Being conscious of the Internet's tendency to freely distribute and modify comic books (and numerous other intellectual properties besides), writer Greg Pak (World War Hulk, Astonishing X-Men) has taken steps not just to authorize these popular practices but actually encourage them with respect to Vision Machine, the great sci-fi satire he created with R.B. Silva (Jimmy Olsen). The 96-page graphic novel is available as a free PDF download and as a free comiXology title, making it readable on your computer and most mobile devices. Vision Machine is released under the increasingly popular Creative Commons license, which authorizes non-commercial distribution and adapted works. As such, Pak has also made all 96 pages of Vision Machine available without lettering, making it easier for anyone to remix the material as they see fit.

It's appropriate that Vision Machine popped up on my radar precisely because of Pak's progressive distribution/marketing model, and more appropriate still that the story is fully immersed in digital culture. As permitted by the CC license, we've excerpted the first chapter for you to read below.

A sci-fi satire that imagines a future world without limits to sharing and social media, whether corporate intellectual property or a person's own thoughts, Vision Machine hits closer to home than you might think at first glance. The story centers around the iEye, a new mobile device that gives users the ability to record and edit everything they see and hear in real time and broadcast it instantly to followers online. Some users become celebrities of this new kind of social media, which was devised under the leadership of an enchanting, visionary CEO.

Vision Machine strikes an exquisite balance between satire and commentary without ever becoming silly or didactic, and it's a beautifully told comic book story to boot, filled with diverse characters and lots of provocative ideas. Nearly every page of Vision Machine finds Pak and Silva innovating some bit of storytelling cleverness that makes a comic book about the Internet seem just as visually entertaining as either of their impressive superhero tales for Marvel or DC.

This book's cool digital strategy brought it to my attention, but I stayed for Vision Machine's story. Check out the first chapter below and I think you'll feel the same way.

You can download the entire 96-page Vision Machine for free at Greg Pak's website, where you can also find the "letterless" version for remixing.

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