22 November 2013

Metawhal Alpha is a classic horror story from Madefire

Madefire is a tool for making dynamic comics (they call them Motion Books) and, as with every tool, there are many ways in which it can be used.

Some of the early examples that I looked at were very graphic heavy and made a lot of use of the motion capabilities and the sound. These books were verging towards films. There is nothing wrong with that but I felt it was a bit gimmicky and gimmicks do not excite me.

I think that having stretched the tool to see what it can do, and having had some experience of it, the creators got better at matching the motion to the action and comics like The Engine and The Irons made it to my regular read list.

I explained why I like The Engine in an earlier post.

Metawhal Alpha is something else again.

It is written by Liam Sharp, one of the main people behind Madefire, and is a nice horror story in the traditional style. By that I mean it was the sort of thing I read in Ghost Stories for Boys in the 60's - and that is good.

Metawhal Alpha uses Madefire very differently. It is a text rich story and touching the arrow to advance moves both the art and the words smoothly to the next position. These transitions vary from complete changes (like turning the page of a comic) to just scrolling the text up or sideways to just changing the perspective of the picture slightly.

The experience of reading it is very different from anything else that I have tried, physical or digital. It is still sequential but it is not strictly Left to Right.

This structure suits the story very well and I liked the story a lot too. Even better, the ending was a complete surprise to me.

Madefire is one of the more interesting things happening to digital comics at the moment and Metawhal Alpha is a good example of what it can do and is an excellent place to start experimenting with it as a reader.

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