If you want to go prematurely grey, have regular panic attacks and develop a nervous twitch then I would recommend editing together a graphic novel. It is without a doubt the single most frustrating experience imaginable due to there being so many cogs that require constant oiling (writer-artist-script editor-colourist-letterer-proofer-digitise x 14 chapters). But then you get artwork through from Eddie Campbell (released on the 8 May) or the promo video at the top of the page made by students at Confetti and you realise this is a truly rewarding project.
One thing that keeps my head from the pillow is the unpredictable nature of digital projects. It isn’t until somebody has interacted with the page that you know whether something works or not. This means we are constantly adapting and evolving as we go along, aware that nothing is ever entirely finished. As Virginia Wolff once commented, “A good book is never finished – it goes on whispering to you from the wall.” Digital projects don’t whisper. They scream and spit down the ear lobe and refuse to leave you alone…
Perhaps the most significant change has come about because of Brick’s chapter on Slavomir Rawicz. We used a magazine format for his embedded links which has completely changed the aesthetic of the comic. We’re now using this as a template for the whole comic which means recoding, resizing, rewriting content…and no sleep. So please, have a look through previous chapters and tell us what you think.
This is one reason why I always work with Paul Fillingham on digital projects because he is driven by the same desire for perfection and is prepared to start again from scratch if something works better (Remember that as we are releasing this on Android, iPhone, and iPad that means every change is x 3). But I can guarantee that just as we sit down and think we’ve nailed it, something else will come along and demand we start afresh. Dawn of the Unread will see 14 different artist-writer collaborations and so there is going to be a lot of welcome headaches along the way as each chapter takes us on a new and unexpected tangent.
Recent changes that you can look out for are:
- Audio file of William Booth speaking...we will be inserting quotes over the weekend as the audio has that beautiful analogue crackle to it and so is difficult to hear in places.
- New tabs and link symbols to make it explicit where embedded content is and how to navigate between pages. We found that reading experiences vary across mobile devices and so needed to standardise this.
- We’ve started to animate certain panels. I’m particularly pleased with the final page of the opening chapter. Look out for the eyes of our zombie flickering between Shipstones and Home Ales breweries. We will also be doing a ‘countdown’ of the sign that says 95p shop…but this will take a bit more programming.
- Watch Charlie Peace jump out of a window in the Eddie Campbell/Michael Eaton chapter. We’re keeping animations subtle and brief so don’t worry.