I’ve mentioned Jen Lee’s THUNDERPAW: IN THE ASHES OF FIRE MOUNTAIN before as a “Future comic” — the panels are animated gifs, a technique that is still being explored for its storytelling possibilities. Since I first wrote about it, a lot more has been posted and if anything it’s gotten more and more impressive.
Bruno and Ollie are two anthropomorphic dogs who must find their way home after being left in the car by their owners. Yep. the oldest story in the book. But it’s brought to life in an astonishing way, part Watership Down, part Akira. The basic palette of traffic cone orange and black explodes like a giant neon caution sign as Bruno and Ollie fight hostile gangs, survive fire, and look for hope beneath a smokey, doom-choked sky. Bruno and Ollie just want to dig things up in their own backyard but the entire world they know seems to have been destroyed and their plight is brought home using a variety of techniques.
The simple animation gives the story a hypnotic, twitchy quality, but Lee also knows when to use static images and has begun to use some “endless canvas” techniques. Her actual animations are subtle and filled with character as well, from the growing confidence in Ollie’s stride, to Bruno’s more hesitant look.
Thunderpaw is beautifully drawn and animated and it’s compeltely native to the web. It’s a good note to end our 24 Hours of Webcomics on. Hope you enjoyed it—and if you did we might just do it again!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.