Imagine waking up in a strange city with no idea who you are, where you are or why there’s a briefcase handcuffed to your arm. This is opening sequence of an innovative new application for the iPhone, a graphic novel about international terrorism called The Carrier, which was developed exclusively for the device.
While there are dozens of comics and comic related apps for the iPhone, The Carrier is the first to take advantage of some of the phone’s built-in features. The story in The Carrier spills out over a period of ten days, with a whopping 680 panels arriving in 35 different episodes.
Over the course of the story, if the reader opts-in for The Carrier‘s special features, he’ll receive e-mails and push notifications that coincide with the plot. For example, after a character boards a plane, a push notification informs you that the plane will be delayed in its gate arrival. And the story unfolds in real-time. If something happens at 2 AM, You will be able to read about it at that hour, no matter where you are in the world.
HTML e-mails from “The Guardienne” and the “World News Desk” provide news reports that bolster the plotline. (These fictitious sites are currently being built out into real sites that will support the story.) The only thing that would make the experience more immersive would be voice mails from some of the story’s characters.
“The Carrier is really just the start of our vision for digital storytelling. From here, the plans are to broaden the reach of the experience and try to make it even more interactive. We want some of our fictional news agencies to be functional domains delivering real news, features and videos, all of which tie into the story. Readers will take real polls about what they prefer, will read real blogs. And based on this feedback, we would then start delivering a contextually based graphic novel in which the story changes based on real-life interactions.” says the story’s creator, Evan Young.
It certainly is a novel approach – and one that we will likely see more of in the future as media converges and artists try to break through the clutter. The Carrier isn’t perfect – I found myself forgetting bits of the story because it was stretched out over such a long period of time. Maybe it was because it’s such an in-depth story, or because the character art wasn’t definitive enough, but I found myself having to backtrack to remember who was who. And be warned – this isn’t a comic for little kiddies. The theme of the story will probably frighten younger readers and there are both sexual and mature themes in different episodes.
But overall, it was a really fun experience and I enjoyed reading it. I thought it was a good story and fantastic use of iPhone technologies. I really look forward to seeing more books (and applications) like The Carrier.
Wired: Very clever application, great use of technology, good value.
Tired: Real-time pacing allows interest to wane.
This review was based on a free download provided by the application developers to GeekDad.