Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Santa Goes Strange in 'Stick-Man'...

Courtesy of Scottish cartoonist Malcolm Kirk, whose hilarious Stick Man discovers Santa has gone a bit, well, strange this year...



Check out www.myspace.com/mal_comix for more of Mal's work, and there are more of his Stick Man cartoons here on ROK Comics.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Cartoon Christmas


Cartoonist Rich Diesslin, a ROK Comics stalwart, came up with this Cartoon 12 Days of Christmas. You can check out more of his work at the-cartoonist.com

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Team Pick: Looking Back... by Raymond Betancourt



Here's the latest of US-based artist Raymond Betancourt's "Looking Back" strips, which offer an alternative take on famous historical events. Here at ROK Comics, we think Raymond's on a roll with this one -- just look at the success of book series such as Terry Deary's Horrible Histories.

Brooklyn-based Raymond is a self-taught artist and poet who, in addition to cartoons and paintings has recently written and illustrated a children's book as well as several colouring books. "My work is mostly surrealistic in its subject matter," he reveals on his Artmajeur page. Some of this more surrealist work is being offered by ImageZoo. He's also a contributor to The Dream People, an online literary journal run in association with Eraserhead Press.

Several collections of his Twisted cartoon collections are available via CartooneBooks and lulu.com. You can also view some of them online at www.twisted.dostweb.com.

• To see more of Ray's works visit Breaking Art, Live to Paint, or Now Surreal

Friday, 31 October 2008

Chris Reynolds on Show

Moon Queen creator Chris Reynolds has been in touch to tell us that one of his paintings, of Brownsea Island/Poole Harbour has been chosen to be part of the Stuckists Antidote to the Ghastly Turner Prize at the ViewTwo Gallery, Liverpool from 6 - 29 November 2008, part of the Independent strand of the Liverpool Biennial Festival of Contemporary Visual Art.

The infamous phenomenon that is The Stuckists - an international art movement for contemporary figurative painting with ideas, described as "anti the pretensions of conceptual art or Anti-anti-art" - returns to Liverpool for the first time since their major show at the Walker Art Gallery for the 2004 Biennial, which proved hugely popular and very successful.

The Stuckist art group was founded in 1999 by Charles Thomson and Billy Childish, who has
since left, with 13 artists to promote “figurative painting with ideas” and oppose conceptual art.
There are now over 160 sister groups in 40 countries. The name comes from an insult by Tracey
Emin to Childish that he was “stuck”.

The Stuckists have gained considerable media attention for their demonstrations against the
Turner Prize, and also instigated a media scandal about the Tate’s purchase of its own trustees’
work. This led to a Charity Commission ruling that the Tate had been acting illegally for 50
years.

• Brownsea Island, the current location for BBC Autumnwatch with Bill Oddie and Kate Humble. is just one of many paintings by leading British Stuckists that form the exhibition and large (A1) prints of this painting are available in a limited edition of 100 from the Guildhall Gallery, Poole, UK, price £39, Tel: (01202) 673 715.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Hallowe'en Horror Fun: Fone Freaks!

Thomas Behe, author of the comic Contraband and artist Chris Walker have launched a new comic strip, Fone Freaks, via ROK Comics just in time for Hallowe'en.

Fone Freaks follows the adventures of Sally Snedley, a wireless scientist who seeks revenge on the nasty corporate criminals who stole her cell phone invention back in the 1970's.

Sally seeks justice by targeting the Fat Cat's cell phone customers by creating a haunted network that enables ghosts to zoom out and make people to do dumb things on their phone.

Illustrator Chris Walker has been creating comics for five years and hopes his new strip will appeal to sequential art fans of all ages. "Each Freak represents a silly, embarrassing or annoying social cell phone habit we all do - or see others doing - at some point in time.

"It's mildly self-deprecating at heart although we hope younger children will enjoy the characters - even if they don't fully understand some of the sometimes twisted underlying message. Most kids seem to have a cell phone now and (the ones I know anyway) really love being on them as much as possible."

• For more information about ROK Comics go to www.rokcomics.com. For more information about the Fone Freaks strip, please go to www.fonefreakscomic.com.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield!

ROK Comics creator David Reddick, creator of Reddickulous, is contributing new "Garfield Minus Garfield" news reports to the official Garfield web site (www.garfield.com). where I interview Jim Davis... minus Jim Davis! Just go to Garfield.com and look at the main video screen at top, and click #3 - and be sure to click it again and again, as there are several different takes! "I went all Stephen Colbert on this," laughs David.

Friday, 24 October 2008

ROK Comics on Now on iPhone

Rok Comics


ROK Comics has launched ROK Comics as an application on the Apple iPhone.

The ROK Comics application, the first of a planned series of applications currently in development by ROK for the iPhone, enables iPhone-owners to read a selection of strips from the huge and fast-growing ROK Comics portfolio, to include such strips as Anomaly (by Kennedy Rose), Crumb (by David Fletcher), Reddickulous (by David Reddick), sci-fi strip Crazy Mary (by Mike Colbert, Edward Woodward and others) and gothic comic Ligeia (by Rodrigo D. Ricci).

"We felt we should offer variety in our comics offering and this selection reflects the diversity of strips available on ROK Comics to include humour, adventure and sci-fi," ROK Comics Managing Editor John Freeman commented. "We will constantly be evaluating, adapting and looking at new features while adding further strips in future versions of the application."

If you already have iTunes installed on your computer, you can view the App on ITunes via: http://tinyurl.com/rokcomicsoniphone

More information about the new application can be found at: www.rokcomics.com/iphone

"The iPhone is having a far-reaching effect in transforming access to - and use of - mobile entertainment," added ROK's Creative Director Graham Baines, "and we at ROK are focussed on deploying ever-more interesting, engaging and easy-to-use content services and applications into this fast-growing channel".

This week, the New York Times reported that Apple sold 6.9 million iPhones in the last quarter in the US alone and has already surpassed its goal of selling 10 million iPhones during 2008, according to Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs.

"This is an exciting development for us," said ROK’s Group CEO, Laurence Alexander "and reflects our ongoing commitment to develop and deploy engaging entertainment services to mobile phones globally."

ROK Comics (www.rokcomics.com) provides comic publishers and creators to reach a worldwide audience by delivering comics to mobile phones, either by WAP subscription of Pay Per Download via Multi Media Messaging (MMS) with creators receiving up to 50% of the available revenue on every sale.

• If you already have iTunes installed on your computer, you can view the App on ITunes via: http://tinyurl.com/rokcomicsoniphone

• More information about the new application can be found at: www.rokcomics.com/iphone

Thursday, 16 October 2008

YuuROK Mobile Social Community Hits 300,000 Users

ROK Entertainment Group, owners of ROK Comics and the YuuZoo Corporation, the global mobile media company, have jointly announced their mobile social network service, YuuROK, has passed the 300,000 registered user milestone and is on target to generate one million users within the next few months and three million users worldwide within 12 months.

