Normally when web comics decide to take the plunge and make a movie adaptation, they strive for a finished product that looks just like the comic except it like moves on the screen. They go for the best that small run Korean animators can cobble together.
PhD went a completely different route, perhaps because creator Jorge Cham never intended to be an artist. He just was a doodler who started doodling in comic form during graduate school. While most web comics go for a particular niche (there’s the gaming comics, the IT comics, role-playing game comics), Cham went for one of the more unique ones: PhD progams. In graduate schools, his comic is as well known as Pajiba is among suave and overly literate sex machines.
The movie adaptation is live action, shot at Cal Tech working with their theater group. Says Cham: “The producer is a graduate student in geological sciences, the director is a graduate student in aeronautics, all the actors are real Ph.D. students in astrophysics or physics.”
Here’s the trailer:
It’s definitely got rough edges, with some of the actors a bit painful to watch emote. And it also has the definitely niche problem of making sense to those in the know, but not really making much of an impression if you aren’t already familiar with the comic.
The film is available for streaming or download for $10 at PhD Movie.