Our Inbox Runneth Over…

Since we announced the project, we have received a great many enquiries from people wanting to get involved. Some people already have work out there that is similar in idea to Electricomics in some way, so I thought it might be interesting to put them all up here in one place. I really like aspects of all of them, and I am so glad we have a chance to discuss this kind of thing. If you know of other projects that would fit here too, please send them in using our contact page, or tweet them at us, and we can look at them too.

Man and Guy by Stefan Van Dinther is a great look at story structure in digital comics and explores territory close to that of our own Daniel Goodbrey.Blue Donut Studios are already using limited animation on their storyboarding work, showing that this kind of software has more applications than just comics people making comics. Halftone 2 is a comic creation app which seems to have a lot of great features, and looks really fun to use. Murat is a fantastic project from the Czech Republic by Ondrej Novak & Vojtech Seda and Motiv collective (www.nomotiv.org) I really enjoyed the page view, and the cumulative effect of the moving elements becomes quite hypnotic. I am really impressed by how much of a traditional comic layout they have retained, but also by how much they have crammed in.Lastly there is a academic piece from 2011, “The visual novel medium proves its worth on the battlefield of narrative arts By Alex Mui which is a really interesting look at The Visual Novel.

We’re very lucky to have so many people talking to us, and joining in with the project.

Hopefully this process will become more direct once we have our community area up and running, but until then, please continue to Like, Follow and get in touch, and add your own voice to the discussion!

Leah Moore

Electricomics at the International Graphic Novel and Comics conference

The Electricomics research team, Alison Gazzard and Daniel Goodbrey, will be presenting at the International Graphic Novel and Comics conference on Friday 18th July.

They’ll be talking about all things Electricomics, but especially the project goals, and their approaches to the research side of it.

If you can, come along, talk to Dan and Alison and get involved with Electricomics!

You can get day tickets at £35 each (or it’s £85 for the whole three days) Booking details:

http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/comics-unmasked/events/event160729.html

Explaining Electricomics

Since announcing Electricomics last week, we have had a great deal of interest, enquiries and questions about the project. Here I will attempt to answer those questions, or at least explain why we can’t yet answer them.

Electricomics is wholly funded by the Digital Research and Development Fund For the Arts. This is how they describe themselves:

“The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts is a £7 million fund from Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nesta to support collaboration between arts projects, technology providers and researchers to explore the potential of increasing audience engagement or find new business models.”

The fund requires three parts to any application. An arts organisation, a technology partner, and a research lead, so that the project has a definite benefit for the wider arts community, a definite technological aim which drives the project, and a solid research team to make sure the findings of the project are studied and analysed for maximum ongoing benefit.

In the case of Electricomics, the arts organisation is Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins’ Orphans of The Storm, the tech partner is Ocasta Studios, and the research partners are Alison Gazzard at London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey at the University of Hertfordshire.
This large and unwieldy team jointly applied for the funding, using the same huge daunting form as everyone else who applies for it.

On the huge daunting form we explained that we wanted to look at how comics currently exist in the digital space, and explore their translation/transition from page to screen. Hopefully we would do this in new ways to what has already been explored before – so complementing what is already on offer, but using the R&D aspect to explore it in a way that isn’t usually possible with such projects. We wanted to focus on storytelling in particular, and try and find new ways to explore comics narratives using the technology now available.
We wanted to figure out a way to make these innovative comics narratives using a set of tools that the clever chaps at Ocasta would create, we would then put those tools into an app, release the comics we’d made while researching it all, and then let everyone else use the app and create with it.

Amazingly, the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts did not scoff and file our application in the bin, in fact we were granted an interview at Nesta’s offices in London. We went down, nervous and mob handed, and managed to answer all the questions without being sick or passing out from terror.
And then we could only go home, and sit and wait.
Eventually, after what felt like an eternity, we found out we’d been selected for the funding.
Once we’d finished congratulating ourselves, we realised we actually had to do this now, it was a real thing.

We held a meeting in the atmospheric and evocative library at 400 year old Delapre Abbey in Northampton. It was quiet, they gave us really nice cakes, and there was no Wifi so we got a lot of talking done. Daniel Goodbrey gave us an incredibly informative primer on digital comics, which introduced us to things we’d not seen before, things which intimidated us, and inspired us. I took notes. I took so many notes I forgot to doodle in the margin.

There was a lengthy wait on the paperwork, we all sat watching our in-boxes but then at last it was all systems go. Green light.
We were Announcing Electricomics!

The announcement happened last week, and from inside the whirlwind of interaction that occurred we discovered three things.

1. People want to know the exact specifics of the app.
2. People want a solid release date for the app.
3. People do not want wishy-washy answers to these important questions.

People may, I’m afraid, still be disappointed. The nature of an R&D Arts project means nothing can be nailed down quite yet. Nailing down is not our business.

