In the modern landscape of comics nerdery and production, a place so fiercely doused in ‘cool’ from top to bottom, where heroes and heroines sing and dance – and excitable nerds rigorously ride their paper waves, I ask… Is there enough free ‘gutter-space’ for lightning to strike? Is there room in our closets for the greatest character never created to land upon – and claim for their own? Are we still in the ignorant beginning? When comics-Earth is flat – and if we sail our jaded vessels too close to the edge, we’ll fall into space? Are we about to realise that our current comics landscape is actually a giant spherical orb, guarded by gravity – and can we please sail around it to discover the other side? Is there something yet to happen in comics, that will change our lives forever? Will the Digital Age in comics give birth to a new animal? – and will it set the ‘bar’ at a place not measured in height alone – rather depth, colour and feeling.
Can someone please deliver comics to a microchip in my eye, and can someone please tell a story with me inside it somehow? Can I build a 3 dimensional projection space in my home, where the air around me can be manipulated like a touch-screen tablet, with sound and smell flooding through me? Can someone please tell a story in real-time, with a new release every few hours, so that my nerd friends and I can all read together? Can I please buy an actual house in the Marvel Universe – and sell it on in a few years’ time when the property market picks up? Can I please read comics with an audience at a theatre with my 3D glasses and popcorn? Can someone please create a physical story where the clues and plotlines can only be shared in specific locations geographically… that I must visit in person to have access to download? Can an event-book have an actual event attached to it? A place where nerds congregate and experience a piece of the story in real-time at the same time?
Do the tools now available to us in the Digital Age of comics, provide the perfect opportunity to tell an utterly interactive story, where readers vote for a storytelling path to go down, inside a digital story. Multiple levels of story and various outcomes could be available at the flick-of-a-switch (so to speak) and a story could potentially be different every time. I want to select a character at the beginning of a story and read it through their eyes, and I want to read it again as a different character when I’m done. I sometimes want to actually fight the fight-scenes myself, like a video game – the result of the battle (win or lose) could affect the remaining story.
While I’m confident I’ll always want to collect and store the printed comics, I can’t help wondering… should we stop ‘plodding along’? and push for something extraordinary in a world that’s offering it to us on a silver platter?
I ask you – where do we go from here?
Please also check out CBD web comic *Celerity*. Page 4 available On Christmas Eve, Saturday 24th.