Cognito Comics Interview
admit to not knowing about Cognito Comics until I read an interview
Ain’t It Cool News
conducted with the comic book publisher last week. I was intrigued by this iPad
centric publisher and decided to check out
There they have a sample of their comic Operation Ajax, developed specifically
for the iPad. The experience was amazing. Cognito, with the help of Tall Chair’s
development app, have realized the potential the iPad has for motion comics. I
highly recommend checking out their website and experiencing the comic for
yourself, I want an iPad after sampling it it’s that good. So with that in mind
I did the only logical thing, I interviewed them. Enjoy!
is your first iPad centric title. Does developing a graphic novel specifically
for the iPad, with motion and other new elements, take longer than it would to
develop a printed version?
Each panel of each page is drawn in two to four layers, so that when we add
motion none of the images are incomplete. The pencilers, inkers and colorists
are all working on these layers, so it adds time at each step of the process.
Then there’s the motion design on top of that. Lastly, we implement the images
into an engine that encodes the art and allows us to incorporate it into the
reader application. We’re about as far off from the Jack Kirby production model
as you can get…
Q:How much more
difficult is it to develop a fully functioning motion comic? Do you have to
think differently in terms of editing and the composition of the page?
A: There’s a lot
of ways we could have gone about developing the art for this book, but we chose
to start by designing the page as it would appear in the static book format, and
then designing the interactive version from there. Our desire is to create an
experience that feels like reading a graphic novel, but that takes advantage of
an electronic mobile technology. Making the traditional comic layout as our
creative point of departure helps us stay true to the comic tradition.
doing with motion comics is probably the best I've seen so far yet a lot of
digital comics is just dumping the print version online. Why do you think other
publishers haven't put the effort in to make digital comics a truly unique
experience and fully utilize the medium?
A: Thanks, that’s
really nice to hear. There’s a pretty basic difference between our product and
the adaptation comics you can get through any of the other reader apps: Our
images are created in a digital pipeline specifically for the iPad format. The
result is that all our text, page layouts, motion, and color are clear and
crisp. We’ve had a lot of fun reading the classics on our mobile devices, but
what we’ve designed feels natural and fluid in a way that the adaptations
don’t. There will always be a market for printed comics. We know that for sure
because we still love collecting and trading comics, and that's not going to
change, but I love reading comics on my iPad too. I can't speak to the strategy
of other publishers. Let's just say time will tell.
linking to all sorts of extra material due to the historic aspect of Operation
Ajax to really enhance the readers experience. Do you think any comic/graphic
novel can be given this sort of motion comic treatement or will publishers have
to be selective?
A: Ahah! This is
really an interesting question that we ask artists and writers whenever we have
the chance. I’d say that a comic book creator can take the creative
opportunities presented by this narrative third dimension and run with it. Our
only limitation is our own creativity. This applies to stories that incorporate
nonfiction elements, and fully fictional stories alike.
Q: One thing I
liked about Operation Ajax was the fact that the reader was in charge of the
transition from panel to panel. You read at your own pace but also you
experienced each panel individually and for the first time. Does that allow you
to do different things as a storyteller? Knowing your reader can't see what's
going to happen next?
A: Again you’ve
tapped into something that’s totally unique about this format. We definitely are
using the panel transition process to intensify the feeling of moving from one
moment to the next. I can’t really get into specific examples, but I can tell
you for sure that we really like playing with the element of suspense.
Q:What's the plan
for the future? Are there several comics you are going to make or will you have
to see how successful Operation Ajax is first?
A: I can’t get
specific, but we’re really excited about collaborating with some awesome talent
on future projects. It’s too early to reveal anything though.
Q: Your mission
statement is to "present socio-political and world issues to the general public
through the engaging mediums of comics, animation, and games". Is that a
testament to your respective backgrounds? Why strike out on such a broad front?
A: The best way to
answer that question is to say that we see the future of digital media as being
less divided into genres as in days past. It does have a lot to do with the
backgrounds of our team. Until now, books were on paper and games were on tables
or screens. Those divisions don’t apply anymore. If you look at our mission from
that perspective, the emphasis really becomes more about making meaningful work
in the world of new media. Our purpose is to make products that are about
something more meaningful than mere entertainment, because there's enough of
that stuff being made already.
Q: Would you be
looking to support your titles across multiple mediums ie an Operation Ajax game
and animation or do you think each of your projects will be best suited to the
A: That’s hard to
say. I mean, the possibilities are endless, aren’t they?
For some reason I
always knew or expected it to be a start-up like Cognito that would really
experiment with and play with the idea of motion comics and how the reader reads
a comic. Like I said I want an iPad just so I can see how the experience feels
over a 100+ page story. Thanks again to Cognito Comics for taking the time out
to speak with me.