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R CRUMB THE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE OF PHILIP K. DICK. 

 

In Weirdo #17 A complete online edition exists of a fine biographical comic strip about events in the last days of science fiction author, Philip K Dick, best known as the author of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (Filmed as Bladerunner) The comic strip, in dark, detailed, rather sombre black ink, tells of what was either a severe nervous breakdown, or a temporary religious conversion for PKD. The author, in 1974, clearly going through some stress, found comfort in strong religious euphoria and a vision of Armageddon that pushed him closer to belief in Christianity. He had the experience when he was given Sodium Pentathol, the notorious truth serum, as an anaesthetic when he had some wisdom teeth extracted by his dentists. He was still affected by the drugs when he met a lady wearing a goldfish design on a necklace. The way the light played on the fish, a traditional symbol of Christianity, triggered his religious revelation. He seemed to even believe that he was present in events in the near east, and possibly even that he was the reincarnation of John The Baptist. To his intense regret, the experience that brought him some pleasure and a new sense of purpose, wore off. He no longer believed that it was true, and he deeply wanted to recapture the glory of the experience. That he could not regain such euphoria pushed him to serious contemplation of suicide. Though he never did actually take his own life, he did die of a stroke in 1982. The comic strip is sympathetic and respectful to its subject, and a masterpiece of comic book art by the creator of Fritz The Cat. That the work is available for free on download from the Internet, and spread over eight pages is remarkable.
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Copyright. Arthur Chappell

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