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The Evolution of the Comic Strip

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Comics tell more complex stories each year, but the medium barely changes. As they were a hundred years ago, comics remain a series of static panels. Until now. With the introduction of fantastic new graphics capabilities in HTML5, artists have new tools and a new opportunity to make comics dynamic and interactive.

If you're browsing with Internet Explorer 9, you can see what's possible at Never Mind the Bullets. A comics experience developed by Steaw Web Design in Paris, Bullets introduces parallax -- the depth perspective produced by differences in foreground and background motion -- into traditional panel-based comics. The effect is particularly effective in IE9 because of its hardware-accelerated processing power. Characters move around the panels, sometimes across panel borders, in response to your mouse movements. As you navigate your way through this four-chapter Wild West drama with a surprise ending, you pour drinks, flip a deck of cards, throw a table, dodge bullets, shoot up powder barrels, and duel with the villain. And by virtue of the interactivity and the parallax motion, you experience the action in surprising and fresh ways that will be especially exciting to fans of traditional comics.

The site also lets you create your own version of the story's climax by customizing the dialog balloons. Place your balloons anywhere on the canvas, enter text, and choose whether to use parallax motion. And at the end, you may share your version with friends through Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail.

There's also a cool 3-minute making-of video that shows you the storyboards, the artwork in various states, and how layers were used to apply the parallax effect. The video also introduces some of the HTML5 technologies used in Bullets. Whether or not you look behind the scenes, I'm sure you'll be amazed at how interesting an online comic can be.

This story, "The Evolution of the Comic Strip" was originally published by BrandPost.