Juniper Research predicts the number of active users of mobile social networking sites is expected to rise from 54 million in 2008 to nearly 730 million in 2013.

Advertising-funded, YuuROK is free to use providing the user has a data package in their mobile tariff. YuuROK is available from www.yuurok.com/web.

YuuROK is currently generating more than 20,000 new sign-ups a day worldwide through integrated promotional campaigns and through existing users notifying the existence of the service to their friends and families, virally.

“YuuROK not only delivers Blackberry-like mobile email functionality to mass-market WAP-enabled mobile phones at no cost to the user, it also provides a unique mobile social network service with several value-added applications such as ebooks, daily news and sports news feeds, daily comics and jokes all designed to encourage uptake and use of the service.” said Ron Creevey, Group President of YuuZoo.

It is the email utility aspect of YuuROK which generates repeat usage which enables YuuROK to launch a multitude of additional services into the community.

“Mobile email is a very fast-growing service worldwide and YuuROK is a mass-market, all-devices capable mobile email service” said Laurence Alexander, Group CEO of ROK “but YuuROK is much more than just a mobile email service and we will shortly be adding our GeeSpark mobile social network application which allows people to communicate virally and send images and YouTube videos to each other from their mobile phones.”

YuuROK is available from www.yuurok.com/web

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Secrets of Ligeia Revealed

With a new episode of Ligeia now available on ROK Comics, creator Rodrigo D. Ricci has revealed more about the background to the character in a posting for the strip's Facebook page. What follows is a translation/adaptation of Rodrigo's posting, which is in Spanish...

Ligeia was created in the summer of 2006 in Italy, inspired by the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. The plan was that this vampire "with a touch of irony", drawn in a style echoing the work of Alex Toth and Frank Miller, would be the kind of work an Italian publisher interested in publishing a graphic novel by Rodrigo would like.

Unfortunately, neither of the two projects were realized and have been buried on Rodrigo's computer for some time. Then, when he put some of the pages of comicspace.com, a lot of people told him that they liked the character.

Ligeia is inspired by various sources. Poe first, mainly to capture as much as possible the environment with the use of black and white in high contrast. There's also elements of the Lovecraft, especially his lesser known work "Medusa's Coil" ( by Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, read it online), 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 Lamberto 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 Feneche and other actresses of the Golden Age of film.

Rodrigo decided to make Edgar a pet cat to avoid the horrible cliches of Igor in some bad movies. As a character it works well: cats have an extraordinary personality. "They do not need to interpret any role, since they are the role," he says.

The story comes with the Nazis after reading the book 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 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. (more about Hannusen here on Wikipedia. Werner Herzog made a movie about him in 2001 starring Tim Roth, and there have been others).

There is a definite morality to the comic although Rodrigo leaves the reader to choose whose morality they favour. Ligeia is a vampire, so in theory, evil. On the other side are the Nazis sent by Himmler, and those who might be the traditional heroes are a band of mercenaries, all united bya desire to loot the gold of the vampire.

"This series was born at time of many changes," says Rodrigo. "Gradually, publishers are leaving paper behind and transferring their attention to the massive audience potential of the web cell phones and the iPhone."

Any decision on the quality of the strip Rodrigo leaves in you hands, cordially inviting you to read... Ligeia!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Temple Digital Showcase launched

The first edition of British Amateur Press Association group The Temple's digital showcase is now available online from their web site to download as a free PDF.

The 36 page magazine contains contributions from 10 members, including the likes of ROK Comics creators such as David Hailwood, Paul Harrison-Davies, Simon Mackie and Malcolm Kirk.

Inside you'll find cartoons, full strips, previews of soon to be released small press comics, work in progress, and a behind the scenes look at making a webcomic.

If you're a comic artist/writer who's interested in joining the Temple APA, then more details are available on the site (it's as simple as clicking 'join'). Although this is the first digital issue (apart from Issue 0, which is also available on the site), the Temple's been running for more than ten years now and seen a wealth of talent come and go. Everyone's welcome, from the rawest amateur to the most seasoned pro.

It's a good place to learn from each other and hone your skills, or simply draw more attention to upcoming projects.

Web Link: www.templeapa.ning.com

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Friday, 3 October 2008

ROK Launches GeekSpark

With the mobile social network market predicted to grow from 54 million users in 2008 to 730 million user in the next 5 years, ROK Entertainment, owners of ROK Comics, has announced the imminent worldwide launch of GeeSpark, the world’s first mobile viral messaging service.

The fastest growth in the mobile social networking market will come from the Far East and China, according to Juniper Research in a report published this week. In addition, Juniper predicts it will be advertising-funded mobile social networks which will drive the revenue growth of user-generated content from $1.1 billion in 2007 to $7.4 billion in 2013.


Following the hugely successful adoption of broadcast messaging on computers, where users share messages with multiple friends at the same time, GeeSpark will enable users to chat, share messages, images and YouTube videos on their mobile phones and forward these to their friends and groups, in a viral fashion.


GeeSpark has been developed by ROK’s Finland-based mobile services development company, Geniem. GeeSpark is currently in invitation-only Beta mode and will be advertising-funded. The service is free to join from www.geespark.com and is free to use providing the user has a data plan in their mobile tariff. 



“In the past few years, there has been a phenomenonal uptake in, and migration from, the use of email onto instant messaging and now onto multi-person ‘broadcast’ messaging using PC-based social networking services" said Tuomas Kumpula, Managing Director of Geniem, “and we believe the next evolution in the networking space will be through mobile phones wherein GeeSpark users can share messages, images and videos from YouTube with all of their friends at once, on a viral basis, through their mobile phones."


Commenting on GeeSpark, Laurence Alexander, Group CEO of ROK said “To be launching the world’s first mobile viral messaging service is tremendously exciting and is another major milestone in the development and deployment of our suite of revenue-generating mobile services and technologies.”


Thursday, 2 October 2008

ROK And A Hard Place Comics Competition Winner

ROK Comics is pleased to announce that the winner of its 2008 ROK and A Hard Place Comics Competition, run in association with the Birmingham International Comic Show, is British comics artist Ian Stacey.

Ian’s entry, titled “Noah and A Hard Place” was a stand out winner for the BICS team and wins him a Nokia 95 mobile worth almost £500.

The BICS judges also spoke highly of John Maybury’s “SpaceBabe” entry and Ian’s other shortlisted entry, “Crossroads and A Hard Place”.

You can view all the winners at here on www.rokcomics.com.

Working in partnership with BICS (www.thecomicsshow.co.uk), ROK Comics threw down the challenge to creators to create a comic revealing a life changing moment.

“The Noah strips works on every level,” felt James Broxton, who judged the winners from a high quality shortlist along with indie comics distributor Shane Chebsey, owner of Smallzone Comics, and also a BICS organiser. “It’s a nice job, and Ian is a deserved winner.”

