Movies like Ant-Man, Superman, The Dark Knight, X-Men, and The Avengers were based by another medium that brought characters to life. Comic Books! When I was a kid, I marveled at how the art and action of these graphic books were able to immerse you in a super heroes journey. Comic books played a great role in my life, inspiring me to create my own stories, as I’m sure it did many others.
Comic books have their origin in America, with the first commercial book being released in 1933, dubbed “Famous Funnies”. The history of comics can be sectioned off into 3 different Eras. The Golden Age(1930-1950), The Silver Age(1956-1971), The Bronze Age(1971-1980), The Iron Age(1980-1987), and The Modern Age(1987-Present). Because the history of comic books is immense, I will briefly highlight the major turning points in each Era.
The Golden Age can be thought of as the Era that brought forth the superhero genre, with Joseph Shuster’s and Jerome Siegal’s “Superman” being at the forefront. Soon after, Detective Comics(DC) introduced Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Green Lantern. And Marvel introduced Captain America and the Human Torch. When World War II happened, it brought a boon to the industry, allowing comic creators to capitalize on patriotism and social reform. But the Golden Age began to die out after the end of World War II.
The Silver Age was a daunting Era for comics. It came with resistance from the Senate, competition from television, and no compelling social event, leaving people without a reason to rush over to their local newsstand to collect the latest issue. This prompt the industry to take a new approach, creating issues that dealt more with the conflicts of the heroes rather than just the straightforward concept of good vs. evil. They introduced characters, such as the Hulk and Spiderman, displaying their vulnerable and selfish desires. This was to appeal to the American audience, that was doubtful of America still being a superpower, because of the Vietnam War. “The end of the Silver Age can be marked by Steve Rogers’ abandonment of the Captain America identity as a reaction to the “Secret Empire.”
The Bronze Age moved away from social issues and became more focused on the art & form of comics. Mainly because the audience was tired of mediocre art to represent compelling stories and characters. But even though the industry made there comics more vibrant, they were still distributing comic books in a pre-historic way, which continued to decline sales. In an attempt to revive and gain the mainstream audience again, the industry formed the Academy of Comic-Books Arts and Comic Guild. As Stan Lee states, to create “for comic books what Academy Awards do for motion picture.” This did not create the boon the industry needed to insure job security for artists and writers of comic books. Resulting in Detective Comics and Marvel to license their characters to television. The Iron Age is a extension of the Bronze Age.
Bringing us to the Modern Age. This is the age where comic books became valuable collector items. Understandably, since older issues were becoming more rare to find. An Issue #1 of Superman has even been recorded being sold for $3.2 million. Other comics have also been sold for over $1 million. Insane! With box-office hits like Spiderman, X-men, and Ant-Man, our lifelong beloved superheroes can continue to have a spotlight. This has revamped the comic book industry in a different spotlight. This brief history on the American comic book/graphic novel industry, has led me to bring a spotlight to one particular company that’s providing a new way to experience comic reading.
Anomaly Productions is a revolutionary graphic novel production studio, with the core creators being Skip Brittenham and Brian Haberlin. Skip Brittenham is a senior partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP( Premier entertainment law firm) and has over twenty years of experience in the industry, working with Pixar, Dreamworks Animation and Illumination. Brian Haberlin also has over twenty years in experience working with Top Cow Productions, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics. He has also co-founded Avalon Studios and operates Digitalarttutorials.com. Needless to say, this team is a juggernaut when it comes to creating compelling and entertaining works of stories and art. Anomaly Productions is who you graduate to from Detective Comics and Marvel, as stated by their website.
With the realization of augmented reality capabilities, it has prompted them to work together in Anomaly Productions, to create graphic novels that utilizes mixed reality. Their flagship novel is the critically acclaimed Anomaly. “The longest full-color original graphic novel ever created.” The worlds discovered and characters met throughout the book is reminiscent of Mass Effect or Star Wars.
The human race is forced to live in Terrarium Cities, celestial colonies, and space stations. A ruling space government made up of all corporations, nations and technologies has been created to ensure the survival of human race, dubbed The Conglomerate. Now the Conglomerate is a super power corrupt force. With this, the graphic novel takes you through vibrant worlds and powerful alien forces, uncovering the truth about the universe and struggles against The Conglomerate.
To bring the universe and characters to life, Brian and Skip added in augmented reality(AR). You can enable the AR capability through a app that comes with the book. Characters jump off the page for you to interact with. Ships can be viewed soaring through space in its entirety. And much more! Because of the recognition received from USA Today, Bleeding Cool, Los Angeles Times, and Nerdist and positive reception from their fan-base, they have went on to start other Mixed Reality Graphic Novels. Which includes Faster than Light, Fury Formula, Shifter, and Between Worlds.
The graphic novel Anomaly alone, deserves this company to be recognized as a pioneer in mixed reality graphic novels. They even deserve being recognized as bringing the entertainment and comic book industry into the future, with their application of augmented reality to visual books.