Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shatter: Issue One
(First Comics, December 1985)

This marks the first issue of the 'dedicated' Shatter comic book from First Comics.

In the editorial page on the inside front cover, First Comics editor Mike Gold tells us that the  special introductory issue of Shatter from February 1985 sold out, as did the second printing. While there is always an element of hyperbole in these statements, it does appear that the comic-buying public was intrigued with the idea of a title with its artwork composed on a computer.

By the time Shatter No. 1 was ready for preparation, the First Comics team of artist Mike Saenz and writer Gold had an updated piece of software at their disposal: MacDraw, which allowed them to create 'layers' and place them atop one another. As well, a higher-res font was used to create the comic's text. 

And most impressive of all, Apple / Steve Jobs provided First Comics with a FREE newfangled LaserWriter - in 1985 such devices cost $7,000 ! 

The ability of the LaserWriter to generate prints at 300 dpi meant a visible improvement in the artwork of the comic.

The initial pages of this first issue are confusing in terms of plot, mainly because no effort is made to update the reader on events taking place during Shatter's run as a backup feature in the First Comics title 'Jon Sable'. 

But it seems that Jack Scratch has decided to throw his lot in with a team of malcontents known as the 'Artists Underground', which include some geeks, and (naturally) a playboy bunny:

The old tenement building housing the secret base of the Artists Underground happens to contain a swimming pool, and the attractive leader of the Underground, Cyan, likes to swim a lot, which in turn provides a convenient excuse for some Old School MacIntosh cheesecake (keep in mind this is 11 years before 'Tomb Raider' first appeared on the Sega Saturn).

Unfortunately for Jack Scratch, a potential romantic encounter is interrupted by the appearance of some high-tech ninjas:

Has Cyan sold out the Underground to Corporate Interests ?! We'll have to see in 'Shatter' issue 2.....

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