“It’s fantastic news,” said Ian on learning of his win, “Thank you very much and thanks also for finding my work a new home.”

Freelance cartoonist and illustrator Ian Stacey had already won high acclaim for his ongoing strip Wet Paint before taking the plunge and bringing it to ROK Comics for web and mobile distribution. “There’s some very funny material that made me laugh out loud,” says Monty Python team member Terry Jones, while top comic creator Alan Grant has described Ian as “an exceptionally funny cartoonist.

“He aims at just about every target under the sun, from genetic modification to Batman, and hits the mark in every case.”

Ian recently began offering a collection of many of his Wet Paint cartoons for sale via his web site (www.ianstacey.net), with all proceeds going to the Big Issue Foundation.

“When we first discussed the idea of a competition to tie in with BICS we were determined to stretch comic creators from the get go,” says ROK Comics Managing Editor John Freeman. “The cartoonists rose to the challenge, with some great entries.”

“We wanted comics with someone telling the story of a difficult choice they've had to make in their life,” said Shane. “It certainly made a change from superheroes.”

"We at BICS love the way that ROK Comics is so accessible to both creators and readers,” Shane adds, “and feel that working together we can help to bring the wonderful medium of comics to a wider readership. Mobile phones are now the most widely used method of communication in the world, so it seems the perfect way to present new comics to more people than ever before".

ROK Comics delivers the means for both comic publishers and creators to reach a worldwide audience by delivering comics to mobile phones, either by WAP subscription of Pay Per Download via Multi Media Messaging (MMS).

Creators publishing professionally via ROK Comics will receive up to 50% of the available revenue on every sale, with full access to sales statistics, viewings and more.

• The Birmingham International Comic Show takes place this coming weekend, Saturday – Sunday 4 -5 October 2008 at the ThinkTank, Birmingham.

ROK Comics 2008 Humour Competition Winners

ROK Comics is pleased to announce that the overall winner of its 2008 Humour Comic Competition is David Fletcher, for his strip featuring Crumb, his crazy, ever-hungry blackbird character.

David’s entry, titled Pitter Patter was a stand out winner for the editorial team at top Egmont comic TOXIC, who were the external judges for the competition which ran through August this year on the ROK Comics web site, and wins him a Nokia 95 mobile worth almost £500.

TOXIC editor Matt Yeo describes the strip, which stars Crumb and his rat friend as “A punchy quick-fire gag, with simple yet effective illustrations!”

Runners up were ClownoSaurus by Peter Coupe (“The ancient tale of a bizarre clown-based dinosaur. What’s not to like?!” says Matt) and Meteoro by Puerto Rican comics creator Vicente Aviles (“Classic euro-art, backed with madcap energy!”) starring El Profe.

Vicente, who has been publishing strips to ROK Comics since it started last year, originally published the strip in English, but has recently added Spanish versions at the suggestion of the ROK Comics team, and this entry qualified for consideration for the competition.

Responding to Matt’s comments, Vicente says “I'd say that I always liked the European comics style, and is the style which I've always trying to emulate, so... I have accomplished it! I wish someday I have the opportunity to publish a comic book.” (you can read more El Profe at www.rokcomics.com/elprofe.php)

Crumb is just one of top New Zealand-based cartoonist David Fletcher many cartoon creations. David’s cartoons are published in over 30 newspapers worldwide including New Zealand’s top-selling TV Guide (which has some 800,000 readers a week), the New Zealand Herald and the Australian Daily. The strip is now available in Chinese and through the whole ROK Comics mobile and online distribution network.

“It's great to have all the long hours slaving over a graphics tablet recognised by someone of Matt Yeo's standing,” says David. “My fourteen year old son's eyes lit up at the thought of getting his hands on the Nokia. No chance! Crumb's become very much part of my life and I'm still hoping one day he'll be able to support me into my old age.”

ROK Comics delivers the means for both comic publishers and creators to reach a worldwide audience by delivering comics to mobile phones, either by WAP subscription of Pay Per Download via Multi Media Messaging (MMS).

Creators publishing professionally via ROK Comics will receive 50% of the available revenue on every sale, with full access to sales statistics, viewings and more.

“We were delighted with the quality of entries for the competition and pleased the shortlisted entries tickled the fancy of the demanding TOXIC team, who were our external judges,” said John Freeman, ROK Comics Managing Editor and former editor for titles such as the UK Simpsons Comic, Doctor Who Magazine and Star Trek Magazine.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Scattered Comics Contest

To celebrate the release of the first issue of its full-colour comic Scattered, Scattered Comics, the publishing house featuring the work of Night Owl artist Jason Dube, have created a cool cover contest.

Your challenge is to create an original, cool, jaw-dropping cover art as inspired by Scattered #1.

(Follow this link to see pages from the comic for you to use as inspiration)… the rest is up to you and your creative artistic minds!

Submit entries to Jason Dube at scattered_catATyahoo.com

The Winner of the competition will have their cover used as a variant edition cover for Scattered#1 and you will receive 10 Free copies of that issue to show off or sell. Scattered Comics will also run a bio feature about the winner inside the comic itself and the Scattered website(s).

The runner ups will have their submission in the comic with name and contact information.

RULES:
• You must be 13 years or older to participate
• This is a worldwide contest.
• The art can be created by using any media.
• You may submit more than one entry: online entries only, hardcopies not accepted;
Entries are to be inspired by the linked comic book. (See: www.scatteredcomics.com/id46.html)
• Entries must be submitted before 11:59:59 PM (PST) ON November 15th, 2008. Entries after this date will not be accepted
• All entries must be 11” x 17” and at least 360dpi
• Acceptable file formats: TIFF, PSD, EPS, PDF, JPEG
• The Work (i) may not have been previously published or won any other prize/award, (ii) must be the exclusive original work of the entrant, (iii) must be in keeping with the Sponsors™ image, (iv) may not be inappropriate, offensive, libelous or defamatory, pornographic, sexually explicit, unlawful or plagiarized, as determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion, (v) must not be harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, profane, obscene, excessively violent, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable or offensive in any way, as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, (vi) may not violate or encourage others to violate any applicable law, statute, ordinance or regulation, (vii) may not defame or invade publicity rights or privacy of any person, living or deceased, or otherwise infringe upon any persona’s personal or property rights or any other third party rights, (vii) may not contain commercial/corporate advertising, including but not limited to corporate logos, brand names, and slogans, other than those relating to the Sponsors and (ix) may not include any viruses, worms, corrupt files, Trojan horses, or other forms of corruptive code or content that may harm or compromise the Contest Site and/or the proper conduct of the Contest.
• All Works submitted will remain the exclusive property of the entrant, provided that:
(i) entrant will not acquire any ownership or other interest in any and all trademarks, logos and other intellectual property of the Sponsors (collectively “Sponsors Marks”) contained in the Work;

Contest entries will be judged based on Technical Skill (25%), Originality (25%) and Creativity (50%). The more creatively you can capture the themes from Scattered, the better your score in Creativity.

