COMIC REVIEW: MOBILIA (APP) / WRITER: SAM GARDNER / ARTWORK: LEE O’CONNOR, JAKE ROWLINSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (FOR iPAD)
After drawing a blank trying to find a digital avenue for his own comics, Sam Gardner made his own app instead. Mobilia took three years to develop and debuted to overwhelming success at last month’s London Super Comic Con. It may have a primitive design, but there’s oodles of potential. Included is the first issue of Sioux Warrior, penned by Gardner, and within a few pages you realise he’s fulfilled his mission of pushing the boundaries of what comics can be.
Issue one is the first of its kind, uniquely blending optical illusions, traditional storytelling and all the spectacle of rock opera. The music itself sounds like a blend between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Manowar with some softer country twangs thrown into the mix. As it leads you through the narrative, with sections of the page lighting up in colour with the progression of the musical narration, it feels like a new take on karaoke; comicoke, if you will.
It pokes fun at the idea of superheroes throughout, but it’s also as life-affirming and inspiring as any of the rest of them. But more than the earnest story is its inventiveness. The last third is like watching a pantomime play out on the label of a spinning vinyl; the way the images change with the story is quite mesmerising. For those of you that are fortunate enough to possess a 3D printer, there’s even a free code included to print out the bust of the main protagonist.
It’s not without a few hiccups, the most noticeable being the milliseconds between page turns which can disrupt the flow enough to break immersion. But Gardner’s cracked interactive comics with a flair and honesty that the likes of Marvel and DC just haven’t figured out. You can download the soundtrack from iTunes too, and we’d highly recommend it to anyone who liked Repo: The Genetic Opera or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. With results this good, Mobilia is only going to grow. Roll on the next issue.