Aafter reinvent the superherofeuding with the mainstream and turning his back on Hollywood, legendary comic book creator Alan Moore is shaking up the world of digital comics with an open-source toolset and app slated to launch in early 2015. But don’t. don’t ask him about today’s digital offerings he’s trying to improve.
“You’re asking the wrong person,” laughs Moore. “I have absolutely no idea because I have no online capabilities, no devices or tablets and to tell the truth, I’m not really involved in the comic book scene in any way.”
by Moore Electrocomic The project will give anyone with an internet connection access to the means of creation, with free open source tools for writers to create their own digital comics, an app and a 32-page collection of writers such as Peter Hogan and Garth Ennis joining Moore himself to show what tools can do.
For all his technological ambition, Moore says he’ll remind the designers of Electricals to keep it simple. The most sophisticated technology in a digital comic is “the comic book medium itself”.
“It’s a very well-developed technology and it’s very difficult to add or reproduce comic effects in a more elegant way,” says Moore, citing a page in The Spirit of Will Eisner where the masked crime fighter investigates a deserted house. “You might have a photo of the dark kitchen, in the foreground there would be a faucet with a slightly elongated water cord hanging from its commercial end. If you were trying to create this in digital comic form, the temptation would surely be running the faucet, or even adding a dripping sound effect. But that wouldn’t make it any better, it would take away from the elegance of Eisner’s original, where thanks to lengthening, we know that in a second or two it will detach and fall and another bead will form. Comics are a technology that “runs on the hardware of the human brain, the software of the human mind,” continues Moore. “They are already creating these virtual effects So avoiding whistles and bells would be one of the first principles that digital comics should try to stick to.
For the technical project manager, Ocasta Studios‘ Ed Moore (no relation), the challenge is to build a set of tools that offer readers the same flexibility as the print publication, while unlocking the possibilities of new technologies.
“The experience of reading a comic on paper doesn’t translate well to reading it digitally,” he explains. “You don’t get the same readability and readability. The other problem is that digital obviously has a lot of additional capabilities over a flat printed sheet of paper that are not being exploited; the fact that you always have the mobile device (and app) with you, you can browse in so many different ways, it can communicate with backend servers, etc.
As you’d expect from the creator of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell, the project’s roots lie deep in a corner of Alan Moore’s surreal world. Specifically, in The Show, a feature film Moore has been working on since 2012 that is set in an alternate version of his hometown, Northampton. “There’s a scene where the kids are sitting and one of them is rolling out a device called a ‘spindle’ which has a flexible screen that rolls up into a cylinder giving you a large screen area,” reads recalls Moore. “On the screen, I had imagined there would be a new form of electric comics.” And so, Electricomics, with its “appropriately Victorian” name was born.
The project has just received the green light and “substantial” funding from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, but has already come a long way, with Moore’s daughter Leah co-creating The Thrill Electric with husband John Reppion set up as editor. “She has been the backbone of the project and we all learn from her and John,” says the proud dad.
The four eight-page leaflets are also complete. Moore’s own Big Nemo is an homage to Winsor McCay’s Little Nemoan example of visual storytelling that Moore says has “never been bettered.”
“The way he already suggested animated movement on a still page would make his technique most widely applicable to this new way of presenting comics,” Moore says. Colleen Doran (Sandman, Wonder Woman, Vampire Diaries) does the illustrations. The rest includes “modernist horror” Cabaret Amygdala from Peter Hogan (with whom Moore worked on his ABC series Terra Obscura) and Paul Davidson (Age of X, X-Factor, Dark X-Men). Preacher writer Garth Ennis contributes to a First World War play Red Horse with art from Pierre Snejbjergwhile the publisher is once again teaming up with Reppion for the time-traveling sci-fi piece Sway, drawn by Nicola Scott.
Some of the content might be adult material, but Moore insists the project is aimed at young audiences increasingly left behind by the comics mainstream.
“Kids avoid these things like the plague,” he says. “Why would a 13-year-old bother reading a comic when he has these different devices and comics aren’t for him but for the 40-60 year olds who actually read them?”
Moore also hopes to offer young writing talent an alternative route to signing up for endless superhero sequels with DC and Marvel, citing the 2012 prequel Before Watchmen – a project DC released without his involvement or his approval – as proof of the current lack of creativity among the general public. .
“This contemporary passion for superheroes, unless it’s as immortal as Thor himself, will surely have its day,” sighs Moore. “Nothing lasts forever. Romantic poetry didn’t last forever and it was bigger than The Beatles!
He may like the idea of unleashing a new generation of talent, but Moore still sees himself more as a creator than an enabler, reeling off a list of ongoing projects, including the script for his feature film The Show, his novel Jerusalem , an HP Tribute to Lovecraft and the next installment of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. “I create every day for as many hours as I don’t sleep,” he says.