Here, instead, is what we do know:

The project lasts one year, during which time we shall create the comics (the scripts are done already, the artists have them, ready to start drawing), attend other learning events and report back to Nesta through interviews and reports by our research team.
The research team will be heading out to do workshops and seminars at various events through the year to find out what you want from the app, and when there is a skeleton build ready, they want you to come and play with it, test it live with them and see what you make of it. They really need your support, online and in person. It’s a fundamental part of the project to include the audience in the process so please, we invite you to join in.

The project is not your usual comics launch. We don’t yet have a release date, or a product to sell, but we still need your support. Hopefully in about a year’s time we will have a fantastic app ready to download and create comics with, and a 32 page comic to read on it.
That is our plan, and now we are contractually bound to pursue it doggedly. We are all completely committed to that goal, and the nature of the funding means we will all be working constantly toward the project milestones, a yearlong tick list of Things To Do, which will result in ‘Electricomics’.
Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and we will make sure you are included in the next part of the Electricomics story.

–Leah Moore

Electricomics Launch – Press Release

Alan Moore Creates Digital App

The most famous modern comic book writer in the world, Alan Moore, is leading a research and development project to create an app enabling digital comics to be made by anyone.

Already known for revolutionising the comic book industry in the 1980s, Moore is pushing boundaries again with Electricomics – an app that is both a comic book and an easy-to-use open source toolkit. Being open source and free, the app has wide potential not just for industry professionals, but also businesses, arts organisations and of course comic fans and creators everywhere.

“Personally, I can’t wait,” said Moore. “With Electricomics, we are hoping to address the possibilities of comic strips in this exciting new medium, in a way that they have never been addressed before.

“Rather than simply transferring comic narrative from the page to the screen, we intend to craft stories expressly devised to test the storytelling limits of this unprecedented technology. To this end we are assembling teams of the most cutting edge creators in the industry and then allowing them input into the technical processes in order to create a new capacity for telling comic book stories.

“It will then be made freely available to all of the exciting emergent talent that is no doubt out there, just waiting to be given access to the technical toolkit that will enable them to create the comics of the future.”

Electricomics will be a 32-page showcase with four very different original titles:

Big Nemo – set in the 1930s, Alan Moore and Colleen Doran (Sandman, Wonder Woman, Vampire Diaries) revisit Winsor McCay’s most popular hero.

Cabaret Amygdala – modernist horror from writer Peter Hogan (Terra Obscura) and Paul Davidson (Age of X, X-Factor, Dark X-men)

Red Horse – on the anniversary of the beginning of World War One, Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) and Danish artist Peter Snejbjerg (World War X) take us back to the trenches.

Sway – a slick new time travel science fiction story from Leah Moore and John Reppion (Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon, 2000 AD) drawn by Nicola Scott (Birds of Prey, Secret 6)

They will also feature the colouring talents of Jose Villarrubia (Promethea, X-Factor, Cuba: My Revolution ) the lettering talents of Simon Bowland (2000AD, Marvel Zombies, Sherlock Holmes-The Liverpool Demon) and logos designed by Todd Klein (Batman: Year one, Tom Strong, Iron Man).

Electricomics will be self published by Moore and long time collaborator Mitch Jenkins as Orphans of the Storm, and funded by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. As a publicly funded research and development project, Electricomics will be free to explore the possibilities of the comic medium, without the constraints of the industry.

The app will be built by Ocasta Studios, under the guidance of Ed Moore (no relation). Ocasta create apps for the likes of Virgin Media, Vodafone, Harveys and The Register. They are excited to be making their first foray into the world of comics.

The research team will be led by Dr Alison Gazzard, who has published widely on space, time and play in interactive media, and is a Lecturer in Media Arts at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education. Joining her, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey is a pioneer in the field of experimental digital comics and senior lecturer at The University of Hertfordshire.

Moore’s daughter Leah will edit the project, having created the 150 page digital comic The Thrill Electric for C4 Education in 2011.

About the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts

The Digital R&D fund for the Arts is a £7 million fund to support collaboration between organisations with arts projects, technology providers, and researchers. It is a partnership between Arts Council England (www.artscouncil.org.uk), Arts and Humanities Research Council (www.ahrc.ac.uk) and Nesta (www.nesta.org.uk).

We want to see projects that use digital technology to enhance audience reach and/or develop new business models for the arts sector. With a dedicated researcher or research team as part of the three-way collaboration, learning from the project can be captured and disseminated to the wider arts sector.

ORPHANS OF THE STORM

Ocasta Studios Mobile and Tablet App Development

Lottery Funded

Download the Electricomics Press Release [PDF Format]
Download the Electricomics Press Release
 [Word Format]

Enquiries: http://electricomics.net/contact/