Monday, 20 December 2010

Unabashed Plug: Ligeia the Vampire (and more) on iPhone

I've been a fan of artist Rodrigo Diaz Ricci's work for several years and happily promoted his vampire character, Ligeia the Vampire, when it featured elsewhere. I'm so glad the strip - 40 episodes in all of vampire, zombie and wartime menace - is now on iPhone, the result of a partnership between Rodrigo and ROK Comics.

Ligeia was first created back 2006, inspired by the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. Drawn in a style echoing the work of Alex Toth, Frank Miller and Alberto Breccia, Ligeia is inspired by various sources as well as Poe; there are also elements of HP Lovecraft, especially his lesser known work "Medusa's Coil" (by Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, more than anything because Ligeia's hair moves in a lively, bizarre way).

The strip also pays homage to movies like La Maschera del Demonio, directed by Mario Bava, more than anything because of the use of black and white in that film. Physically, Ligeia is a blend between Barbara Steele and Edwige Fenech and other actresses of the Golden Age of film.

The story itself is inspired by the story of Hanussen, a Jew in the court of the Third Reich. Rodrigo was astonished by this bizarre character, a Jew who was the magician of many senior Nazis, but hated by Gobbels who considered him a charlatan. Hanussen believed in The Temple of the Uunseen, but made the mistake one night at a party of having a vision and predicting that a building would be burned, causing a major sea change in the Weimar Republic. One day later, someone set fire to the Reichstag and Hitler came to power. Shortly afterward, Hannusen was found shot dead in a park.

This is one of the first 'white label' iphone comics apps Rok Comics, where I still work part time, is putting out in partnership with the creator on a revenue share deal - Rok provides the delivery app, the creator the content.

We've also created apps for Rich Dieslin's 'Mobile Gospel' - a quirky but fun re-telling of the gospel of Luke which I think will have a wide appeal beyond the Christian community - and Steve English's 'Madd Science'.

Steve's strip won the Rok comics competition a couple of years back, judged by the editor of the Beano, so it seemed a no brainer to include it in this first tranche of iPhone releases.

With Ligeia: Treasure of the Vampire, as well as a creepy story, you get the world's most evil cat, Edgar, and a dangerous gang of mercenaries, the Danube Bears, thrown in for good measure.

(Their leader is called David Freeman - I suspect some homage from Rodrigo!)

The app itself delivers the comic well, in my opinion - simple slide to view and tap for the next episode. Works both portrait and landscape. Nothing fancy like some comic apps - the content is king.

Some things I'd like tweaked in an upgrade - episode titles get clipped in the strip listing for example - but they don't affect my overall enjoyment of this first Ligeia story.

Hope you'll check it out.

• Ligeia the Vampire: The Treasure of the Vampire on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ligeia/id409858722?mt=8

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