A group of young rebels accidentally discover the true nature of the dark world into which they’ve been born…
We are thrilled to announce that interactive motion comic Ascent from Akeron was successfully funded on Kickstarter. 121 amazing fans, friends, family and supporters from all over the globe helped make possible one additional episode.
We making a pilot now. The Prologue and episode 1 are live now! With the support of the audience, we hope to fund at least one additional episode. There are 12 episodes in total.
Ascent from Akeron is a post-apocalyptic tale set in the far future. Reading and images of all kind are outlawed in Akeron. When our heroes-to-be unearth a treasure chest filled to the brim with ancient superhero comics from the 20th century, they take fate into their own hands – rising up against the sinister forces that rule over their city of Akeron.
Interactive Motion Comic
Ascent from Akeron is an interactive graphic novel that merges the medium of comics (reading) with cinema (watching) and new media (interacting). Animation, used sparingly but effectively, enhances the atmosphere of the story. The parallax effect provides a nice, subtle element of depth. The musical score by Mark Tschanz adds yet another dimension, making for a more visceral and immersive comic reading experience. The page layouts are dynamic instead of static, so the way you read this comic is new, too, yet it feels natural. The project is made with the brand-new digital storytelling tool for Unity, Panoply.
The first three episodes will be published on ascentfromakeron.com for free. Our ultimate goal is to release all 12 episodes as an (iOS) app with special interactive features, background stories and bonus art. We will make the app once we’ve funded all 12 episodes. The prologue launches soon at www.ascentfromakeron.com
With some initial funding and a huge time investment from everyone in our fantastic team we are making the first three episodes. But we want to tell you the whole story. So, in sync with the release of the prologue we will launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund more episodes. We believe in what we’re doing and we want to get you, our audience, on board so you can be part of this adventure with us… We’ve got some cool art rewards in store for our backers. Subscribe to the Submarine Channel newsletter to stay informed about the lauch of the campaign. And please follow and share Akeron on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr.
These 12 episodes of ‘Ascent from Akeron’ make up the first part of a trilogy. William Maher has a vision for how the story of Akeron continues into the future and we can tell you that it is a very exciting scenario. We can’t wait to see the potential of this storyworld come to full fruition.
A word from the author: William Maher
Writer William Maher worked as a vfx supervisor on big movies such as Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! And he worked on some of Hollywood’s most successful screen adaptations of comic IP, such as X-Men and X-Men 2. Intrigued by the impact of these superhero frenchizes, Maher initially started developing the Akeron storyworld as a way to explore the concept of a world without superheroes. Here’s his story:
So there I was working on yet another superhero movie and I’m looking at the box office numbers from the previous film I’d worked on, which were probably huge, and I’m wondering to myself: how did all this all happen?
How could so many people go to watch movies about superheroes?
I started to wonder about the impact comics have had on people – all over the planet. What kind of spirit do these stories awaken in them? What do they find in there? So I spent the next 10 years thinking about this, drawn by the certainty that there’s a story to be told about what story means.
I started to wonder what difference it might make if comics didn’t exist at all. What if there was no such enlightenment? For that matter… What if there was no history? No heroes. No hope. No dreams. No future. No past. What if there was only work and obedience. What if kids grew up in that lifeless, controlled world? And what then? What if they discovered comics? Superheroes. Resistance. Fight. Passion. Light. Love. What would happen then? What would they become?
Author: William Maher
An Irishman who’s been working in the US movie industry for many years. He’s worked on several superhero movie franchises and directed Sleepwalking starring Charlize Theron and Nick Stahl. For the past decade, Bill’s been developing the Akeron storyworld. He’s a great guy and a visionary creator (you should see his moodboards).
Artist: Gustavo Garcia
This Barcelona native moved to Holland with his parents as a kid. He now works as a comic creator, illustrator and a storyboard artist (he storyboarded our Emmy award winning Last Hijack Interactive). His debut graphic novel Gagarin came out in 2012.
Color artists: Anna Engels and Aimee de Jongh
An accomplished comic creator in her own right, Aimee developed the color scripts and color style. The talented, recent HKU University of the Arts graduate Anna Angels took over from Aimee.
Creative developer: Erik Loyer
This L.A.-based mastermind created Panoply, a powerful and flexible Unity-based tool for creating interactive content. Erik helps us make full creative use of his engine. His motion comic Upgrade Soul is a #mustsee.
Developer: Isabelle Kniestedt
During her master course in animation at AKV|St.Joost, Isabelle created a wonderful interactive storybook. We were impressed, so we asked her to join team Akeron. It’s rare to find an animator with developer skills.
Animator: Danne Bakker
Danne did an amazing job as the lead animator on our previous interactive comic The Art of Pho. We’re very happy to have him on board for Akeron so he can work his frame-by-frame magic again.
Music: Mark Tschanz
Mark is an accomplished composer an musician with a huge track record. We’re super excited to have him on board for our project. Mark created 34 different haunting soundscapes for Ascent from Akeron.
Sound design: Thijs Kammer
Thijs supplements Mark’s music with sound effects to make it sound even better.
Producer and publisher: Submarine Channel
We’re an Amsterdam and L.A.-based not-for-profit storytelling lab founded by Femke Wolting and Bruno Felix. Our mission is to produce amazing next-gen interactive animation and documentary projects. And we’ve been doing this with a passion since 2000. Submarine Channel created the first interactive motion comic The Killer in 2002.
Producers: Femke Wolting, Bruno Felix and Tommy Pallotta
Interactive Producer: Remco Vlaanderen
Line Producer: Janneke van de Kerkhof
Junior Producer: Sasja Opdam
Graphic and UI design: Christiaan de Rooij
Web developer: Tijmes Woudenberg
Image processing and additional design: Tereza Vostradovská, Annelies Hofman
Press Inquiries: The writer, artist and producers are available for interviews. For more information, images or interview requests please contact Remco Vlaanderen by email or phone at +31 (0)20 820 49 40 (CET time zone).