• Visit the official Scattered Comic web site: www.scatteredcomics.com
• Visit the Scattered Comic Stuido web site: www.scatteredcomicsstudios.com
• Read Night Owl on ROK Comics

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Virunga National Park Promo

If you're a fan of mountain gorillas (and who isn't?) then you might like this unofficial promo I worked up for the new Virunga National Park web site using pics sent in an email...



Check out the web site at: www.gorilla.cd

80% of World's Population on Mobile by 2013

Despite turmoil in world financial markets over the last year, the $1 trillion mobile industry continues to confound expectations, with spectacular and accelerating growth, says Portio Research in its report, 'Worldwide Mobile Market Forecasts 2009 – 2013'.

The report, published this week, reveals that over half the world now uses a mobile phone and predicts that 80% of the world's population – 5.8 billion people - will be doing so by the end of 2013.

Put into perspective, 5.8 billion mobile phones represents more than twice the total, combined, number of TV sets and PC’s globally.

Among the top 20 growth markets there are few surprises, the report says. China wins the top spot, just ahead of India. These two countries alone are expected to contribute over 1 billion additional mobile phone users in the next 5 years.

Africa, the Middle East and Latin America are also expected to experience high growth, estimated at 13.3%, 10.7% and 9.9% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate), respectively.

Meanwhile, despite rising mobile data revenues, mobile ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) continues to decline, and is predicted to fall from $23.20 in 2005 to $15.80 by the end of 2013, largely because the additional subscriber growth is likely to come from low per capita income markets.

Nokia, the world’s leading handset manufacturer, shipped 437 million handsets in 2007, while Samsung has displaced Motorola from the number 2 spot. In the first two quarters of 2008, LG displaced Sony Ericsson from the number 4 spot.

Commenting on the report, Laurence Alexander, Group CEO of ROK said “We are enthused by the Portio report as it highlights not just the staggering and continuing growth of the mobile industry, but also the increasing need of operators and manufacturers alike to develop non-voice revenue streams, which is exactly what we offer”.

ROK Entertainment Group Inc., (OTCBB: ROKE) founded in 2004 and owners of ROK Comics, is a global mobile entertainment group. With approximately 200 staff worldwide, ROK has filed more than 40 international patents for its suite of innovative mobile technologies.

With 3.3 billion mobile handsets in use worldwide, the mobile entertainment industry is a multi-billion dollar business.

ROK TV enables the streaming of live and on-demand TV to mobile phones over mass-market 2.5G, as well as over 3G and Wi-Fi.

More Info: www.rokent.com

Friday, 26 September 2008

Mind Reading Mobile!

The future (of playing games on your phone) has arrived. San Jose-based company Neurosky Inc. has developed a prototype of a mobile phone which reads brain waves and uses them in its applications. Premiered at a technology exhibition in San Francisco a week ago, web site TechOn reports the headset-shaped system consists of a sensor to read brain waves, digital signal processing part and so forth. The sensor contacts with a point on user's forehead.

By reading brain waves such as α and β waves, the system can roughly measure the degrees of brain's relaxation and concentration, NeuroSky said. The data of brain waves can be displayed on the screen of a mobile phone by using a visualizer or can be used to control the movement of a video game character.

By concentrating on objects and entering a zen-like state, attendees at the Game Developer's Conference in managed to push, pull and even burn on-screen objects.

NeuroSky has already sold development kits to home game console makers and game software developers, and they can now develop systems that use brain waves for operations. The company says it already has more than nine corporate customers.

The company exhibited the new system to show the usefulness of mobile phone application software developed by the kit.

"We prototyped and demonstrated the system to make it possible for our customers to imagine headset-like products," the company told Tech-On. For the future, the company is considering developing not only the systems that control home game consoles and mobile phones by brain waves but also those that control home-use audio-visual equipment.

"Project Millennia" is a multi-biosensor headset, initially targeting the gaming and market research industries and NeuroSky has teamed with technology partners Ascend Visual Systems, Inc., Eye-Com Corporation and Memsic, Inc. to support their phase-one objectives. These include the integration of brainwave (EEG) translations, 2-D accelerometer motion, eye-tracking and 3-D surround sound into a single headset.

The technology will be utilized to control various aspects of an avatar's movement and demeanor.

"NeuroSky´s breakthrough technology is creating a new dimension in human and machine interaction," said Ascend CEO Chern Lee. "Built with Essential Stereo technology, we are excited to incorporate the surround sound audio module with NeuroSky´s headset to create very natural sound effects while also offering comfort and reducing ear fatigue for gamers".

"Eye-Com Corporation envisions that the jointly developed Project Millennia by Eye-Com and NeuroSky will greatly change the way end-users interact with the simulated and real worlds. The integration of optical and neural sensory data has the opportunity to open doors that we have never considered," said Eye-Com CEO Dr. William Torch. "Think about how interactive games will change by giving the end user another tool to play the game – with and without manual dexterity! Think about how the games themselves will change 2008 and the future!"

"Memsic is excited to be working with NeuroSky to incorporate our proprietary accelerometer technology into their next generation gaming headset," says Dr. Yang Zhao, CEO of Memsic, Inc. "Moving forward I believe that there are many additional areas our companies can collaborate to create other groundbreaking applications and products".

Friday, 12 September 2008

ROK Comics Goes Free To View!

ROK Comics is pleased to announce many of the comics published on the service are now Free To View on the web in an ad-supported format.

Marking a major change in the way ROK Comics promotes its comics to mobile service, almost all the comics on the web site (www.rokcomics.com) are now Free To View online.

ROK Comics, which offers comic creators and comic publishers the means to create comics in a format suitable for mobile phone presentation via WAP sites, is also making strips viewable via its web site in an ad-supported format.

The online versions of the strips can be embedded on almost any web site using players similar to many video sharing sites such as ROK’s own Newsjack.tv service or sites such as YouTube.

“We have allowed limited viewing of Pro Comics online since the service began last year,” explains Managing Editor John Freeman, “but an opportunity has arisen for us to promote the service in an ad-supported format on the web, and we’ve chosen to try that route.

“We think this is an appropriate move for ROK Comics,” added ROK Media CEO Graham Baines. “It enables full promotion of most of the comic brands we feature.”

There will be some territorial and contractual restrictions on certain strips being published under license but top independent creator strips such as David Fletcher’s humour strip Crumb, Ian Gibson’s quirky Annie Droid, Chris Reynolds’ superheroine series Moon Queen, Rich Diesslin’s Mobile Gospel, Kennedy Rose’ hilarious Anomaly, Rodrigo Ricci’s vampire tale Ligeia, John Maybrury’s SpaceBabe and Josh Alves’ Tastes Like Chicken are now viewable in full online.

