This week’s must-have is the brilliant Powerplay by Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown. A lot of comics claim to have embraced the world of digital, but they only go as far as same day print and digital. The boys on Powerplay have taken it one step further and have actually designed the comic to maximise the iPad’s interactivity. Rather than the standard left to right scrolling of panels, Powerplay takes the panel by panel approach of ComiXology and takes it to its logical conclusion by getting rid of individual pages all together and just letting you scroll through one panel at a time. Now this might not seem the best way to read a book, but it’s been designed so that in key places in the story panels begin blend together to give it a simple animated feel which is just awesome. Check out the scene where Mac turns to gold and Kris cuts off his hair between panels 28 and 37 to see what I mean.
We review the newest and best digital comics, from big name titles on platforms like ComiXology to essential indie titles and the latest app-based publishers.
As comic fans we’re all famalliar with the idea of a pull list – the carefully selected list of titles which our friendly comic store clerk puts by for use each week and adds to with carefuly curtaed recommendations based on our personal tastes. But what happens in this new digital world? Who is going to put aside that first printing of the new super cool book which no one else has ordered? Well here at Pipedream Comics we hope to be able to offer you that very service with our own Pipedream Pull List. Each week, we’ll point you in the direction of that week’s must-have digital comic and help you find that new gem which otherwise might have passed you by.
Our first recommendation is one which I am sure a lot of you will already have in your actual pull list and that is Batman #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. With all the excitment about Justice League, Action Comics and the rest of the 52 relaunch, this book has been somewhat sidelined. OK, so it’s still going to do massive numbers, but with all the attention split between the marquee titles and the forgotten gems, this one might be passed over by your average fan which would be a shame as it is one of the best of the 52 relaunches so far.
The tone of the book is as dark as you would expect from the writer of American Vampire but it is the art which really helps the book stand out. I’ve been a massive fan of Greg Capullo’s work since the early days of Spawn but his style has really evolved since then and removing himself from the McFarlane bubble has helped step his game up to another level. Capullo’s Batman is sinister and learing with a dark and twisted quality. Juxtaposed with the clean simplicity of Bruce Wayne and co when they aren’t out fighting crime, the phenomenal level of detail he gets into every page is just astounding.
From the opening double page splash you can tell this is the work of a man who is loving the opportunity to draw such a wierd and wonderful cast of characters and the macabre story which Snyder is looking tell is really taking advantage of Capullo’s art in a way that we haven’t seen before. In many ways it’s reminiscent of his mentor Todd McFarlane’s work on Year Two or the Batman/Spawn crossover but with so much more going on in every panel.
For non-regular Batman readers it fulfills all the jobs that the Relaunch intended. It both grabs new readers with it’s exciting new creative team while at the same time not moving too far from the the source material for the diehards (although I am sure many will complain about Capullo’s unorthodox treatment of the Joker). The murder mystery storyline meant that as soon as I got to the end of the book I couldn’t wait for the next issue and there are very few books from the 52 relaunch that I could say that about.
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.