five illustrators created art inspired by the film to be collected in a limited-edition anthology booklet printed by a Risograph, a digital printing system that prints single spot colors at a time and functions like an automatic screen printer. “Blade Runner presents such an immersive, detailed universe—perfect for exploring from a variety of perspectives,” James tells Co.Design.
To cover production costs, James started a Kickstarter campaign that’s already raised more than five times its goal of $1,700, with 16 days to go. “I started getting a bunch of heartwarming messages from people about how much they love the film. Clearly die-hards,” James says. The zine’s title, Skinjobs, is a derogatory term for replicants, the bioengineered androids that populate the film, which is based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
“For my illustration, I chose to draw J.F. Sebastian, sort of a lonely artisan character, and the victim of ‘accelerated decrepitude.’ He can be very relatable,” James says.
With her black bouffant and ever-present cigarette, the iconic Rachael the Android captured the hearts of countless sci-fi geek despite lacking a heart herself. “Rachael is featured in several of the illustrations, naturally,” James tells Co.Design. “Another common thread seems to be the enigma of the origami unicorn.”
Most of the artists were friends of James'—fellow alumni of the illustration program at Washington University in St. Louis. Some artists used ink on paper; others painted entirely digitally. All were limited to two colors—blue and pink—because the risograph duplicator used for production requires color separations similar to screenprinting. "Basically, we're shooting for the same quality as an art print you might hang on your wall—except it's an entire book," says James.
To support the Kickstarter and impress your sci-fi geek friends with a second edition copy of the zine (the first print run sold out!), go here. A small number of the risographed first edition copies are reserved to sell in a few alternative comics shops, including Quimby's in Chicago.