Behold, the Future: “Bottom of the Ninth” Animated Graphic Novel

Candy Cunningham contemplates the true meaning of happiness in Bottom of the Ninth.

With the age of information in full swing, electronic devices have given filmmakers new opportunities for getting their voices heard. The shift in how we, the public, get our content has created new opportunities for delivery of compelling stories. As a film geek and comic book junkie, I’m interested in how new stories are being delivered and how the artists utilize technology.

Ryan Woodward has created a new app called Bottom of the Ninth, a graphic novel that combines traditional comic book panels with digital animation, a concept that isn’t new but a very nice iteration of it. Rather than presenting a story with static drawings, some of the panels show scenes being acted out. Other interspersed panels include panning, zooming, and different styles of motion.

The first app of this series, Prologue, introduces the characters and the world of Tao City set in the year 2172. Candy Cunningham is an 18-year old girl who was born with a phenomenal athletic ability and a hot head! Her father, Gordy Cunningham, is an aged major league player whose athletic abilities have diminished over the years, but his ability to put on a good clown show always draws a crowd and ticket sales. Throughout the story, Candy faces some serious identity issues. The fame and glory of being a Tao City hero conflict with the true meaning of happiness taught to her by her father.

This form of animated graphic novel seems like a natural progression of comic books that are viewed on mobile devices and mobile phones. With the explosion of individuals making their own movies with computer software, this app explores the possibilities of artistic expression which they may find very appealing. For those who like trying something new, the first issue is definitely worth buying just to look at.

Fans of highly stylized artwork will love its look and feel. The app is saturated with images washed in sepia tones, which give its animated environment a very specific look. The animation, while limited and sometimes fast, is fluid.

Movie buffs may find the app’s creator Ryan Woodward interesting. His credits include working for Warner Brothers Feature Animation, Sony Pictures, Cartoon Network, Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Entertainment, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures on films such as Space Jam, The Iron Giant, Osmosis Jones, Spider-man 2, Spider-man 3, Where the Wild Things Are, Ironman 2, Cowboys and Aliens, The Avengers and Snow White and The Huntsman.

Bottom of the Ninth will be released as an iPad/iTunes app this summer.

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3 Responses to “Behold, the Future: “Bottom of the Ninth” Animated Graphic Novel”

  1. Don Nutting says:

    It is the first thing my eyeballs looked at this morning (late start) but my coffee starved brain is saying, “WOW!”. I like how some of the panels come to life with motion and it seems timed a bit so that it creates the story as your eye wanders.

    Another early morning weird thought is what happens when you write a traditional animae comic vice a western style version? Does the app go backwards? Just my NATO operations brain synapsis firing on low coffee.

    I think this tells a better story in many ways. The motion is catchy like a cartoon but because it is a still frame it emphasises the shot. A comic to me still has more dynamic action than a cartoon maybe because that still shot is the apex of action. But there are things a cartoon can brings out that a comic can not. This app is a striking combination of both worlds.

    Very cool information Dave.

    • David Derks says:

      Glad you thought the article had content that had the wow factor. The animation really is great to look at, and I’m sure a few folks will want to pick up a pencil and start sketching after watching it.

      I agree that a still frame emphasizes a shot. An artist has to make choices when drawing panels, which is so important to telling a story. I could tell immediately that the frames in this app were created by someone who understands storytelling. The animation is exaggerated, and I got the sense that the artist knew what positions, expressions and movements would be the most beneficial to the frames. After I saw the artist’s resume I knew he was (or is) a master storyteller.

  2. […] view my review of the app click here: If you want to see the app’s sizzle reel, click on the image […]

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