I am not going to lie, I am a huge comic book fan and have downloaded countless comics and apps for reading them on my iPhone. After all, we all want that magic device to carry all of our media around with us wherever we go and the iPhone is fast becoming that device. I also should say most of the comics on the app store quite honestly really aren’t that great. They usually fall into 2 categories either the art is super slick and the navigation is incomprehensible, or the you get the complete opposite – where the art is pretty bad and the user interface is pretty well thought out. But you never seem to get that happy medium with independent comics on the iPhone.
Well last week the guys over at StopWatch Media were nice enough to give me a copy of their complete original graphic novel for the iPhone platform, The Carrier to see what I thought of it. StopWatchMedia are local to the Philadelphia area and this is their second iPhone app to date. The Carrier is much different than your standard graphic novel you would download for the iPhone or iPod touch where it is more of an experience than simply reading a comic like most comic apps 0r e-readers simply are.
The Carrier story is told in real-time and this starts as soon as you download the app. Not all the chapters are available to you as soon as you download it, but you must let the story unfold daily as new chapters are added. The story is further told through emails and text messages you receive as well in real-time with the story. The app even uses your location to trigger content as well. It’s a very interactive and well thought out experience.
The story in The Carrier follows Peter Lawson, who wakes up in Thailand with no memory and a titanium briefcase locked to his arm. We don’t know what exactly is in the briefcase or why Peter has no memory, but we do know a lot of people want the briefcase and Peter. Because of this we are introduced to several scenarios as to what the motivation and explanation behind not only what is in the briefcase but what Peter’s true intentions were at the beginning of the story is as well. Was he just a hapless scientist caught in something much bigger than himself much like the man with one red shoe? Or, is Peter part of a terrorist cell, and is this all going according to his master plan to unleash a devastating virus on the planet?(insert evil diabolical laugh here)
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I really enjoyed the pacing of the story, and how the 35 chapters eventually intersected at the end of the story culminating in a really enjoyable conclusion. While I found due to the delivery from day to day of the story you sometimes had to re-read chapters to refresh yourself with what had happened the day before, I felt the story was well planned and thought out. I also really enjoyed all the Philadelphia references from the stop in 30th Street Station, to the numerous references to the surrounding states as well, it’s nice to see for such an international story they still kept it close to home.
The Art in the carrier is solid and polished and seems like something you would pick up in your local comic book store. The story is told through single panels on the iPhone that you flip through one at a time. To me this is the best way to do comics on the device because it really gives you a chance to no only appreciate the art but not feel overwhelmed by too much content on such a tiny screen, so no zooming or pinching is needed.
If your looking for a good read while you on the go with some sustainability I can comfortably suggest The Carrier. This is one comic app where they used all the iPhone had to offer to tell an enjoyable story, and that is rare. You can pick the app up in two flavors The Carrier full which is the Full version for a mere $5.99 which you can grab here, and The Carrier Lite which will give you a taste of what this app has to offer. Check out the official website for the app here. The nice folks over at StopWatch media were nice enough to give us 3 promo codes for free copies of The Carrier that expire on 10/27 so the first 3 to comment on this article before Monday 10/26 and tell us your favorite comic or manga and why, will get an email with a promo code for a copy of The Carrier from the iTunes app store!