We’re unveiling a new feature this week, the Tapastic Webcomic Weekly, a guide to some of the world’s best webcomics available on Tapastic the brilliant iPad and iPhone webcomic app. This week’s batch of webcomics featured on Tapastic showcases Yufei’s The Outer Door and Kelly Angel’s Anything About Nothing, both available via the Tapastic app!
This weekend’s must-read digital comics in the Sunday Digest include more cutting edge motion books from DC Comics/Madefire with Injustice Gods Among Us #4-7, quirky sci-fi in D4VE from MonkeyBrain Comics, a sports mascot mashup in Down Set Fight from Oni Press and gentically modified dinosaurs from ‘Down Under’ in Blastosaurus.
With it being Halloween this month there could be only one choice for app of the month – the brilliant It’s The great Pumpkin Charlie Brown from Loud Crow Interactive. If like us, you grew up loving the comic strip adventures of Charles M Schultz’s Peanuts then this is the app you. Based on the classic 1960s cartoon version, this interactive book features all your favourites from Charlie Brown and Snoopy to Lucy and Linus and re-tells the classic ‘Great Pumpkin’ story as a sublime interactive storybook for your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.
To celebrate Madefire’s inclusion in Apple’s iPad mini presentation this week, we thought we’d round up the latest batch of titles from the current top dog in digital comics. Regular readers will know we’re big fans of their app and following on from the initial prologue releases Liam Sharp and company have been steadily unleashing a menagerie of fantastic characters and new titles – from robot men, vampire girls and villainous kidnapper who steal children across time!
According to Wikipedia, Augmented Reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics. Although AR is not new in the world of apps (we’ve seen it on everything from arcade games to star chart apps) it is definitely at the cutting of edge of what can we be done in terms of digital comics. Marvel Comics have cut their teeth in the medium earlier this year, but with Anomaly we have one of the most ambitious projects seen in recent months. This augmented reality graphic novel from writer Skip Brittenham and Brian Haberlin is epic in every sense of the word, and literally sees the characters come to life from the page.
When it comes to digital comics, it is easy to focus on the new and cutting edge, however, it is also a fantastic medium for rediscovering the past. The Certified Hunt Emerson app is the latest release from Panel Nine, the company who released the audio graphic novels Kickback and Dapper John and who’s publisher, Russell Willis, we have spoken to on the site previously. The Certified Hunt Emerson collection brings together a selection of this infamous British ‘comix’ artist’s work into one place and gives the audience a unique insight into each page thanks to Emerson’s own audio commentary and introductions to each piece which gives the work. Unfortunately there aren’t audio tracks for every strip and you can’t scroll between pages while the tracks play, which is a shame, but it still helps to give the respective pages a fantastic insight as you hear about their intricacies from the man himself.
The new Madefire comic app from Liam Sharp and Ben Wolstenholme isn’t just the cutting edge of digital comics, it’s a completely new format – the motion comic! After speaking to Liam about it back in September last year, this week finally saw the launch of the much anticipated Madefire app and it’s first 3 titles – Captain Stone is Missing, Mono and Treatment Tokyo. All three are prologues or first chapters to the up-coming titles that Madefire are planning to launch and can be viewed on their completely bespoke viewing platform for free.
Make no mistake, this isn’t just a re-skinned version of ComiXology! Using it’s own bespoke navigation system (the Madefire arrow, which sits on the right hand side of the page and serves as page turner and progress bar) you can view pages literally building in front of you thanks to a series of fantastic animated transitions. There are also cinematic zooms and intricately constructed pages which make the titles feel like much more than just a flat page-turner. They even use the iPad’s accelerometer on some of the pages (including each book’s cover) to allow you to move elements around on screen while other pages involve 360 degree panoramas that really bring the books to life, but are they any good? Well here is our break down of the first three Madefire titles.
Everyone loves zombies, and the only thing better than the undead is when an unlikely hero takes on the hordes of the undead for our enjoyment. We’ve had Egg from this Life in the Walking Dead, cabbage chucking pot plants in Plants vs. Zombies and and even Marvel Superheroes, but this week there’s a new corpse splutterer is about to take on the task – Mega City One’s finest lawman Judge Dredd.
Wacom are set to launch a fantastic new product next month called the Inkling. I saw the brilliant Dave Gibbons post this link to it last month and have been very excited about seeing what it was all about ever since. Well, I had a quick play with one last week and I have posted my thoughts at the MacFormat website – click here to read it – however I thought I would also post a link to it on here as well, along with some sample images that I produced for it.
In short, I think the Inkling is an awesome gadget and has the potential to be really exciting for digital artists everywhere – especially in the world of comics where line art is still so important. The results were really impressive, although not quite there for final artwork. The freedom that you have when sketching with the Inkling is great though and the technology that has created them is clearly very clever. However I can’t help but think it feels quite niche and a bit like a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. After all, how many artists outside comics will want a digital transfer device for line art?
That is not to say that it can’t find a niche of it’s own with all manner of creative pros and become a truly must-have product for digital creatives, but I think it all will depend on the uptake of those who start to use it and the buzz that they can create online. Certainly the ability to create physical and digital art simultaneous is very exciting and could lead to some very intriguing possibilities! With the relatively low price-tag of £149 price tag it will certainly be very tempting for a gadget-loving artist with money burning a hole in their pocket and is clearly a more budget conscious alternative to a Cintiq 24HD!
With the number of digital comics released increasing every week, the ComiXology team have released a brand new version of their Comics app. Version 3.0 is a complete overhaul of the old app, with everything from a new look store front to fantastic new browsing and search features that makes the experience of using it more intuitive than before.
As well as writing features I also write reviews for Tap! and thought I would share them with. Back in issue 4 I reviewed the brilliant Inkpad from Steve Sprang (creator of Brushes). Inkpad is a fantastic vector illustration app for the iPad. For those not in the know, vector images are made using shapes and lines to create paths, rather than colouring in pixels, and these paths can then be manipulated using anchor points to create precise shapes with defined edges. These are perfect for creating logos or technical drawings, as they can then be scaled in size easily without any loss in quality because they are based on mathematical data rather than on pixels.