I like comics as much as anyone. Even though I made the slide from America comics to manga, I never left Marvel and DC fully behind. On my shelf of DVDs, the Justice League, Batman, and Superman rub shoulders with the crew of the Bebop, Lupin III, and the Paper Sisters in blissful harmony. As a result of liking of both Eastern and Western comic styles, I was pleased to see the Marvel Comic Book Creator slide out of it's mailing envelope and eventually into my disc drive. After all, who doesn't harbor the dream of making that leap from reading to making?
Once I had it installed and running I set about working my way
around the program. The interface, I was glad to see, was user
friendly. On the left is a taskbar which provides access for the
templates that you use to construct the comics. There are covers and panel inserts, screenshots to use for the cover artwork and the other images to make up the panels of the comics. In addition, you will also find speech and thought bubbles for use in putting words in your character's mouth and heads.
What's also nice is that when you drag and drop an image into the field, you can move the image around to focus on a particular part of the scene. To illustrate an example, I can place an image of Elektra standing in a hallway with two unconscious men on the floor. As Elektra moves, she trips over the outstretched arm of one of the men and falls against the floor. In the first panel, I show her falling against the wall and in the next I can focus on another part of the image to show her feet tripping on the arm of the man. See? Isn't this fun?
There's also a feature whereby you can put flash animations or even
record audio in the strips you can create. This may disappoint you Batman fans out there, but there's no Robin so you can't say "Holy (insert line here), Batman!" The program also allows you to use your own images that you've got stored on your hard drive for use in your comics so you can more or less do as you please with the program once you've got it.
When you've gotten your comic looking all neat and spiffy and what not you can publish it online where it will attract the attention and perhaps the commentary of other Net denizens. This, of course, could easily become the most difficult part of the whole process.
Sadly, while a good program, it is only good while it is working.
For some reason, and on the day I began writing this in fact, the program has stopped working. A necessary file has become mysteriously corrupted or absent and even though I have reinstalled the program four times it still fails to work. It worked right out of the box and it worked well so I don't understand why it shouldn't work now. Planetwide Games, the maker of the program, has a tech support that responds in 24 to 48 hours. They did respond, and they quickly became stumped. An engineer was asked for an opinion regarding this, and sadly that suggestion fell flat as well.
I do, in all honesty, have to give credit to the Tech Support at
Planetwide Games. They did a lot to try and help me solve this problem and I really appreciate their efforts on my behalf. I'm just sorry it didn't work out.
The adventure did not end there, though – not by a long shot. After
Planetwide Games was force to admit defeat they sent me to Microsoft tech support as PWG had opined that it was a problem with my Windows Installer. So, to Microsoft's website I went, with only a glass of cranberry juice for nourishment. I quickly discovered that the error I received was common in a number of situations but not, sadly, in the one I was having.
I then, therefore, started up a chat session with one of their
technicians. The staff, while well informed and reasonable people, were hampered by my computer which refused to install anything they gave me to install. A restart was suggested and a link was provided so that I may reconnect to my previous chat session. I excused myself from the chats I was engaging upon at the time and restarted and then clicked on the link they gave me. The page that was brought up insisted that no one was available to talk to me which was mysterious to say the least. I was undaunted, however, as I started another chat session. This one was a more exciting adventure as the tech support team decided to cut out the middle
man and remotely access my computer. My Windows Installer, no doubt seeing it's position threatened, did all it good to hamper this effort but after a while we managed it. It's odd watching your own mouse pointer move around without you touching the mouth. I remarked to a friend I was chatting with that if I hadn't been prepared for the sight I might have panicked and struck at the mouse pointer with a rolled up newspaper.
This second session lasted long into the night and, sadly, bore no fruit. Many directories were cleared, many commands entered, but in the end my computer clung stubbornly to the idea that there was something that needed to be installed. A conversation with the Manager on duty that night concluded the evening and I crawled miserably to bed only to wake up six hours later groggy and unsure if I had dreamed it all.
So, as neat an idea as the Marvel Comic Book Creator is I have to take away some points from it; not from not being good, but for being good for too short a time. As for Windows, well, I guess I should expect eccentricity from it as it spends so much time around an eccentric user.
Nick McCavitt at https://www.mygamer.com:2096/horde/imp/message.php?index=208#