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My Comic Book Creator and Comic Life ReviewThese apps are fun, and for this comic book geek, a way to try my hand at even professional comic book creation
Planetwide Media's My Comic Book Creator, including Comic Book Creator 2 and Marvel Heroes Comic Book Creator (Windows only, www.myplanetwide.com), along with Plasq's Comic Life 1.4 (Mac and Windows, www.plasq.com), are making it easier for users to create their own comic books. The applications are a lot of fun, and for this comic book geek, a way to try my hand at even professional comic book creation.
Comic Life 1.4
Comic Life 1.4 is a software application for families or individuals looking to have fun with their photographs. You can easily import some photos into the application, or use iSight or any other web camera, then it's time to make some comic books. With pro-style templates/panels, getting the layouts right is a cinch. There are also some filters to tweak the photos to make them look more comic book-like. Not to mention a pretty cool titler to create awesome comic book-style fonts and lettering. Then email it out, upload it to your website (easy access to Apple's MobileMe), and more.
Overall, Comic Life wasn't kidding when they said your dog can use it. This program is easy and fun, and ate up the better part of an afternoon for me. I can see families and kids coming up with whole storylines and choreographing the action for photos and Comic Life editing. And starting at $24.95 for the regular app and $29.95 for the deluxe version, it's nice and affordable for Mac and Windows users.
One other thing: In addition to the capability to print out your comic book creation from your own printer, you can also take advantage of the iPhoto professional printing service to make your comics last forever in book format. I wonder how long it will take before we see a graphic novel done like this! Find it at www.plasq.com; there's a 30-day trial available.
Marvel Heroes Comic Creator
I have to confess, I'm a long-time Marvel fan, so this app, available only for Windows users, is something I was excited to try out. Basically, you create your own Marvel comic starring Spider-Man, Wolverine, Elektra. You create a layout with professional panels, add word balloons and captions, and voila, you have your very own Marvel comic book.
This is part of Planetwide Media's Licensed Art line of My Comic Creator products, including Virgin Comics, tons of Manga apps, "Speed Racer" (the original cartoon), and more. So if you're a fan of any of the licensed properties (I'm talking to you, Tokyopop fans), Planetwide's got it for you. Even "Nacho Libre;" that's right, Nacho friggin' Libre, from the film of the same name starring Jack Black. It's too much, in a good way.
There's more than 300 pieces of hero and villain art, along with backgrounds, vehicles, props, etc., plus you can re-size all the images without losing any of the quality. Like Comic Life, it's really easy to use with drag-and-drop functionality.
This was tremendous fun, and I suspect a good portion of it was because I'm such a wannabe Marvel writer/comics creator. At least I can make up some of my own stories and have a good time, and then I can share them via email, printing, etc. The only request I have for future updates is Iron Man; ol' Shellhead is my favorite character (he's tattooed on my right forearm), and he, his allies, and his villains are solely missed in this outing of Marvel Heroes. Again, fingers crossed we'll see him and his family of characters in future versions.
It costs $29.99, so if you're looking to have a great time with your favorite Marvel heroes, and live the luxurious life of a comic book creator, then definitely grab this app! I had a great time with it. www.myplanetwide.com
Comic Book Creator 2
This is where the big boys play: Comic Book Creator 2 (Windows only) allows aspiring comic writers and artists to create and self-publish their own comic books. Aside from 450 screenshots available, artists can scan and drag-and-drop their original artwork to be completed within the program, including the lettering the dialogue and sound effects (like "Ka-Blam!" and such). Video game enthusiasts can also use video game screenshots to create their own comics.
Photo comics are also a possibility, much like Plasq's Comic Life, but you can also add video, which is really, really cool. That opens up a user's creativity, whether he or she is just having fun, or making a comic book for publication. Adding sound effects is also a possibility with 150 various sound effects loops.
Simply print out the comic, publish it to your favorite site (your own, MySpace, etc.), or even publish it in a graphic novel format at www.cafepress.com. For specific details and file formats compatible with Comic Book Creator 2, visit http://www.myplanetwide.com/products/detail/description.html?id=41. Priced at only $49.99, I recommend this software as a great deal. Usually comic artists and creators will scan their artwork and work on it in Adobe Illustrator and/or Photoshop, so Comic Book Creator 2 is a good bargain for the amount of work you can do in it. But for coloring, shading, etc., Illustrator and Photoshop are still must-have apps for comic book creators. I'd love to see Planetwide port their apps over to the Mac, but you can always use Boot Camp and Windows (or Parallels) on your Mac to take advantage of their fun apps. www.myplanetwide.com
Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.
Related Keywords:animation, comic book creator, comic book software