The Future's Not What It Used to Be – Neon Wasteland #2

Rob Shields writes of Neon Wasteland – the augmented reality, cyberpunk comic of the future which is returning to Kickstarter with a next-gen AR app and new tie-in video game.

I discovered comics in the late 1980s, a time of cartoons, cable television, Hollywood blockbusters, and video games. It wasn't cool to read comics back then, but we did it anyway because, unlike all those other things, comics unlock a world that exists somewhere between the pages of the book and the movies that live inside your mind.

Art from Neon Wasteland #2. Art by Rob Shields
Art from Neon Wasteland #2. Art by Rob Shields

When I made Neon Wasteland, I wanted to bring that sense of an interactive living comic book world into the 21st century. I wanted a book that would be a window into another world, a window that you could not only look through but open up and step inside.

With the help of any smartphone, Neon Wasteland #2 becomes that book. The panels stretch and bend into illustrated 3D spaces that you can tilt to explore. The action animates, cars drive, guns fire punches land, heads explode, all in the palm of your hand. More importantly, the comic reacts to you, waiting for your eyes to move it forward. Panels can be set to only animate when you look at them, allowing you to set the pace of every page. There is an optional music soundtrack that evolves over the course of the story but no pre-recorded dialogue or sound effects to weigh down your imagination with scripted sound bites.

Art from Neon Wasteland #2. Art by Rob Shields
Art from Neon Wasteland #2. Art by Rob Shields

And then the final piece of the puzzle is, well, the puzzle itself. Each issue is littered with secrets. By touching different places in the book, you can visit hidden locations, hack computers, talk to characters in the story, and even rewind time itself. Parallel storylines exist just beyond the surface of each page, waiting for you to discover them.

If you're a fan of Japanese cyberpunk, synthwave soundtracks, pixelated games, the retro-future dreams of the 1980s, or just interested to see what's possible in an interactive comic book today, check out Neon Wasteland. Visit our Kickstarter page to score some amazing AR-enabled rewards, like animated prints, stickers, and clothing. Mention this article and score a free animated sticker with any physical purchase.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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