"I looked for pages of comics that featured a protagonist who was talking or present for a lot of panels, and used that main character as a stand-in for Steve Jobs. And each time I gave that character a black turtleneck, jeans, sneakers—the Steve Jobs outfit, his uniform. He looks like Snoopy or Hellboy or Superman or a character from a Kate Beaton comic, but you can always locate him on the page. From one page to the next, he’s fighting monsters or he’s wooing women, but he’s always reciting something you have to agree to in order to get iTunes on your computer,” R. Sikoryak, who’s been publishing “iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel” on his Tumblr and as a self-published zine, said.
What got you started on this idea?
I wanted to adapt into comics something that everyone thinks they should have read but never did. I’ve been adapting literature for so long. (I’m working on a “Moby-Dick” adaptation right now. That’s another book that everyone feels they should read and doesn’t.) I wanted a different kind of text. So I picked the unabridged iTunes terms and conditions. I was also excited about illustrating something which can’t be illustrated—visuals don’t pop into your mind when you read this thing—so that gave me a lot of freedom.
How did you choose the pages to illustrate it?
I looked for a variety of comics styles to represent as many major characters as possible: there’s a Batman page, a Sandman page, and a Cathy page, acknowledging classic characters that people are familiar with and also showing the breadth of comics. Sometimes, when I needed an idea for another page, I would actually look on iTunes and see what books were popular, so that’s how I got a page on “The Walking Dead,” for example, and one on “My Little Pony.” For an international feel, I added comics like Astro Boy, Tintin, or Akira. I was trying to cover all the bases so that anyone anywhere in the world would recognize at least some of the art.
Is this the complete, unabridged text?
Yes. When I started adapting the text into a comic, there was only Part A through Part C, but as I was finishing Part C, they updated the agreement and I had to draw twenty more pages for Part D. I did the American-English version—wait, I should say the U.S.-English version because Canada has gotten its own agreement. (I’m assuming the U.S.-Spanish version is similar, but I don’t speak Spanish, so I didn’t really deal with that.)
Since you’re one of the few people we know who has actually read it, what do you think of the iTunes terms and conditions themselves?
Well, I would say it seems pretty benign to me, although I may have missed some nuance that we should all be afraid of. It looked pretty much designed to protect them and to relieve liability. If you lose data, it’s on you and not on them, that kind of thing. I did find a few minor typos—like misplaced commas, some strange punctuation—but it does say in the agreement that they are not responsible for typographical errors.