report from "a" dig

hum... esta página é antiga (2018): lê o disclaimer ou procura outra mais recente
that-a-tablet? lady-u-old!

Brincadeira fácil para o título que nos serve de base às reflexões de hoje pelo mesmo Josip Batinic — se vamos usar académicos, seguimos as migalhas. Aterramos assim no bom momento e optimismo geral de tempos mais simples: 2015. Defendemos um futuro à BD digital na web por tecnologias abertas, oposto a apps ou plataformas proprietárias. No caso-em-estudo de hoje, um compromisso: app em open source.

Electricomics project: a practical and beautiful-looking digital toolset in order to jumpstart and aid in the production and consumption of digital comics.

Their main research questions concentrate on exploring how digital comics change and advance the medium of comics itself, as well as investigating more practically what is needed by creators to create digital comics.

The Electricomics creators decided to proceed with creating a platform for reading, creating and publishing comics on a tablet device. They concentrated on reducing the presence and the effect of the gatekeepers to a minimum, endowing the Electricomics users with more control and power over their own creations.

The most important deliverables they had set for themselves, are, reportedly,

  • 1) providing the users with a free reader app,
  • 2) readily available sample comics,
  • 3) free/open digital comic creator tool, and
  • 4) open available code.

The electric comic format would make use of different ways of navigating through the content (touch-based technology, different sensors), as well as take advantage of all the inherent benefits of using a tablet (such as portability, immediacy and its physicality).

The initial release of the Electricomics app are contained 4 different digital comics, created with and for the Electricomics technology: Big Nemo (Alan Moore and Coleen Doran), Cabaret Amygdala (Peter Hogan and Paul Davidson), Red Horse (Garth Ennis and Peter Snejbjerg), and Sway (Leah Moore, John Reppion, and Nicola Scott). These digital comics is that they are not simply static digitised copies of print comics, but rather digital natives. They are build with the attempt to make the most out of the possibilities of the medium on which they are hosted.
in "Electric Comics — A Report From the First Ever Digital Comics Symposium" 26 out 2015

Da adopção do digital, e um snippet a recordar as intenções do open-source:

Electricomics is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC) which means that all revenue it receives will be given back to the community and the comics industry. This assures that research and development coming in and out of Electricomics will be available to the public, and it will be used in order to make further progress in the field.
in "Electric Comics — A Report From the First Ever Digital Comics Symposium" 26 out 2015

Um pouco de História. Cita-se Daniel Merlin Goodbrey et al.

The authors gave a brief but quite informative overview of the history of digital comics.

Their origins are of course intrinsically related to the beginnings of the computing technology and the experimental storytelling. The first actual digital comic is considered to be Red Hawk (1986), which is an early computer game, first released on the ZX Spectrum computer. Experimentations continued with other forms of text-adventure-style narratives with comics elements. With the dawn of the 1990s and the evolution of computer technologies, comics started to appear on CD-ROMs and even email lists, ultimately arriving onto the still young World Wide Web in 1993, with David Farley’s Doctor Fun. The webcomics format skyrocketed almost immediately, as it received a wider audience and a free and inexpensive way of dissemination. They initially adopted the format of their print counterparts, but soon thereafter ventured into new waters, blending together with other expressive forms on the newly established digital medium.

What webcomics offered seemed revolutionary at the time. The Internet had removed a major obstacle, which has always been blocking the path in creating print comics: the publishers, or “gatekeepers”, have been removed from the line of production, allowing those comics stories to skip the filtering and the strict standards of print and see the light of day much more easily.

The arrival of tablets boosted the market of print comics, but they also allowed for even more experimentations with the physical and digital potentialities of modern technology. Tablets’ dimensions were already close to those of print comics, which facilitated their adoption and settlement on the handheld screen. However, the distribution of comics in tablet-optimised formats more often than not implied the return of the “gatekeepers”, not to mention the advanced technological skills necessary for developing a functioning digital comic file.
in "Electric Comics — A Report From the First Ever Digital Comics Symposium" 26 out 2015

Infelizmente, obrigados a retomar ao presente justamente do final do parágrafo anterior. Os "advanced technological skills necessary for developing a functioning digital comic file" continuam a ser um obstáculo que empurra muita pobre alma para silos proprietários empatando as possibilidades do(s) meios(s). Mesmo com todas as boas intenções do mundo, meio mundo ainda não fala digitês. A própria Electricomics fornece uma aplicação para facilitar a criação de peças à aplicação principal, mas logo aqui percebem a dificuldade que praga o horizonte.

Generator enables one to create comics to read and share through the main app.
in "Electric Comics — A Report From the First Ever Digital Comics Symposium" 26 out 2015

Uma aplicação para outra aplicação? Seguindo a ligação aterram num repositório do Github e quantos daí ainda seguem caminho..? A opção de limitar a plataforma ao tablet quando todos andam com outro device de bolso também não terá ajudado. A app em código aberto terá sido uma ideia simpática mas ao fim do dia a solução proposta continua a depender de um gatekeeper autoritário e incerto — a store da Apple — e limita-se a um formato exclusivo dessa marca. Pior, apenas um par de anos passados não está mais disponível para download. Por comparação, um website também não é para sempre mas os seus conteúdos possíveis de partilhar e ganhar nova vida em outros lugares, e, sobretudo, mais ou menos sofríveis na experiência, podem ser consultados em qualquer aparelho com ligação web: ponto para os standards W3C. Também aqui há uma moral, qualquer coisa sobre bells and whistles ou menos rocócó mas resiliente. Finalmente, nisto de comparações, a intenção por detrás da intenção importa bastante ao futuro de cada projecto: aqueles que o fazem com desprezo ao $$$ parecem resistir às modas do tempo, os outros não.

Q: When is the next issue coming out?
A: This is at the moment a one off publication, until we secure secondary funding for more stories.
in "FAQ" 2015

Mas deixemos as realidades do capitalismo e voltemos à arte e poesia, continuemos das palavras do Alan Moore e comix et digital:

I'm not sure if this counts as comics. Comics is a technology all its own, a technology that has been accumulating and progressing according to decades -- or centuries, depending on when you define the starting point of the comic strip.

This technology is new. It offers us possibilities, the possibility to make some horrendous mistakes as well as some enduring triumphs. It might have to evolve for a while, probably not long given the pace of today's world, but we might need a decade before we understand what we've got here and the ways it could potentially be used. There's no point repeating what we've done already; we need a new aesthetic that is appropriate to these new possibilities.
in "Alan Moore: 'Electricomics' is groundbreaking, but print is still superior" 29 set 2015

De uma entrevista quando a app fazia as rondas de imprensa em 2015/2016. No título desta, o print is still superior. Uma ideia de tal modo interiorizada, que o próprio poderá não ter-se dado conta o quanto. Das mesmas faqs anteriores:

Q: Why did you pick iPad?
A: We chose iPad because its a nice big chunky size screen, its a fixed format, and ratio, and its one single device which we thought we could accurately predict performance on.
in "FAQ" 2015

IE, porque se parece com papel...?

Moore, ipad, and... pen?

Filosofamos no molhado: seguindo outras ligações, a realidade que se segue de finais de 2016 ao presente não parece sugerir mais desenvolvimentos. Voltamos à estaca zero: silos, a-no-go.

falhar em ver