“Reaction to the change has been positive,” says John. “From the outset, we knew ROK Comics was at the forefront of a new development for comics, bringing them to mobile, and the past year has been a tremendous and exciting learning curve.

“Many creators have been very positive about comics on mobile, recognising the potential of a huge market that big comics publishers are just beginning to wake up to. Like us, they see mobile comics as a way of raising awareness of their creations in a format that reaches many new readers, and the potential, ultimately, for making money from this new form.

“Many see mobile a great way to promote their characters and strips, complementing their other distribution methods.”

Creators and publisher will share in any paid-for ad revenues generated by the online presentation, just as they already share revenue on WAP subscription page views from ROK’s mobile subscriber services operated in partnership with key telecoms such as Telenor, Exact Mobile and retailers such as Claires.

Hand in hand with the mainly behind the scenes changes noted above, the ROK Comics design team have transformed the main WAP site (wap.rokcomics.com). For pricing details in your country go to www.rokcomics.com/subscribe.php.

In the UK, for a free trial of the service on your mobile, text COMIC to 83736. For a full subscription text COMIC SUB to 83736. The UK subscription price is just £3 a month.
Don't forget to bookmark the site when you follow the link you are sent!

ROK’s Fun Little Movies Now Available on MSN Mobile Video

ROK Entertainment Group's made-for-mobile comedy channel, Fun Little Movies is featured as a new MSN Mobile video channel currently available to millions of viewers on mobile phones and PC’s.

MSN Mobile offers a broad lineup of premium, branded video programming to include Fun Little Movies for people to watch on PC’s, free of charge, with the service being entirely advertising supported. Advertising will be incorporated into the mobile stream service in the near future.

In addition to Fun Little Movies and ROK Comics, ROK develops and delivers a portfolio of revenue-generating mobile applications, content, services and technologies including streamed mobile TV, push email services and data compression technologies, to mobile operators and handset manufacturers alike.

Commenting on the initiative, Laurence Alexander, Group CEO of ROK said “To be working with MSN Mobile on this highly innovative initiative is fantastic and we are delighted to continue our global push of mobile entertainment services in this way”.

Fun Little Movies are also available via newsjack.tv

Machinima Comics?

The comic, right, is a concept I've been thinking about for some time now as a way for games companies to promote their games as a ROK Comic.

The art of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, a nifty looking First Person Shooter inspired by the 2007 Shadow of Chernobyl release from Koch Media caught my eye so I decided not just to run a press release on one of the web sites I write for, SciFiPulse in my spare time, but make something more of the stunning PR imagery available.

You can view the comic on the ROK Comics site itself and, since the comic is Fee to View online, grab the embed code and put it on other web sites, just like a YouTube video.

This is my first "Machinima Comic" -- a tip of the hat to the fabulous "computer game videos" fans of many games have created, which you can see on sites such as machinima.com. Admittedly, creating a comic from computer game renders is not as clever as some of the best Machinima, such as the Halo-inspired Red versus Blue, PEDS, based on Grand Theft Auto, or stunning projects such as The Dumb Man (created within Second Life), but the beauty of a ROK Comic based on game scenes is that it is of course much easier to create than machinima!

"Machinima Comics" could easily be used by games companies to promote their wares as well as providing an avenue for comic writers to create comics without (hem ham!) the need of an artist, offering a way for them to hone their scripting skills.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is a survival FPS game for PC based on a 'what-if' scenario of the second Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. The game is created as a warning to mankind against mindless play with technologies.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
is the official prequel to the renowned S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game created by the Ukraine-based GSC Game World studio, released in 2007. The game is set in 2011 and brings forth the events to have preceded the third campaign of Strelok to the Zone centre.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
introduces an alternative look onto the events of the original game and offers the player to try himself out as a mercenary s.t.a.l.k.e.r. in search of his own path in the world of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

• Official game site: www.stalker-game.com

• More information about the game is available on the official S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/stalkerofficial

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Birmingham Gets Watchmen Fever

The Birmingham International Comics Show returns to Millennium Point in Britain’s second city for second year running in October and has a distinct Watchmen flavour to proceedings with the inclusion of co-creator Dave Gibbons to the growing guest list and a range of panels and other events, including a special ROK Comics tie-in.

One of the most anticipated movie adaptations of all time will be the 2009 release of Watchmen, the best selling graphic novel which made the Sunday Times bestseller list and was named as one of Time magazine's top 100 most influential books since 1923. Along the way, the book has gathered a whole plethora of awards for both its creators, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and despite it being 22 years since the series finished, DC Comics have printed one million copies of the collected edition in 2008. Such is the demand before the Watchmen movie is even released, the trailer for the movie is already one of the most downloaded and viewed on the internet ever.

Dave will be appearing at the show this year to discuss the book and answer questions.

Also on the guest list are Paul Cornell, writer top Marvel Comics title Captain Britain, who will be signing at the show for both days; V For Vendetta co creator David Lloyd; comics legend Michael Golden and fan favourite John Cassaday, who will be flying over from the USA for an exclusive weekend appearance at the show.

“BICS – as the show has become known among regular visitors – is much more than just a giant comic mart”, explains co-organiser and independent publisher Shane Chebsey. “The show acts as a gateway for both seasoned fans and those just developing an interest in the medium of comics, and enables fans to find out more about the creators behind all the big characters like Batman, Spiderman and Hellboy.

"Visitors can find bargains amongst the collectors items and discover the next big thing amongst the varied selection of publishers and artists exhibiting.”

As well as an exciting event schedule running all weekend long at the show, there will be competitions, portfolio reviews with top editors, signings, and exclusive book launches from some of the UK’s most respected publishers.

The winner of the ROK Comics-BICS co-organised competition, ROK And a Hard Place, will also be announced at the event with a Nokia 9500 mobile phone worth almost £500 up for grabs.

So whether you love Manga, web comics, superheroes, or you just want to find out more about the unique and powerful storytelling medium that is comics, the Birmingham International Comics Show 2008 is one event not to miss!

The show offers great value, with special weekend family tickets, which allow up to 2 adults and 3 children costing only £35 including all events and signings, and under 5’s go free. There are also the options of a single weekend ticket or a one-day ticket for only £16 and £10 respectively.

• Visit the official web site: www.thecomicsshow.co.uk
Show Times are: 10.30am – 5.30pm both days.
• For exhibiting enquiries email: shaneATthecomicsshow.co.uk or telephone: 01952 770013

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

ROK's Fun Little Movies and Monkey With A Shotgun Team-up for Worldwide Mobile Content Distribution

Fun Little Movies, a subsidiary of ROK Entertainment Group Inc. which owns ROK Comics, has announced that it has teamed up with award-winning comedy collective Monkey With A Shotgun to create an original comedy series for its global mobile distribution network.

