3 Free Comics: King Kong, Superare,  Do Androids Dream…

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There are those who didn’t care for M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable. I’m happy to say that I’m not one of them.

I throughly enjoyed the odd angle Mr. Shyamalan took on the super hero legends by planting seeds in the realm of the possible instead of the highly improbable from where so many super heros hail.

Think about it. How likely is it that a radioactive spider bite would give rise to a web-flinging, wisecracking teen acrobatic vigilante? I’d say pretty darn unlikely. On the other hand, it is conceivable that if there are people who are so fragile and weak that they break like a cheap plastic toy after Christmas, there must be those on the other end of the spectrum, those whose bodies are impervious to the hurts a normal person would cringe at. And if there are 98 pound weaklings, why can’t there be 300 pound beef-cakes. For every person with snail-like reflexes, why can’t there be those with lightning hands and speed-freakish feet?

We’ve seen the extremes of humanity, often displayed as freaks; the very tall and ultra small, those with eagle sharp eyes and those who can barely differentiate light from dark, those with computer-like memory and those who forget the last sentence they’ve read. So why would it be so impossible for a person like David Dunn, Bruce Willis’ super character in Unbreakable, to exist?

Maybe this person can’t sleuth out bad guys by feeling their evil vibes or bounce bullets of his or her chest, but such a person can possess way above average strength and agility, bones far denser and stronger than the average Joe’s, and a tolerance to pain that would shame any mother in the middle of birthing a child into complete and serene silence.

The real David Dunns of the world would likely not put on leotards and a mask, they would quietly live their lives, mostly without hero-like incident, but when action is required these David Dunns step up to the challenge, save a life, then disappear. The action may not even require super-abilities at all, just a willingness to help.

As a kid, like so many kids, I wished I had some super ability. If I could have been a David Dunn I would likely have been one of the quiet ones, doing what I could to help others, but doing it without bringing attention to myself. Kind of like being invisible.

Unfortunately, my only super power was my invisibility to girls, which, ironically, gave me more time to read comics about super heros. And I did read a lot of comics, just as the kid in Unbreakable who grew up to become David Dunn’s arch enemy, Elijah Price, a.k.a Mr. Glass. A man, played by the excellent Samuel L. Jackson, with a frangible, broken body and a tortured, twisted soul.

Silly name notwithstanding, Mr. Glass is the epitome of a real-life villain. Whereas most criminals usually make their presence known to the public, either willfully as with Bonnie and Clyde, or unwittingly as is usually the case, I believe the true villains is more like Elijah Price. They are smart and cunning, and use their minds to influence events or the public at large to their favor.

Their intent is what truly sets them apart and above your common criminal; the villain has a plan, a goal to be achieved no matter what the cost in life or property. Villains likely don’t think of themselves as evil or their actions as malevolent because they are focused only on that all-consuming, and possibly even righteous goal. They are self-deluded and self obsessed and will avoid notoriety at all cost, choosing to act only when an opportunity presents itself.

It kind of makes me glad to be normal after all. Ah well, there are always comics…

One of the things I liked about comics, good comics that is, is that the scene in each panel added to the elaborate scene being created in my mind’s eye. Details, colors, lighting all gave clues to how the scene was suppose to look, which, in turn, brought the whole story to life. The only thing missing was motion.

I don’t mean fully animated motion, which would distract from the scene being create in your mind, but just enough movement to enhance the imagined scene. Doing motion right can be pretty tricky. Do you leave the panels static and move the reader along the story, emphasizing each area of the panel as necessary, or do you actually animate key objects in each panel so as to draw the reader’s focus? Do you add sound or are the written description enough?

Comic purist frown on motion comics, claiming that they are the unwanted bastard children of graphic novels and movies, and they only distract from the real experience of comics. I disagree. I think there is a place for good motion comics. They offers another way to tell a story, and in this high-speed world of ours, motion comics may be what keeps comics, general, a viable medium.

Regardless of how you may feel about motion comics, it never hurts to check out a few and see if they are to your liking. Of course, with the proliferation if iDevices, finding a platform on which to view motion comics is relatively easy.

If you’re not really into motion comics then you’d likely want to start off with something closer to conventional comics, but moves the story along on its own, adding subtle motion where appropriate. Try something from AVE Comics. They have several stories that use the same motion format that I described. AVE offers several free preview issues, which are all pretty good, but they also offer a full, free first issue of Kong: King of Skull Island.

King Kong

The panels in AVE Comics are big and are designed to be viewed as you might view a portion of a map through a magnifier. The app moves the view at a leisurely pace that you can adjust through settings.

There is no sound in AVE Comics and the only motion you’ll find is an occasional panel shake when something crashes.

Follow on issues will cost you, but this first issue gives you a taste of what AVE Comics offers, and what motion comics are about in general.

If you’re ready to move on to something with a little more motion-meat then grab Superare. I liked this app/comic immediately. There’s motion and sound, and it all adds up to a unique experience.

Superare

The down side to Superare is that you can’t control the speed of the animation, which can be plodding at times. Also, you are dependent on Internet access.

Still it is a pretty unique way to take in a story, and it’s free.

If you’d rather avoid motion comics altogether and read something closer to the pulp variety then check out Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust To Dust.

Do Andriods...

If you’re familiar with the movie, Blade Runner, and Philip K. Dick’s original story, which the movie was based on, then you know the environment in which this comic is based.

Electric Sheep is a Boom! Comic release and this first issue is free. This is a good comic. The artwork is first rate and it will leave you wanting more, which, I guess, is the point. Grab the issue and see if it’s worth your time. I rather thinks it is.

Anyway, that’s a wrap for this week.

More free comics and comic readers below with direct links.

Comments

daddy

“Andriods?”

wab95

Vern:

Enjoyed your insights on superheroes. I do think that they walk amongst us, but only spring into action when exigency demands. They do things like landing an aeroplane on a flowing river or like Tank Man, are able to stop an advancing fleet of tanks unaided. Indeed, superheroes are real, and they remind us that, in the words of David Bowie we can be heroes. We underestimate the human spirit and our capacity to do the extraordinary.

I’m glad you mention Philip Dick. His was one of the most fecund minds in science fiction, and despite the popular appeal of so many of the movies that are based on his material (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Screamers, Minority Report among them, not to mention a gaggle of concepts in both the silver and TV screens), his name is largely unknown to the general public, although he does have an official website. This is often the case for someone as far ahead of his time as Dick was (the man was writing about alternate histories and parallel universes in the 1960s and ‘70s), not to mention the impact of his battle with mental illness and his untimely death, and the effects these had on his career and ability to promote his art.

As ever, good stuff.

Vern Seward

@Daddy: Yeah, “Andriods”. They are a sub-species of yak found only in the western side of the Uzbek Mountains, and in Manhattan sewers (along with the alligators). grin

Thanks for the catch.

@Wab95: Thanks for the kind words, Wab. (Your handle makes me curious about the other 94 Wabs.) I completely agree, the human spirit seems boundless.

And I agree about Philip Dick, and will add that most SciFi authors are unknown to the general public even though their work often feeds our culture. It’s been my opinion the SciFi and fantasy has always been considered literature’s ugly unwanted offspring. Yet we turn to them to stoke the collective imagination of the general public. Lord of the Rings, Avatar, The Matrix and so many more were blockbusters not just because they had special effects, but but because they had good stories.

Vern

V

wab95

I probably shouldn’t reveal this, but no one will likely believe me anyway; the other wabs have all been dispersed to other star systems and time-space continua. While our exact number, and the nature of our mission, cannot be disclosed, we come in peace to all mankind (and other lifeforms).

Oh, and we’re all Mac users.

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