Friday, June 10, 2011

'Shatter' (special issue one)

'Shatter' debuted in February 1985 (although the cover date was June) from 80s indie publisher First Comics. The artwork was done by Mike Saenz and the writing chores were handled by Peter Gillis. This was, as the blurb on the cover indicates, the first comic book to be composed on a computer; in this case, the Apple MacIntosh, as the introduction on the inside cover page tells the reader:

Shatter carried on as a back page feature in the First Comics book 'John Sable: Freelance', until December 1985 when the first issue of the formal Shatter series was released. The title lasted 14 issues (until April 1988). 

By today's standards the art in 'Shatter' seems crude, but at the time its execution required more than a little masochism on the part of the artist. The MacIntosh  of January 1984 cost $2,500, and had a 9-inch black and white screen with a resolution of 512 x 342 pixels (for comparison, the iPad's resolution is 1024 x 768). The Mac contained 128 kb of RAM (the 512 kb model released in September 1984 cost $2800), and among the included software apps was MacPaint. 

After artist Saenze finished composing his art on the Mac, the pages were printed using a dot-matrix printer (which explains the decidedly low-res nature of the graphics) and colored by hand for final printing.

The comic as a whole is not so memorable as to warrant my scanning and posting its contents entirely, but I will post some of the more interesting pages.

Here's the opening pages from the special debut issue, including a rather graphic death scene...for a computer-drawn image....with a comical 'Borp !'

Later on in this issue our hero, Jack Scratch, visits a hipster club where the fashion is quintessential mid-80s 'Blade Runner' chic:
We'll see what happens in forthcoming issues of 'Shatter'....

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