Terms and Conditions
By R. Sikoryak
Drawn & Quarterly, 108 pages, $16.95
In Terms and Conditions, cartooning’s brainiest copycat pulls off a high-concept “adaptation” of the iTunes legal agreement, transposing the document’s every last word into the word balloons of old comics pages he’s redrawn, in each of which a cartoonified Steve Jobs now “stars” as the hero. The idea is simple, but the execution is endlessly engaging. Part of the pleasure here is aesthetic, as we marvel at R. Sikoryak’s expert mimicry of everything from Peanuts to Persepolis, but a larger part is intellectual, as we test out how this legalese recontextualizes the panels in which it’s been plopped. Sikoryak pairs Apple’s bewildering array of policies for “Associated Devices,” for instance, with an illustration of Rube Goldberg machines. Elsewhere, Jobs hectors his silent co-stars – stand-ins for all of us iTunes end users – mansplaining the niceties of his corporation’s stranglehold on contemporary life (things kick off with Jobs as the clownish Tubby, berating Little Lulu: “You agree that you will pay for all products you purchase through the services”). Sikoryak takes a text that sets out strict limits for legality and proper use, and delights in treating it improperly – it’s copied right, not copyright.