A quick read of Ben Franklin;s bio will tell you that Philadelphia is home to many American firsts. Now you can add another: the first iPhone-exclusive comic.
According to the publisher, StopWatch Media, “The Carrier” is the first comic available only on the iPhone. That is, it was not also published in print or online. [iTunes link: paid, free]
“The Carrier” is a story about a man who awakes in Thailand to find a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist and must figure out the origins of the briefcase while he regains his memory.
“If you are a fan of the Borne movies, you;ll love it,” says writer Evan Young, who lives near South Street.
The story takes full advantage of all the features available in a programmable, GPS-enabled device. The story’s 35 chapters unfold in real-time. If chapter two takes place 45 minutes after chapter one, it will be available on your phone exactly 45 minutes after you view the last panel of chapter one.
The application also utilizes the iPhone;s push notification system along with the reader’s GPS position to customize messages that relate to the development of the story.
“As you get further into the story you will be invited to a restaurant in your area or a coffee shop,” says programmer (and Evan’s older brother) Geoffrey Young.
For example, when the reader unlocks the second chapter, he or she receives an email and a notification telling him or her the current weather in London compared to wherever they are currently located (see right). The location of the next chapter? London.
Geoffrey says that StopWatch uses the Yelp API to “invite” readers to local restaurants, Yahoo for traffic updates and GeoNames for the weather information.
Despite the new way of presenting the comic, the application did have its challenges. When drawing a comic on the iPhone, none of the art can overlap into adjacent panels as they can in print. The limitation is one of the many reasons that some comic book fans aren’t as receptive to the new form of consumption.
“I find it interesting that many people want to recreate a print experience, and that’s not how we wanted to handle this at all,” said Geoffrey. “We wanted to create this as a new experience.”
“Sometimes the idea flies over some people’s heads,” agreed Evan. “More so to those in the comic industry than those outside it.”
The application has seen a “moderate” amount of downloads with readers downloading the app from as far as Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Hong Kong, and StopWatch offers a free “lite” version for those who are unsure of paying the six dollars.
“You can’t do this on a Kindle [e-reader],” said Geoff, “You would need something programmable and with an Internet connection.” He pauses for a beat and then continues; “I guess we could launch it on [Google] Android for the one person I know with an Android phone.”
Every Monday, Technically Not Tech will feature people, projects, and businesses that are involved with Philly;s tech scene, but aren;t necessarily technology focused. See others here.
Disclosure: StopWatch provided TP with a promo code to download the application for free.