Michelle and I are working on an HTML5 Comic in an attempt to see how we can play around with the boundaries of digital comics without crossing over into animation, a digital toy or game.
A superficial glance at the front end functioning might appear as if we haven’t gone beyond what flash could always do as one could even go so far as to say we have recreated what would otherwise be a flash applet in html5. You might be questioning where are the cool 3D effects? what about the awesome parallax stuff that you can do with html5? Am I supposed to be impressed by the simple fact that this is viewable on ipads and iphones?
I would, however, argue that the search-ability of every panel/dialogue (and if we added another few steps of breaking down the background, objects and characters into separate divs), the ability to play around with components (using chrome dev tools to change dialogues and literally rewrite comics, change backgrounds, remove divs) and of course the ease with which we can share specific and a range of panels that HTML5 stands out as a more interesting way of developing and distributing comics.
I strongly believe that ‘interactivity’ is not the logical next step of the comic, but rather a way of absorbing the comic aesthetic into other forms of digital play. In a somewhat sleep deprived state, I do find myself harboring ideas of a web comic that beings by letting you pick an arbitrary point but is able to weave together a story that uses many (if not all) other points of a giant collection. Do I dare dream that parts of it can be ‘generated’ from smart algorithms that learn what people like and not strictly hard coded?