The new series, titled The Learnin’ Place, will launch later this month with short video clips available to download and watch for free on iPhones and from Sprint and Verizon Wireless ‘Rhythm Video’ services across the US.

The Learnin’ Place is a satirical look at the proliferation of adult education classes, taken to the extreme and will be advertising-funded.

“We are thrilled to be working with creative talent like Monkey With A Shotgun,” said FLM's President and Chief Creative Officer Frank Chindamo. “Our global audience expects great content from FLM and this deal is part of our ongoing strategy to reach out and work in co-operation with the best creators in the business to deliver instantly engaging mobile content.”

FLM, based in California, specializes in the development, production and distribution of original video content for global distribution to mobile network operators. It has distribution deals with Sprint, Verizon and ATT as well as several handset makers and overseas partners, from China and Japan to Europe, Africa and South America.

Monkey With A Shotgun is a collective of writer/directors (Padraic Culham, Cher Lytle, Rod Ramsey, Debra Stolberg and Kip Stolberg) who teamed up in 2007 to prove that online comedy content could be hilarious and still maintain high quality production values. Their vision has paid off with millions of views of their comedy shorts since the collective began. Monkey With A Shotgun shorts, including the mega-hit Spanish for Your Nanny and the cult favorite Tales from the Laundry series, have been awarded featured status on the front pages of Yahoo, MySpace, Revver, SuperDeluxe and College Humor.

• More information can be found at www.monkeywithashotgun.com


Saturday, 16 August 2008

ROK Entertainment Group Inc. Reports First Quarter Results for Fiscal Year 2009

ROK Entertainment Group Inc., the global mobile entertainment group and owner of ROK Comics, has announced its financial results for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2008.

ROK has continued to develop its revenue-generating mobile product portfolio, comprising over 40 applications, from high-quality mobile TV streamed live and on-demand over mass-market mobile networks and the internet, to the storage of copy-protected video content for play on mobile devices, through mobile Voice over Internet Protocol (mVoIP) technologies, mobile social networks, data compression services, mobile conference-calling services and an advertising funded e-mail service for mobile users. It currently has corporate operations in the United Kingdom, the Peoples Republic of China, the United States and South Africa which are all active, as well as joint ventures in Russia, Brazil and Pakistan.

Since inception, ROK has concentrated on developing a broad portfolio of mobile technologies, services and applications and, as an expected result, has had limited revenue from the sale of products and services. Revenues for Q1 2009 are $1.0m (2007: $0.6m), representing an increase of 73%. Its net losses for the quarters ended June 30, 2008 and 2007 are $20.9m, of which $14.6m was a charge made during the quarter for stock-based compensation in accordance with US GAAP, and $4.5m, respectively, and its accumulated deficits as of June 30, 2008 and 2007 are $98.9m and $78.0m, respectively. ROK expects to increase its spending significantly as it continues to expand its infrastructure and its sales and marketing efforts, and continue research and development. As a consequence of this, ROK expects to raise additional financing to achieve its operating goals.

The Group experienced strong operational performance this quarter, alongside the focus on the current funding round. Notable developments include the acquisition of IPTV company Jalipo, which offers live streaming of TV content over the internet; the addition of its mobile TV service, ROK TV, and its mobile conference-calling service, ROK Talk, to Telenor’s ‘Playground’; offering the works of Spike Milligan to mobile users via www.spike-milligan.com and the Group’s subsidiary, ROK Comics, adding Roy of the Rovers to its comics for mobile download; and partnering with South African Airways, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, Vodacom and Motorola in the search for a Global Soccer Star in Tanzania, which by July 29 had conducted trials with 10,000 aspiring football players in Tanzania with thousands more lined up.

During the quarter, the Group’s subsidiary, ROK Diamonds Limited, entered into a letter of agreement with Australian-listed Mineral Commodities Ltd for the purchase of Kariba Kono diamondiferous gravel dump in Sierra Leone, which would represent the first stage in the divestment of ROK Diamonds from ROK. The Group also disposed of its interest in Rock Group plc, a manufacturer of laptop PCs and TV/PC screens.

A key agreement entered into this year and implemented this quarter is for the provision of white-label mobile TV services, including content, for America Movil, which has mobile carrier operations in 16 territories across the Americas including Mexico. This should start commercial operations in Q4.

There have been several significant developments post period-end, including the deployment of ROK’s News-on-Demand mobile video service through Ufone in Pakistan, and the launch of ROK’s Push-In-Box mobile email service via its distribution partner YuuZoo, with the service being co-branded YuuROK. Delivering regular news updates via MMS, Ufone’s Video News Service is already seeing substantial subscriber uptake whilst in just six weeks to the end of July, YuuROK had achieved almost 100,000 sign-ups. Advertising revenues are expected to grow considerably in Q3.

As a result of these acquisitions, agreements and extensions to its product and intellectual property portfolio, management believes that ROK is well-positioned for expansion over the rest of this year and beyond. The Group’s achievements were recognized when its California-based subsidiary, Fun Little Movies, won the Content Award at the prestigious Mobile Entertainment Forum in Cannes, against competition including BBH, MTV Networks International, Orange Israel and Donna Productions.

Laurence Alexander, Group CEO, commented: “This quarter has witnessed continued momentum in operational performance and we have built upon the foundations laid last year. We have again increased our revenues like-for-like, established and furthered relationships with key global players in the telecommunications sector, enhanced our product and service offerings, which was helped by our strategic acquisitions, and strengthened our intellectual property portfolio. Our achievement is reflected in the Group receiving industry recognition in winning prestigious awards, launching new services and substantially growing our subscriber base organically. As a result, ROK is well-positioned for long-term growth with strengthened foundations from which we expect to continue to rapidly expand our user base worldwide. We look forward to the future with confidence.”

Read the full press release on the ROKCorp web site

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Charlotte Corday: The Hampstead Horror Part 3

Keith page's fab adventure strip set in 1950s London continues. The delay is completely my fault -- we've been having a big promotional push for ROK Comics recently and that's cut into my new strip work. Apologies...

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Glorious Twelfth?



Joe Gordon warns that Scottish grouse could get nasty over the next four months over on the FPI blog...

Friday, 8 August 2008

Nokia Phones Must Be Won!


ROK Comics is pleased to announce we have not one but two great competitions to tell you about – open to everyone using the ROK Comics comics-to-mobile service, so pass it on!

Both offer the chance to win a top of the range Nokia 9500 phone, worth nearly £500 ($1000 US). It’s a great mobile phone with high memory capacity, a full set of applications, and versatile network connections so you can keep in stride while on the go.

