What’s the best way to take the story of two Victorian computer pioneers and turn it into an exciting iPad app? How about re-imagining their story as a comic book adventure and turn them into Victorian crime-fighters solving mysteries on behalf of the Queen? Well that’s what brilliant Canadian artist and writer Sydney Padua did and thanks to the guys at Agant it’s now a fantastic interactive app. Released to commemorate Ada Lovelace Day on October 7th (a day started to celebrate the role of women in technology) this brilliant app is a slice of steam punk style Victoriana, a bit like the League of Extraordinary Gentleman meets Dempsey and Makepeace, but also features interactive historical annotations along the way so you can really get a feeling of just how intricate and accurate the story-telling is. To find out more about this fantastic new crime-fighting duo and their historically accurate adventures, I got in touch with app developer Dave Addey and asked him where the inspiration for this great new app came from…

Power Play comic coverThis 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.

Apple's NewssatdnThis week saw the release of Apple’s new iOS5 operating system for iPad and iPhone. You might have missed it as it got somewhat lost amongst the tragic news of Steve Jobs passing and the internet backlash against the iPhone 4S, but it is probably the most exciting thing that will happen to digital publishing this year.

Kyle Lambert Dr WhoIf you type the phrase ‘iPad comic art’ into Google, one of the first names you come across is Kyle Lambert. Now he may not be a household name like Jim Lee, but he must be doing something right as he is ranking higher than the erstwhile publisher of Batman, Superman et. al. Kyle’s digital paintings have caused a stir all over the Internet not just because they are incredibly detailed but because of the videos that accompanied them that let you into his world of digital artistry. Whether it’s his portraits of celebrities like Beyonce or Stephen Fry or the awesome pictures of Dr Who and the Hulk I was fascinated to find out just what inspired this finger painting phenom and just how he created such fantastic works of art with just an iPad.

Raptor Splash Page by Blair D SheddHere at Pipedream Comics we’re big fans of writers and artists who embrace the world of self-publishing.. One of our favourites at the moment is Blair D Shedd, aka @OneGemini, creator of his own Kickstarter funded series The Raptor (which should see the light of day sometime in November) as well as artist on Dr Who for the folks over at IDW. Keen to find out more about self-publishing The Raptor and drawing timelords we got in touch. 

You wouldn’t naturally link fashion and digital comics, but petit model Isobella Jade has linked these two disparate worlds to create the awesome Model Life, now available on iVerse’s Comics + app. Isobella took the trials and tribulations of her life as a model who is less than 5’4″ and turned them into a series of fantastic autobiographical books and graphic novels which she wrote in an Apple Store in New York and then published online her herself. Inspired by this can-do attitude I decided to ask her just what brings a petit model into the traditionally macho world of digital comics!

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.

Batman #1 2011Our 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.

Batman #1 is available on Comics or via the DC app for $1.99.

When it comes to producing artwork on the iPad it’s great to see what creative people come up with using apps like Brushes, ArtRage and SketchBook Pro. What’s even better though is to see what professional comic artists can produce with them. I recently came across the iPad sketches of Irredeemable artist Peter Krause and so got him touch with him to find out just what he thinks about drawing on the iPad and whether it will ever replace his pencils and pens.

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!

There are very few CEO’s of a multi-national corporation who can make front page news across the globe when they resign. However Apple’s Steve Jobs did just that in August when he handed in his notice from the computing giant he co-founded back in 1976. The man who bought Apple back from the brink in the early 90s and introduced the world to the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad has led an enigmatic life and what better way to tell that story than in comic book form? We’ve previewed the Steve Jobs comic from Blue Water Productions this site back in July, but with the book released this week, I interviewed writer CW Cooke and artist Chris Schmidt about the particular difficulties that arose in putting together a biography on the world’s most famous CEO.