Thursday, July 26, 2012

Popular Web Comics - overview

Based around geek culture and running since 1998.

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Created by Brian Clevinger in 2001.

One of the unique parts of the 8 Bit Theater is the comment section in the left navigation bar.

The site is not modified for mobile. The sprite used to create the hover state on the main comic navigation breaks in the mobile version

Written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik in 1998

Created by Daniel Lieske in 2010.

Author: John Pavlus

An Ex-Pixar Designer Creates Astounding Kids’ Book On iPad

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" is like a well-written bedtime story and an immersive animated movie at once.

E-books are already a fraught subject for many readers, writers, publishers and designers, but children's e-books are even more so. Is it rotting their minds? Is it as good as good ol' paper? Is it too interactive for their own good? Obviously there are no practical answers to such questions, but at least one children's e-book/app/thingie (what do we call these things, again?) is doing it very, very right. It's called "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," and it's like a well-written bedtime story and an immersive animated movie at once -- without being "too much" of either.

Every page has some delightful, hidden feature embedded into it.
Part of why the book works so well is its top-shelf creative pedigree: author William Joyce is also an accomplished illustrator and animator who's published New Yorker covers, won a bunch of Emmys, created character designs for some of Pixar's first animated classics, and worked on many others for Dreamworks and Disney. With his cohorts at Moonbot Studios, he created an interactive book-app around the story and a standalone animated film--so you can experience "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" however you like.

Designing interactive interfaces for kids is no mean feat, and the Moonbot team really made some great choices with "Morris Lessmore." When you open up the app, it doesn't waste your time with teaching-screens about how to interact with it--it just smoothly enters the story. (A key feature, I imagine, when you want to get Junior to go the youknowwhat to sleep ASAP.) Gently animated cues surface in the lush visuals at just the right time, encouraging you to explore the app rather than slavishly plod through it: When a house gets picked up in a tornado, you can use your fingers to swipe and spin it around--but you don't have to.

In fact, the interface design is so subtle it wasn't until I was about six pages in that I realized that every page of the app has some delightful feature embedded into it that you have to find for yourself. This is the key to a successful children's book--inviting them to play and explore and be curious, not just jab buttons to activate cheesy visual effects. And mercifully, every gewgaw in the book has a button so you can toggle it on or off: For example, you can kill the voiceover so you can read to your kid in your own voice the way God intended, or silence the music and sound effects if you want to. But they're all just a tap away if you change your mind--and the whole experience is so well-produced, you very well just might. 

Author: Lauren Davis

Webcomic The Wormworld Saga traps a daydreamer on the wrong side of the looking glass

Jonas hasn't had the easiest eighth grade year. He just lost his mother in a house fire. His father won't tell him which high school he'll be going to. And he spends most of his time doodling and daydreaming when he should be doing schoolwork. But his talent for imagination may come in handy when he finds himself on a journey through a magic mirror.

Daniel Lieske's The Wormworld Saga is a gorgeously illustrated illustrated webcomic that drifts dreamily down the infinite canvas. We start on Jonas' last day of school, where he's the only kid who doesn't know where he's going to high school. When he asks his well-meaning but uptight father, he just gets an earful about his poor grades. Jonas is a disappointment to his father on a number of fronts — not only is he more a doodler than a student, but he's also had an intense fear of fire ever since his mother died. When a fireplace throws him into panic attacks, his father demands strength rather than offering sympathy.

But for Jonas, none of that matters because he's in his favorite place in the world: his grandmother's house in the country. At grandma's, there is a cat and dog to be his companion, a forest to act out his private adventures in, and an attic to serve as his secret hideout. Something more lurks in grandma's house, though, and when something magic touches a mirror in the attic, it opens up a door to another world. And it's only a matter of time before Jonas leaps through.

So far, there have been two long and lovely installments of Wormworld, with another one due in April. I'm looking forward to the background details and bright colors Lieske is sure to pack in future chapters, but I'm most excited about the development of little Jonas. Yes, Jonas' father could stand to loosen up a bit, but Jonas, for his wooden sword and his tales of daring-do, will need to become a bit more responsible and a great deal braver.

Interactive Cinematic Story
 The Last Sleeper is an audio-visual experience that seamlessly blends audio-books, 2D animation, comics, and adventure games into one groundbreaking interactive story.  

What is the Last Sleeper?
The Last Sleeper is an interactive story.  It's like a game, but every element is focused on YOUR experience of the story.  We want it to be a fluid experience that leads you on an emotional ride.  

What is the gameplay?
The Last Sleeper presents the story for you to play through.  Adam does a lot of exploration of this alien world, so you move him across the screen with multitouch controls.
As Adam discovers his connection to the Light of Ephos, you discover it as well.  The core of the game centers around what you DO once you have the energy - whether it is healing Fera, building a bridge out of trees, creating a shield of Light for the villagers...
It's all made from the ground up to take advantage of the multitouch interface on the iPad.

Are there cinematics?
 No.  Everything is interactive.  It's made to be a cinematic experience that reacts around you - from the music of Steve Jablonsky, the sound design of Ethan and Erik, and the wonderful art.  It's driven by YOU.

Toy Story Read Along

 Alice for the iPad

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