“SCP-5000 WHY The Graphic Novel,” tells the story of a man with a mission in a broken world. This is one of the many stories in the SCP Universe.
The SCP Universe is a shared fictional setting that originated from the written works of the SCP Foundation Wiki. The SCP Universe consists of countless stories written by many different authors combining various genres including horror, science fiction, and urban fantasy. Books are not the only media where you can find SCP material, there are also video games, films, novels, and stage plays.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
SCP-5000 WHY -The Graphic Novel (2021) is a graphic novel adaptation of “SCP-5000 – Why?” a short story by Tanhony published on SCP Foundation Wiki, and illustrated by Dr. Dobermann.
“SCP-5000 WHY The Graphic Novel” is a 120-page Full-Color Illustrated. It is a mystery, horror, adventure tale for young adults published by Discordia Publishing in 2021, a Creative Commons project in CC 3.0 BY-SA-US. Printed in the industry standard comic book size of approximately 7 x 10 Inches (17.78 x 25.4cm) on 100lb Satin paper stock with a sturdy matte finish hardcover and featuring thread-sewn binding with unnumbered pages.
The entirety of the art in this 1st Edition Print Run is completely rebuilt from the original Korean Language Web Edition and then reformatted for the U.S. Standard Graphic Novel format. Approx. 7 X 10 Inches. This all-new version of SCP-5000 WHY, with additional new art, has never been seen before. It supposedly even includes secret hidden information decoded from the original SCP File.
The book has a title page with the creative team details, followed by a page containing a message from the SCP foundation, the presentation page of item#: SCP-5000 followed by the main story. After the end, you will find a “Thank You” page, a 4-page fanart, a 3-page backword section, a one-page full-body illustration of Pietro, and a one-page with the Kickstarter edition funders list.
The graphic novel focuses on technician Pietro Wilson surviving in an alternate universe where, for unknown reasons, the SCP (Special Containment Procedures) Foundation has declared war against humanity and is releasing SCP objects to assure human extinction. Pietro uses SCP-5000 to survive. He made it his mission to figure out what happened to the world.
The SCP Foundation has preserved “The Veil” for ages and maintained the mission: To Secure anomalies, Contain them, and Protect humanity. What exactly is the reason why the SCP Foundation has turned against humanity and unleashed the horrors it once contained?
SCP-5000 is a non-functional mechanical suit identified within its internal schematics as an ‘Absolute Exclusion Harness’ designed by the SCP Foundation. Although SCP-5000 is believed to have once possessed several anomalous functions intended to protect and benefit its occupant, the damage inflicted on it in the past means that it is currently only capable of basic file storage.
SCP-5000 first appeared in a flash of light within SCP-579’s containment chamber at Site-62C on 12/04/2020, containing a corpse genetically identical to Foundation employee Pietro Wilson. Pietro Wilson is currently employed at Exclusionary Site-06, and amnestic therapy has confirmed he has no knowledge of SCP-5000 or memories concerning the events detailed within its archives.
SCP-5000 is to be kept in a deactivated state within a standard storage unit located at Site-22. All files and intelligence retrieved from SCP-5000 are to be stored on a secure server, with backups available upon request from the Archival Department.
SCP-5000 WHY the graphic novel doesn’t answer the “Why” question. It expects the reader to solve the mystery. It references a lot of existing material. Being new to this universe I missed it like a newcomer’s guide to fully understanding everything. Even though I could follow most of the story I sometimes felt as if I was missing references or background information on stuff.
This is not the first graphic novel I got based on existing material: Black Tide Rising Volume 1 did a good job getting me interested in the novel series. Even though I like science fiction it made me feel overwhelmed. I feel that it’s targeted at a niche audience familiar with the SCP Universe. It reminded me of Cloverfield ARG campaigns. Unlike Cloverfield, SCP has way too much at first glance, and no guidance on where to start if you just got the graphic novel.
The following videos in my opinion do a great job to explain the story to newcomers even though they are based on the short story, not the graphic novel:
- SCP-5000 Why? – The Full Story Compilation
- SCP -5000 (why?) the whole story & explanation (SCP illustrated)
The text and illustrations are very different from anything I’ve seen so far. While the cover art looks amazing, the interior art is not as striking. Some of it is similar to the cover art, other parts look like generic digital graphics. And there is way too much blank space left. Usually in comic books artists make use of all the available space on paper to showcase their art. They could have added some background art as a reference for example. The wording is illustrated sometimes in word balloons and other times in simple text. It’s not an easy read.
The “backword” section in the book provides some references. It starts addressing the crowd that already knows about the material. It references the American audience and how they are accustomed to having everything explained in movies. For me, it misses that even for the global audience, especially for newcomers, some explanation is needed to understand the lore. That is if the goal is to expand the customer base of the franchise. It would have been helpful for newcomers to add a foreword or introduction section.
After watching the videos, I got more into the story which to me is a bad sign. The graphic novel should have done that. I think maybe it would have been better to first publish a full novel first and then work on the graphic novel, or maybe a handbook or dictionary, I don’t know.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
The project was initially crowdfunded on Kickstarter and later an extended preorder campaign of the Kickstarter edition was launched on Indiegogo which was pretty simple offering one tier with all the (remaining) stretch goals from the Kickstarter for a significant value. I came across this campaign that was one of the suggestions at the bottom of an Indiegogo email update from another campaign. I thought it was interesting, so I backed it. In addition to the book, I also received:
- A Mini Print
- An SCP logo coaster
- SCP Postcard set by DrDobermann
- SCP-5000 embroidered patch
- SCP Foundation Staff Issue clearance card
- SCP staff issued medical mask
- Ad for Discordia Merchandising
The package arrived pretty quickly with no issues even though no tracking number was provided.
SCP-5000 Why The graphic novel was a challenging read. I would have been more interested as a newcomer if I got maybe an ashcan or a handbook such as the SCP Foundation Rookie Guide Vol.1 by Michael Schuerman explaining the SCP Universe. It seems that more could have been illustrated in the graphic novel. Most of the references to the existing material seem to be in long text formats.
After watching a few videos about the story it’s based on, I realized that a lot has happened and what it meant for the continuation of the story. Because I took so many breaks to read the story, I may have missed the flow, but I feel that this was a missed opportunity to fully illustrate the story showing the character’s emotions and the actual state of the world. I hope if they decide to do a second book that they would redesign the structure and style of the interior art focusing less on digital images.
This is one of those instances where even though the handling of the campaign and delivery of the book went well, and the material the product is made of is of good quality, the reading experience was not as great. But the SCP universe in other mediums seems quite interesting such as Confinement (2017-2019), a mature animated horror/black comedy series, several short films such as SCP: First Contact (2019), SCP: Ghost Town (2019), SCP: Dollhouse (2020), SCP: Overlord (2021), video games and there is also the SCP Database, an immersive audio storytelling series from the database of the SCP Foundation.