Comic Book - The Abolition of Man

Living the Line Books and Diamond Comics have announced that the pioneering book, The Abolition of Man, the first comic series entirely illustrated by a computer, will be receiving a deluxe, hardcover collection in June of 2023...

Press Release

"This singular project will hold an important place not only in the history of comics but in the history of art as it is the first of its kind to engage with the most important moment in the history of art since some wasteful cave-person blew juice at their hand on a wall instead of drinking it."

Conceived and executed by fine-artist/educator/philosopher turned Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist, Carson Grubaugh, The Abolition of Man Deluxe Edition collects all five issues of the groundbreaking series of the same name, and it is the first comic series in history to be entirely illustrated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Starting on June 3rd, 2022, Grubaugh used the now-controversial Midjourney AI to conduct a series of interwoven experiments designed to test the “intelligence” and full visual capabilities of the technology. This first experiment, “illustrated” solely by feeding the AI a portion of C.S. Lewis' eerily prescient essay, “The Abolition of Man”, posits that our desire to control nature will lead to a purposeless and diminished form of humanity. The second experiment, “HodTech,” projects these technological innovations into a satirical dystopia where all human work has been made redundant by machines, leaving the species with nothing to do but remix old content. HodTech culminates in the third experiment, written and illustrated entirely by AI, using only the prompt, “The Abolition of Man.” The final experiment, illuminated by AI-designed infographics, is written by Philosophy of Information founder Luciano Floridi, who begins the work of bringing a moral framework to this new field of ethics by showing how human dignity can help us design a future worth building.

This deluxe hardcover edition also collects 40 pages of exclusive content, including sample pages of the extremely rare (only ten copies exist) Dall-E 2 variant edition of The Abolition of Man #1, in which the entire interior of issue #1 was re-illustrated using Dall-E 2, a second AI image generator. The collection also includes two pieces of philosophical writing produced by Grubaugh between 2007 and 2018 that were the source of inspiration for this project. These essays include predictions about the banal, Content Apocalypse that AI is now making a reality.

Also accompanying The Abolition of Man project are a series of long-form discussions about the ethics and impact of AI art with superstar guests Dave McKean (illustrator), NFN Kalyan (fine artist), John Mahoney (concept designer, filmmaker) and Luciano Floridi (Philosopher of Information, Data and AI Ethics policy maker). These are posted on Living The Line's YouTube channel and linked in the book.

Living the Line Publisher Sean Michael Robinson says, "From the first moments that Carson and I had access to Midjourney and other diffusion models, we both knew we were on the cusp of a whole new world, one in which image making and indeed art activities may become entirely irrelevant and redundant. It seemed important to both of us that the first statements with this new technology grapple with the ethical and practical implications of computer aided image diffusion."

Grubaugh reflects, "For the last sixteen years I have been producing art and philosophical essays about the Esthetics and Ethics of Information, frequently predicting the situation we now find ourselves in, and worse. To finally have people listening to these concerns, now, during most important moment in the history of art since some wasteful cave-person blew juice at their hand on a wall instead of drinking it, is a true blessing."

Grubaugh concludes, “In a world where there is nothing new under the Sun we must choose to change the Sun.”

The Abolition of Man #3 was released in comic stores worldwide on Wednesday December 21st, and will be followed by issues #4 and #5 in January and February. The collected graphic novel will be available in deluxe hardback form in late June 2022.

Images - Living the Line

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