At the beginning of this year, I wrote about Daniel Lieske’s gorgeous graphic novel The Wormworld Saga, an adventure story that was designed to be read on the screen, with continuous scrolling from the beginning of each chapter to the end without actual page breaks to determine the size of each section. Part of Lieske’s vision was to have the comic be read on a tablet like an iPad, and his successful Kickstarter campaign allowed him to quit his job to work full time on the story and also start work on the app development.
The app, published by Robot Media, finally launched on Saturday, and it’s a beauty. I mentioned Robot Media’s comics apps a while back, and I’ve always liked the way they handle the translation of paper comics to the digital version. Wormworld Saga, however, was designed for the screen, so it’s even better. You don’t have to deal with frames that are too high to display on the screen, or captions that get cut off in funny ways depending on the frame orientation.
I got an early peek at the Wormworld Saga app, and it’s definitely worth checking out — not least because the app is free. You get the first chapter (the only one completed so far), which alone would be worth buying, plus the Art of the Wormworld Saga Artbook. For $3.99 you can unlock the extras, which includes additional production notes, early sketches, and various other details about the making of the comic. Here are a few screenshots from the app to whet your appetite:
The first cool feature shows up while you’re reading the story. You can double-tap or two-finger-tap to view the comic in three different ways. First there’s the Sketch layer, Lieske’s preliminary greyscale artwork, used to sketch out scenes and get the lights and shadows. This layer also has production notes where he describes areas where things were changed from sketch to final artwork and other tidbits. Then there’s the Artwork layer, which shows you the final artwork without any captions. Finally, there’s the Story layer — everything assembled in its final form. I like being able to see Lieske’s process, and the ability to view the artwork sans dialogue bubbles is great, too, because the artwork is breathtaking.
The “making of” section is very cool for anyone who likes to get behind the scenes and see how things are made. Lieske includes things like photos of his studio and “story wall” showing all his little Post-It notes with storylines and scenes spread out on the wall, as well as his well-organized schedule for getting the story done on time. He describes the process of settling on a digital painting style, shows some preliminary artwork (as seen above), and talks about character design.
The Sketchbook is exactly what it sounds like: Lieske’s sketches for the comic. The pages are annotated so you know what you’re looking at, but it’s cool to see stuff that didn’t make it into the final comic, including things like the floorplan of Grannie’s house and individual room layouts, which are used to plan things out but aren’t seen in this format in the final comic.
The extras are similar to things that you will find in Lieske’s Wormworld Saga blog, but the idea is that the app will have things that are exclusive to the app, along with news and updates from Lieske. Whether you’ve read the comic online already or not, you should definitely head over to the iTunes store and download The Wormworld Saga right now! (And if you enjoy the comic, the extras are lovely and worth getting as well.)