Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mobile Comics

As a freelance writer looking to break into comics, I've been trying to think about where I can possibly push my ideas in order to gain publishing experience, and so seeing as Marvel and DC Comics seem a bit daunting, I've started looking at independent publishers. Not a lot of work around there unless it's selling to the same crowd looking for similar material. So where can a budding comics creator make their mark in this tough market?

Cell phones. Or rather the iPhone (or something compatible like my own G1).

So I began to research these "mobile comics". First up, GoComics. Some of your mainstream comic strips including Doonesbury, Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, as well as editorial cartoons by the likes of Ted Rall. It comes up on the browser of my G1 and isn't too rough of a download time. It formats okay but I need to turn the alignment sideways in order to see it in detail. There's a link to send comics to your phone but it doesn't seem to work.

Looks like they have manga, IDW Publishing, Devil's Due, Jeff Smith's Bone, PvP, Too Much Coffee Man, Virgin Comics, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (as a comic strip?!). I can't seem to click on the links on my laptop or my G1. Hurm. Here's a video showing how uClick (their comics viewer for iPhone & iPod touch), which looks really clean and functional.

So I pull up on my G1 and it gives me a list of links for comics. I click IDW, get a list of titles, pick Clive Barker's Thief of Always, get a summary, a link to creators, and a link to issues. Finally I see the comic, which looks pretty low res, and the navigation is previous and next links. Not really too slick looking and there's an ad for up top. Hurm. Yeah seems all their comics look that way, on my G1 at least.

Next up is the very odd which has some low budget site and a super weird comic strip called Quadroids. Weird.

Moving on is a site for Mobile Comics Creators which looks like it could be a decent hub for mobile comics news but not a ton of updates over the last few months. Could be better as a forum, which means you do have to sign up for it. Looks like you have to be approved for membership. Damn elitists.

Here's a site with Marvel comics with interactive sound, if you live in Sweden, Denmark, or somewhere else far, far away from America. Sigh. Always with the awesome in Europe. Here's some more info on the deal which could represent the future of mobile comics as a more interactive experience.

I'm also seeing news about Mobile comics in India, Taiwan, and Singapore on a basic google search. Probably a whole huge untapped market for good original stories out there in the world, where people might still appreciate words and pictures, even if it is on their high tech digital cell phone. Here's an article about Japan's Mobile Comics industry pulling in over $204 million US.

Also Paramount is going to produce mobile comics based on its movies. If there's a job that I should really have it's that. Movies AND comics?! By Odin's beard...Can't say I've heard of the movies but that's still pretty cool. And I think Joe Kelly, my good friend, is still working at Paramount.

If you have an iPod or iPhone RokComics seems like a cool thing to check out. There's an app for that.

Robot Comics has provided some interesting content for my G1, and now partnering with Alterna Comics, it looks like there might be even more good stuff on the way. Available through the Market on the G1, they have some good, quality comics that read really smoothly on the G1. As they add more content it seems the functionality tends to be lost a bit as I can seem to get their Jesus Hates Zombies books (which looks awesome) to fit correctly on my screen. They're also trying to put together a CBZ & CBR format comic reader out for the G1 but I have yet to successfully open a comic on it. But as they evolve I think this will be a major provider for quality mobile comics.

Well, that's enough for now. Can someone lend me their iPhone or iPod touch so I can test some more of these things out?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Book of 5 Chambers (edit)

Page 1
Panel 1
A smoking gun held firmly straight out to the side. It's a worn revolver but in great shape. We get a hint of the hand holding it, but the focus is the gun and the smoke.

N: The revolver discharges the metal leaving behind a lingering smoky trail.

Panel 2
The hand pops open the cylinder, there is one empty chamber.

N: All that is left behind is empty shells, spent and useless hunks of metal.

Panel 3
The hand turns the gun upside down and 5 empty casings fall out, tumbling through the air.

N: Disgarded without a thought.

Panel 4
Close up of the shells hitting the dirt stirring up a small dust cloud. They land next to a beaten and worn pair of cowboy boots.

N: They fall to the earth to be trampled upon.

Panel 5
Side shot, the hand holds the gun still propped open as the other free hand slides a bullet out of the belt.

N: You think of nothing as you reload.

Page 2
Panel 1
Close up of the cylinder as a bullet slips in.

Panel 2
From ground POV. A fresh grave, a mound of dirt with a rock on top. The backlit shadowy outline of our gunfighter stands tall above it. Vultures loom in barren trees in the background.

N: You may dig a grave if you can afford the time afterwards.

Panel 3
Long wide shot as the gunfighter walks off into the barren landscape. The skeletal remains of a horse in the foreground.

N: You save the prayer for your own soul as you hope that God hasn't abandoned you.

Panel 4
Half length, establishing shot of gunfighter. In a dusty brown samurai like robe with an overcoat, his. His gun just poking out, facing backwards so the handle pops out like a sword hilt might.

