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.
In our tableted world, it’s only a matter of time before a multimedia magazine with embedded videos and animations and music and all becomes all the rage and changes our culture forever. Just like they did when CD-ROMs were all the rage*…only those were just ahead of the platform curve. Eisner- and Harvey Award-nominated artist Mike Perkins emailed us to explain that he has a 6-page comic strip in one such magazine, Apparatjik World, which has a preview issue available for free download on the iPad. This one centers around the band Apparatjik, which consists of bassist Guy Berryman from Coldplay, guitarist/keyboardist Magne Furuholmen from A-ha, singer/guitarist Jonas Bjerre of Mew and producer Martin Terefe.
After a hurricane, the sun usually comes out resulting in sparkling skies for the clean-up. As the East Coast attempts to clean up and dry off from a storm that could have been much worse (but was still pretty bad in spots) we wake up to a fairly epochal week in the history of comics. Because the internet wasn’t around, we didn’t know that the 1980 arrival of SUPERBOY SPECTACULAR or DAZZLER #1 — the first comics produced by DC and Marvel that were direct market-only — would mark the beginning of a whole new era for the comics industry, and — despite the protestations of imminent death at every turn — usher in a era of undreamed of creative fertility and energy.
Wednesday at 12:01 am the new era begins. Not the era of the New 52 — despite any declarations to the contrary, that’s really business as usual, just jump started in the manner of a car battery. No, it’s the era of digital comics. While everyone has been transfixed over whether GREEN LANTERN by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy will be better than GREEN LANTERN by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy; or how Tony Daniels’ DETECTIVE COMICS is going to vastly improve on his Batman comics, the real revolution has quietly been dawning on retailers and readers: DC’s decision to go with simultaneous digital and print release of their comics.
This interactive comic from Korea has blown up on 4Chan and Tumblr, although its author remains unknown. Just click and then scroll down. KEEP GOING. KEEP GOING. And make sure the speakers are on!
JUST CLICK WE’LL WAIT, in the unlikely event you have yet to see this.
While we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop on the New 52, digital comics are inching towards new developments that may make them even more native on digital platforms. A couple of examples were being tweeted about heavily this week.
Cartoonist Dan Archer has been experimenting with interactive non-fiction comics for a while. What is Comics Journalism? by Dan Archer, a survey of non-fiction comics from Thomas Nast on. It’s a nice looking piece but comes with bells and whistles:
We’ve been remiss in not saying more about SVK and experimental comic that design group BERG hired Warren Ellis and artist D’Israeli to produce. The comic can only be read in full with a special UV lamp which reveals key elements of the art. Cool! The comic is only available through BERG and it’s already sold out of 3500 copies. A second printing is on the way, however.
Webcomics are moving forward with more experimentation on the infinite canvas of the browser, and taking new and unforeseen shapes. Here’s one by Stevan Živadinović called “Hobo Lobo” that’s a sidescroller/multi-plane retelling of the Pied Piper tale. Apparently this doesn’t work on Explorer (what does?) but it worked on my decrepit and senile computer, so…happy scrolling!
Tokyopop is closing down its manga line. Not long ago, this company and others like it were sometimes pointed to as the future of comics publishing. I suppose they still might be.
Art schools and apprenticeships find themselves more popular than ever, let’s all tip our hats to inspiration artist Rudolph Töpffer’s for his creation of boarding school for boys. While anyone can teach themselves and become successful on their own, a lot of the specialty schools allow access to equipment, connections, mentorship of working professionals and opportunities in a condensed amount of time that are priceless.
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: