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Ryan Woodward Announces An Animated Graphic Novel

Ryan Woodward, a veteran feature animator who is also responsible for the popular animated short Thought of You, is placing his bets on animated graphic novels. The first issue of his independently produced series Bottom of the Ninth will be released soon for the iPad and iPhone. The trailer above is intriguing as is the comic’s storyline:

The first app, Prologue, will set up the characters and the world of Tao City. Candy Cunningham is an 18 year old girl, born with a phenomenal athletic ability, and a hot head! Her father, Gordy Cunningham is an aged major league player whose athletic abilities have diminished over the years, but his ability to put on a good clown show always draws a crowd and ticket sales. Throughout the story, Candy faces some serious identity issues. The fame and glory of being a Tao City hero conflict with the true meaning of happiness taught to her by her father.

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  • Absolutely gorgeous! This is the way motion comics should be (not like current motion comics that Marvel puts out). This is captivating and stimulating! Beautiful work, Ryan!

  • James Madison

    Looks good!

  • Sold. That was awesome. I pretty much always shy away from motion comics because they can be so phenomenally boring. It’s peculiar how so many motion comics can lack the dynamism they profess the medium to own… But, BOTTOM OF THE NINTH looks absolutely incredible. Very dynamic, very interactive, and thanks to some pretty darn good music, emotional, too.

  • Thomas

    This looks great! But it isn’t the world’s first animated graphic novel.

  • Damn does that look great! Looks better than any “motion comic” that Marvel or DC has done so far.

  • wgan

    wonderful, stuff like this keeps me up and going!

  • Tim

    Wow it’s going to be interesting to watch this market evolve. Beautiful work, I’ll definitely buy it! Cheers!

  • m(_ _)m

    That was absolutely fantastic. But I gotta ask, why not just give us an animated film or TV series or direct-to-video film series that’s animated in this style? (Not necessarily with the contained, comic box structure, but just with the overall aesthetic and flow of the animation) Is it too pricey to take on a project as ambitious as bringing these visuals to a feature format? The comic thing just seems like a gimmick to me, and as amazing as it looks (I’ll definitely be checking it out), I can’t help but wish it was just a simple film or TV series.

    If I had watched that trailer and been told it was a feature length film coming out in 4 years, I’d be overwhelmingly excited. But with the project being a motion comic, I’m not sure how to react. I look forward to it, but it just doesn’t generate as much excitement for me as I’d expect such awesome animation to.

    • Talks Too Much.

      To be concise…the amount of time & level of effort, as well as the immediacy of the platform and a growling market. More Bucks for relatively less bang or time investment.

      • Jay Sabicer

        Agreed. And it also is taking advantage of this new hybrid medium that print can never do, but not as much as a completely passive full-length video. Disclosure: I’m currently working on a webcomic, with an interactive tablet version to come afterward. I’m curious on the toolset that Mr. Woodward has used in creating an app for Apple (and the Windows/Android devices as well, I assume).

    • Ryan also really loves the medium of comics personally. He’s already produced a comic of his own forever ago and wants to push the comics medium specifically.

  • Ted

    Looks great, though I believe animated graphic novels have been done before, most notably “CIA: Operation Ajax” for iPad.

    Ajax is really well executed and probably the best example so far of what a digital comic can bring to the table (and it’s now being adapted into an animated feature). It was made using Tall Chair’s Active Reader software package… Is Bottom of the Ninth also powered by Active Reader, or using a different engine?

    • C

      Operation Ajax is a very cool interactive app on the iPad. But it is not animated. It’s closer to being a motion comic. Still great stuff though.

  • Great music. Looks interesting. :)
    How do these motion comics work?
    You see the still panels on the page, then you click/tap on one to play it?

  • Whoa! Love the designs. His touch is staggeringly appealing!

  • Wow!
    Can watch that one bit of her pitching over and over!

    Beautiful stuff… Really well crafted, you can see the love being poured into this for sure… I’m sold!

    • If you go to the website, there is an animated gif of that pitch animation that you can watch forever!

  • Hal

    Setting aside how great the animation and design looks, I’ve never quite been sold on motion/web comics. To me, what’s interesting about the layout of comics is the natural flow and pacing for the reader due to the design/layout on the page, so I’m curious how the experience as a “reader/viewer” will be – what will move, remain static, how the audio interacts, etc. I remember there was a time comic companies added cassettes to “listen” to while reading and it always annoyed me, perhaps the freedom of a UI will make it come to life in an intuitive way. Its a great experiment and I hope it brings Woodward success – from the demo on his site I think the layouts seem nicely composed with one another even in motion, and I hope the natural advantages of “interactivity” lead to some interesting places (such as panels evolving around the page, or the opportunity to interact and look around the environment of a panel). End of the day, the most interesting things in gaming and interactive media seem to be happening on the Iphone/mobile devices.