N: Having met no god, you rely on what your pa gave you.

Panel 5
Close up of his hand (not the hand as seen on page 1, older, more weathered and calloused) as it brushes past the grip of his pistol.

N: A steady hand and a gun.

Page 3
Panel 1
A second bullet drops into the second chamber. Same shot as Page 2/Panel 1. This center shot repeats at the top of every page. A short of clock running through the 5 rings.

Panel 2
He's wearing a soldier's uniform from the Civil War. A confederate uniform. Torn up and patched and bloodied. We can see him a bit clearer, more definition in the eyes. A look of determination. It's raining like sleet.

N: The one thing you gave yourself was a purpose.

Panel 3
A swarm, a tidal wave of Union soldiers rise up over the hill towards us. The Gunfighter stands with his back to us, letting the other soldiers all just surge forward to be killed in droves.

N: You were born for killing. So you needed a reason.

Panel 4
The Gunfighter draws his gun from his hip. He steps forward from the same side he draws from. The water floods and splashes around his knees.

N: A war seemed like good enough of an excuse for years.

Panel 5
From below we see a close up of his hands covered in blood as he holds a woman's head in his grip. His hand is keeping her brains in as they seep out between his fingers. His eyes are wild with madness.

N: But there are no warriors in war. Just mad dog killers...

N: and victims.

Page 4
Panel 1
Bullet three slides in the chamber.

Panel 2
The Gunfighter is stripped down to his shirt, he's bleeding from three gunshots, one shoulder, one leg, and a gut shot. But his shooting arm is still strong. As he aims right at us.

N: You tell yourself that you'll kill these bastards...

Panel 3
Close up of a slick, smug face as he lights up a cigar with a match. His head is blown out the side of his head.

N: These sick evil lunatics.

Panel 4
From within the flames of a fireplace, a dead face, shot in the head, stares at us as it begins to burst into flames.

N: You were ridding the world of scum, purging mankind.

Panel 5
An old man stands in shadows as a bullet carves its way through the flame of a candle and blows a hole through his chest.

N: Doing god's work for him.

Page 5
Panel 1
Bullet four drops into the chamber.

Panel 2
The gunfighter is ducking behind a shot up cross with his gun raised. There are bullet holes all around him. He's looking upward. There are bullets firing towards us.

N: You start finding the competition.

Panel 3
The gunfighter is diving sideways and firing, bullets rip up the scene around him.

N: You gotta throw the dice.

Panel 4
Jumping through a stained glass window with Jesus on the Cross on it. Bullets punch through him and the window.

N: Have faith that what you're doing is righteous.

Panel 5
Close up as the gunfighter tries to hold onto his gun with a huge hole blown through his hand. His knuckles are scraped to the bone, shards of bone protruding from his hand, blood clotting after draining most of from his arm, streams dripping from his grip. The gun is slipping.

N: If your hand falters, then so be it. It is God's will.

Page 6
Panel 1
The fifth bullet drops into the chamber.

Panel 2
We pan back and see there is a smaller child's hand holding the gun that has been loaded over the last four pages. The last chamber is empty.

N: You find yourself at the end. You've run out of bullets.

Panel 3
The gun clacks closed as we see an altar boy in torn and bloodied robes crying and holding it close to his chest as if it were precious to him. A dead priest body is spread over the altar in the background. He looks scared.

N: Don't matter much. Everyone that needed killing is dead.

Panel 4
The gunfighter is shot up to hell, his hand is all but destroyed, bones protruding, but index finger holding strong. His trigger finger. He struggles to raise his arm up. He's leaning up.

N: 'Cept you of course. So you tell him how to load it. How to aim.

Panel 5
The gunfighter in silhouette pointing his finger and shattered hand at the altar boy like a gun, the altar boy points the gun down at the gunfighter, hammer dropping.

N: You teach him to shoot.

N: (In black in red letters) To Kill.

Page 7
Panel 1
It's a dime store novel book with a round illustration showing the Gunfighter in the outline of a revolver chamber. The title is: Five Bullets in the Chamber.

Panel 2
The altar boy a few years later. He's wearing glasses and riding on a train watching the green landscape rush past. He wears a nice suit and the more ruffian looking passenger is reading the book intently, eyes wide with a slight sinister smile. The altar boy glances over discreetly.

N: Your education pays off, the story sells books.

Panel 3
The altar boy in the city. He stands there looking innocent, watching as the other passenger walks off hurriedly, reaching into his coat, the novel jutting from his pocket.

N: The books sometimes inspire wicked men.

Panel 4
The Passenger is pulling out a gun from inside his jacket, the altar boy watches in the background down the alley.

N: They don't see the point, don't learn the lesson.

Panel 5
The altar boy whips out the gun pointing it at us from beneath his cape. He has the same look of a killer as the gunfighter.

N: So you teach them that the last chamber is always empty.