Bottom of the Ninth: An animated graphic novel for iPad and iPhone
Every now and then I like to indulge the other side of my inner geek, the side that relishes in the reading stories enhanced with still images. I don’t need my literature served to me straight up, not all the time at least, not when I come from a family of visual artists. Even though I’ve taken up the role of black sheep by choosing writing as my own specialty (working “the cinema of the mind,” mind you) my family taught me that there’s no shame in letting a picture do some talking.
In other words, I enjoy comic books on rainy days.
Let me rephrase. I enjoy comics, but it must have been at least seven years or so since I last read one in print—hence the reason I flutter back and forth on how I feel about ebooks. Now that Amazon has reported that their ebooks are selling better than print books (not including free books, of course), it’s easy enough to see that the lure of digital convenience is hitting the traditional publishing industry hard.
On the other hand, while the industry is flailing, thanks to digital technology we now find that content is growing wings and evolving. Don’t think of the tragic Icarus (wings of feathers and wax, flew too close to the sun, hubris exemplified). Think of X-Men.
Now think of…baseball.
Bottom of the Ninth, a richly animated graphic novel, is due to release in May 2012 for the iPad and iPhone. On his website, creator Ryan Woodward talks about his aspirations for Bottom of the Ninth: “This first app is just the prologue to a much bigger and deeper story that will encompass several apps over the next several years. A full script is completed and we are anxious to get started on Book One.”
The language here throws me a bit, but what can I say? If apps are the future of publishing, then words like “volume” and “installment” may recede into the past and “app” may become a more standard literary unit.
While Bottom of the Ninth is a baseball story, it is in essence an exploration of identity. Check out the YouTube trailer below for an idea about how this thing is going to roll.
“The first app, Prologue, will set up the characters and the world of Tao City. Candy Cunningham is an 18 year old girl, born with a phenomenal athletic ability, and a hot head!” Woodward explains on the website. “Her father Gordy Cunningham is an aged major league player whose athletic abilities have diminished over the years, but his ability to put on a good clown show always draws a crowd and ticket sales. Throughout the story, Candy faces some serious identity issues. The fame and glory of being a Tao City hero conflict with the true meaning of happiness taught to her by her father.”