The 2008 ROK Comics Humour Competition: We’re running another Humour Competition through to 1st September 2008 after last year’s proved such a success. Any humour comic created on the ROK Comics platform – Pro or Freefall and assigned as “Fun” - qualifies for entry. The winner and runners up will be published on a special page on the ROK Comics site, just as we did last year (www.rokcomics.com/winners2007.php).
• For full details of this competition, go to www.rokcomics.com/humour_competition2008.php
The ROK and a Hard Place Competition: We’re delighted to be partnering with the Birmingham International Comic Show (www.thecomicsshow.co.uk) on this, Britain’s premiere comics event, which takes place on 4-5 October. The winner of this competition will also get free entry to the event (travel and accommodation costs not included). While it’s yet to reach the giddy heights of the incredible San Diego Comic Convention, the organisers fully expect over 4000 fans to plough through the doors and they have a terrific line up of creators to see, including the legendary Michael Golden, Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo, Thor artist Olivier Coipel, V For Vendetta co-creator David Lloyd and Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons and many more.

Our ‘ROK and a Hard Place’ competition challenges comics creators to come up with a comic featuring a life changing moment. It could be your life changing moment or someone fictional... Even an animal or robot! What you come up with is up to you.

The theme was the idea of Shane Chebsey, one of the co-runners of BICS and a long-time supporter of Britain’s huge indie comics press. We think this challenge will appeal to many creators worldwide, and we're looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

"We at BICS love the way that Rok Comics is so accessible to both creators and readers,” says Shane, “and feel that working together we can help to bring the wonderful medium of comics to a wider readership. Mobile phones are now the most widely used method of communication in the world, so it seems the perfect way to present new comics to more people than ever before".

• For full details of this competition, go to www.rokcomics.com/bics_competition2008.php • For terms and conditions of both competitions go to www.rokcomics.com/competitionTerms.php

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

New Anti Doping Comic from UNESCO

kazybrid_unesco.jpgJust launched on the UNESCO Social and Human Sciences website is a new weekly comic by Mychailo Kazybrid which aims to promote the battle against doping in sport.


Published by UNESCO in partnership with EDGE G3 Ltd., The Case of the Spoilsports, published in English, Spanish and French, stars Rattus Holmes and his assistant Dr. Felis Watson and dramatizes UNESCO's anti-doping role and explores the importance of the International Convention against Doping in Sport, adopted by UNESCO's member states in 2005.


The characters come from the pen of Sheffield artist, Mychailo Kazybrid who has been involved in the cartoon and comic book industry for over 30 years, with work covering a variety of licensed characters from Shaun the Sheep, Wallace & Gromit, The Tick to Duckula, Dangermouse and the Bash St. Kids, to name but a few. He also publishes his own strip, Do-Do Man, on the comics-to-mobile service ROK Comics.

"When Ed Chatelier of EDGE G3 Ltd, provided the script, he wanted something different, and the idea was to take a new approach to something that was already well known." Mychailo explains. "So we came up with the pets of the famous having an encounter with pets of the infamous, with my partner, Sarah Sier naming the characters. When the rat and cat belonging to Holmes and Watson have to take on the evil bird of Moriarty, anything could happen!"

With the colour work produced by fellow artist Richard Thomas the story is in five chapters, published weekly.

Inspired by the famous detective stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it will trace how twin athletes react differently to the pressures of competitive sport. One gives in immediately to the pressure put on him by his trainer and teammates, while the other athlete suffers as a result of the use of performance enhancing drugs by his competitors. From one sports event to the next, the plot will lead us to the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Having also produced Rattus Holmes and the Case of the World Water Crisis, artwork is already being put together for the character's third adventure.

View the strip on the UNESCO Social and Human Sciences website

Friday, 25 July 2008

Spooky Tales...

British comic creator Malcolm Kirk has used ROK Comics to promote an appeal for creators for his new Scream-inspired project... and a fab little story it is too!



Check out the Back from the Depths web site

Weird Web Finds

Monday, 21 July 2008

Saturday, 19 July 2008

How to Draw a Cartoon Cat



Esbjorn Jorsater, who runs the Comic Art School forum on Ning, has come up with a novel use for ROK Comics -- as a way to deliver tutorials!

Esbjorn has created this simple guide to creating a cartoon cat, which can be viewed in full above. To get the embed code to put the tutorial on your own site, visit this page on ROK Comics!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Josh Alves' Saturday Morning Show!

... well well, not exactly, but ROK Comics creator Josh Alves (check out Tastes Like Chicken here) has been experimenting with animation. "One of the things I always thought would be cool, would be to have my comic animated," he enthuses on his blog devoted to another of his creations, The Araknid Kid.

"A couple weeks ago, I started playing around with Anime Studio and quickly assembled this (while I learned the ins-and-outs of the software... that’s my disclaimer):



• Check out the first eight pages of his new Araknid Kid story on Zuda!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Creepy Curtain Crawlers!

Comic creator Chris Reynolds, the groundbreaking talent behind the classic Mauretania graphic novel, has just added a new Moon Queen adventure to the comics to mobile service ROK Comics.

Titled Curtain Crawlers, the spooky tale is different to the previous run of Moon Queen stories, which feature Chris' very own take on superheroes and superheroines, for a number of reasons.

"Because of their content, the previous Moon Queen stories all use ROK Comics' 'R' rating," Chris explains. "Curtain Crawlers is the first Moon Queen story I felt could take the 'U' rating without bowdlerising it into nothingness."

The story also markes the first Moon Queen story where Chris has taken 'as read' the previous body of stories as knowledge that, really, is required of the reader - so if you want to catch up with what has gone before your best bet is to subscribe to the WAP subscription service for just £3 for 30 days, and then you can read all the earlier Moon Queen stories on your mobile.

"I wanted a to go back to a story like my prose novels that's a bit more than just one, however interesting, incident from Moon Queen's life," says Chris of the haunting 24-episode tale. "In Curtain Crawlers, I wanted to write more of a novel-length type of thing – to cover that sort of ground - even if the final story isn't actually very long.

My inspiration for this is the amount of content they fit into the 45-minute episodes of post-Eccleston Doctor Who," he reveals. "I sometimes think some of these these zip by too quickly for me to get a proper grip on them, but that's where comics have a unique advantage shared with text novels - that you can take them at your own pace and re-read at will!"

There are more developments in this story, further expanding the Moon Queen mythos. "By now, I wanted to link the stories a bit with the world and the journey of Mauretania Comics," says Chris, "from which so far Moon Queen's been at arm's length. So Garnet Ross from 'Pure Holiday' makes a cameo appearance (at quite an important moment) and the themes and the concerns of the whole story are quite Mauretania-like, connecting with 'Pure Holiday' again in using audio recordings as an element of the plot.

"I've even re-used one of the imaginary locations from 'How To Do Your Own Dentistry' for the place where 'our' Moon Queen is held while the story unfolds."

Chris was one of the first creators to give ROK Comics a try when it comes to bringing comics to mobile and has some useful tips on developing new comics for the young medium.

"I found 'mobile storytelling' simple to get into because I nearly always draw strips using a uniform panel size anyway," he says, "and my scenes are generally quite short, so the translation to 'page-by-page' format is straightforward.

