Cartoonist Susie Cagle and Cartoon Movement are at it again with “Down in Smoke” a report on the pot wars of Oakland. All of Cartoon Movements comics are thoughtful piece of original journalism—but it’s also on the cutting edge of comics technology, with charts, timelines, animation and in this case, an “audio comic’ that includes embedded interviews with the people in the comics. Impressive.
by Serhend Sirkecioglu
My common complaint with the current wave of interactive/digital comics is the lack of ingenuity, risk, and execution, which fall into three camps. The first is the artist-centric camp where the person who made the comic is a competent cartoonist but has no knowledge of programming and is unconscious of interactivity, so the function feels gimmicky and not worth my time. The second is the program-centric, where the design is strong but the story is not much of a looker or read, and can feel more like a proof of concept than a whole-hearted piece. Finally, the third camp is the ones that peter out because the time and energy put into it outweighs the pay off, leading to burnout and an unfinished story.
A new comic up at Cartoon Movement by Dan Carino is a tragic look at self-immolation and the Tibetan situation.
by Serhend Sirkecioglu
Is this a potentially workable pay model for web comics?!
OK, personally for me, Zombies officially went passe the moment Robert Kirkman appeared on The View, but that’s not deterring people from overdoing it. This web comic, I’ll let it slide ’cause it did more with the tired formula.
Zombies Eat Republicans uses a scrolling format but where The First Word stops, ZER takes it further by incorporating sound and music (although looping, which can become annoying) and having the panels slide into place instead of being a static layout, making the read much more active. The comic employs a dragging command to move the story along; though the arrow keys are available, I suggest the mouse or touch for more control.
While Marvel’s corporate policies don’t allow for too much investment in their print business, they have been really ramping up the digital side of things. Why? Rob Salkowitz looks at the meta side of the new online comics line and AR experiments in terms of how it positions the company:
Yusuke Murata is the manga-ka behind the very popular American football manga EYESHIELD 21. In between massive ongoing series—his next project is called onepunchman—Murata started posting a webcomic via Twitter, bsed on yet another series, Hetappi Manga Research Lab R. The story involves Murata being chased over a cliff by an editor and looming deadlines—no paranoia there!—and he uses unique folded paper and lighting effects to give the story more impact.
by Serhend Sirkecioglu
Well, looks like this Valiant relaunch is going to go places we’ve never gone before. The first issue of X-O Manowar will have a QR Voice Variant—”the world’s first QR code-augmented, talking comic book cover!” Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic supplies the art. On Wednesday, a preview poster will be shipped to local comic shops so you can preview the technology, which involves a QR code, a smart phone and a steady hand.
by Serhend Sirkecioglu — Web comics have at least 3-4 formats, the reader (page-page), the slideshow (panel to panel), the vertical scroll and the horizontal scroll (which could be just be called the scroll and is panoptic). Personally I like the intuitive feel of the scroll over the reader; which feels more like post production 3D; and the slide show, which is just a slide show. I recently came across this comic called The First Word from Electric Sheep Comix which uses CGI models…in a way where I don’t cringe as much, but put the scroll to good use.
Artist Tommie Kelly sent us a link to his webcomic Ouija: A Panelplay, which uses what he calls “PanelPlay” which is basically clicking for the next panel, along with some subtle, appropriate animation effects. The story is nothing great, but it is a nice demo. I know panel-click advance comics have been around for a while, so in the comments, throw up some links to other recent Future Comics of note.
Responding to last week’s Dark Horse vs the retailers controversy over the price of Dark Horse’s simultaneous digital release, writer Brian Wood has summed up the very hard rock and very rocky hard place that we all find ourselves in. While acknowledging that no one wants to see their local comics shop go under, he says for creators, it is a rough time with big question marks everywhere:
An article in The Gauntlet, the University of Calgary’s student magazine, boldly proclaimsThe beginning of a new comic era — and Calgary’s Maad Sheep Productions are just the guys to do it. What the article does not mention is that in order to flourish, comics creators must dress like a NASCAR pit crew.