The other day comics/tech guru Scott McCloud posted examples of two webcomics using current navigation techniques to give advanced motion and storytelling effects. One, Turbo Defiant Kimecan (top) uses Flash to allow readers to time the appearance of panels and balloons. Never Mind the Bullets (bottom) uses HTML 5 to gives kind of “motion comics-y” floating animation. As McCloud points out, both are just examples, not role models — Never Mind the Bullets suggested we download IE9, which was an immediate fail. The comments are unkind:
It was an excruciating experience just to reach panel 3.
what we have here is a couple of pretty ordinary comics with Extra Bonus Loading Times
But there is a defender:
I think most people are missing the point: these comics are not the end all, but a great step in evolution towards the future of comics. TDK does some things I’ve never seen done before- like the freeze frame that reveals what’s really on everybody’s mind on the subway- it works brilliantly, and the cell by cell style delivers the moment of comedy perfectly.
McCloud has been pointing to these kinds of formal explorations for a while; neither of the above succeeds as comics or interaction BUT they do present intriguing possibilities. Every technology gets its D.W. Griffith, and it’s just a matter of time before some kid latches onto what’s intuitive and informative about these possibilities.
In the comments, Swiss artist Michael Kühni links to his own experiments with Flash, which are far more successful.
There’s also Boi by Vincent Giard, which uses Flash to convey that hungover feeling–to good effect.
There’s also Dan Goldman’s recently concluded Red Light Properties, another Flash-based story which had several technical upgrades along the way.
Overall, we see an unevenly evolving picture, as individuals mess around and come up with novelty ideas, some charming, some…awkward. The two examples McCloud points to do suggest possibilities however — Never Mind The Bullets, while poorly drawn, suggests the ability to follow stories in a more spatial way (clicking to go into an environment) without going full-on animation.
What do you think? Have you seen any examples of “new tech” comics that are more than experimental?
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.