"The most recent thing I've learned, in correspondence with [ROK Comics Managing Editor John Freeman], is that it's best to have very brief episodes starting with a one-panel recap using the final panel of the previous episode."

At present, Moon Queen stories can only be found on mobile and on Chris' official web site MetroPoppyfield. While there are no plans for a print edition just yet, Marc Baines at Kingly Books, who, among other titles, also pulished The Dial by Chris and Voice of the Wilberforce by Ed Pinsent, is planning a new edition of the Penguin Mauretania.

• You can view all the comics on ROK Comics on your mobile by subscribing to the WAP service for a small monthly fee - $4 in the US, £3 in the UK, other countries also served. Simply visit this page on the ROK Comics site and choose the subscribe option. When you receive a WAP push message to your mobile, connect to the site using that link using your browser, bookmark it -- and you'll be subscribed to ROK Comics Mobile for the next month.


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

BBC throws down a comics challenge

(with thanks to Robin Ashwell): The BBC online News Magazine has just published an article on newspaper comic strips -- and is challenging readers to send in their own four panel creations.

The article, published to publicise self-taught artist (and occasisonal DJ, raconteur etc) Phill Jupitus' documentary Comic Love on Radio 4 (available at Radio 4's Listen Again site), notes that for as long as there has been the concept of daily newspapers, there has been the political cartoon. And in the 20th Century there has been a natural symbiosis between the modern newspaper and one particular form of cartoon, the four-panel strip.

The article notes the work of the creators of the Daily Telegraph's Alex strip, the controversy caused by Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury - including audio interviews with the US cartoonist - and features an exclsuive strip by Phil Jupitus himself (first panel above).

Readers -- and several have already commented on the article noting their favourite strips -- are also challenged to send in their own four-panel strips:

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Shatner on Your Mobile...

William Shatner - Fonepark Preview ImageThanks to a deal between ROK Media (publishers of ROK Comics) and top Hollywood photographer Sue Schneider, you can now buy wallpapers featuring some top SF TV and film stars -- along with other celebrities -- for your mobile.

Mobile service Fonepark is offering a number of 'wallpapers' for mobile featuring the likes of William Shatner, Jeri Ryan, Robert Picardo and many others, along with TV theme ring tones and more.

More SF celebrities will be added to the service in coming months.

Fonepark is also set to add wallpapers by top comics artists already creating comics for mobile, complementing existing comics and magazine-sourced imagery from titles such as Look and Learn and The Bible Story.


Thursday, 10 July 2008

New Animation from Michael Jantze



The Norm Creator Michael Jantze is the man behind a new video outlining the way YouTube works.

"It's a project I've been working on for six months," says Michael. "It took five
scripts and hundreds of drawings to get the story and characters just right. And it's also my first "talkie" cartoon. And yes, even after a very wide casting for voices, the client went with the 'scratch tracks' ... my son and I. It's been a real fun project."

Check it out on the YouTube site

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Deadman Goodies On Sale

Chillin With Dreadman Fans can now buy merchandise from the Chillin With Dreadman Headshop on CafePress.

There's a big range of stuff on sale, from t-shirts to mugs and more.

Satirist David Fennoy recently started adding some of his hilarious jabs at US politics and celebrity to ROK Comics, which you can check out in full if you subscribe to the WAP site!

David is relatively new to the comic world. While you may not know his face, you likely know his voice from dozens of TV shows, commercials and award shows like Showtime at the Apollo, as well as some of the most popular video games on the market.

So how did he get into comics? "I spent many years as a radio personality, able to comment and joke about what was going on in the world," he told ebonyjet. "I've been off the air for a number of years now and think I finally just needed an outlet for what I see and feel about the world we live in with out having to actually write a book that no one would read.

"I have to give a nod to Barack Obama also. His victory speech after winning Iowa inspired the first Chillin With Dreadman comic that I sent out to a few friends who were foolish enough say that they liked it and that I should do more. Since then I've created almost 200 cartoons and see no end in sight."

Monday, 23 June 2008

Josh Alves Interviewed

ROK Comics creator Josh Alves has just been interviewed by web blog Parable, talking about his new story, Thistles, reveals he is trying to get his comic Tastes Like Chicken, syndicated and updates fans on his progress on DC Comics Zuda platform.

In addition to other projects he reveals he's working on the first full-size Araknid Kid story for Sugary Serials and sketch cards for the Marvel Masterpieces 2 set from Upper Deck.

Mobile Comics Market Grows

Mobile comics seem to be growing in popularity worldwide, bouyed by better screen resolutions and the growing number of comic creators experimenting with the form. Further growth in the market might come from the increasing sales success for mobile comics (ketai) in Japan, a country which has already successfully exported manga print comics worldwide.

Reuters reported today that the Japanese love of mobile comics - which is already huge - could grow further with the arrival of Apple's iphone next month. Analysts claim the device's touch-screen will make it easier and more appealing to read comics on handsets.

With the number of mobile phone subscribers close to 108 million, or 85 percent of Japan's population, carriers there are already finding e-mail, music downloads and web surfing hugely popular, and are looking for new opportunities to make money in a highly competitive market - and that includes comics.

Mobile Comics led the size of the Japanese mobile publication market to double in the last business year to 22 billion yen ($204 million), according to Internet and media research firm Impress R&D, almost three times bigger than the e-publication market for PCs.

"Until now, users had been extensively using mobile phones for email," Shinko Securities analyst Tomohiko Okugawa told Reuters. "Now that's shifting to games and comics ... This is the area that's going to be very interesting."

"The importance of content has been growing," agreed Toshitake Amamiya, general manager of telecom KDDI's content and media division. "It's crucial to pursue what we can do in this market where each adult always carries around a mobile phone and uses it as a life tool."

The Mobile Comic phenomenon is not restricted to commuters aboard trains into Tokyo or Osaka. Comics on mobile aren’t just proving popular in Japan," argues John Freeman, Managing Editor of comics-on-mobile service ROK Comics. "Translations of strips first published on ROK Comics for China have proven very popular in recent months.

"Selling comics on mobile to traditional comics readers is, surprisingly, a hard sell," he acknowledges. "It's hard to beat the beauty and versatility of the printed comic page either online or on mobile. But reaching a new, wider audience who have always read newspaper cartoons but never set foot in a comic shop is proving the key to making mobile comics a success.

"Webcomics creators argue a hardcore fan set of a couple of thousand readers is enough to turn a profit online (largely through sales of strip-related merchandise such as collections, t-shirts etc.) so the potential revenues are strong," he argues.

"What we’re finding is that mobile comics are popular even in countries where there is no traditional print-based or web comic industry, and mobile reaches far more people than even web comic creators reach via PC delivery.

ROK Comics provides both a platform for licensed comic content including Andy Capp, Roy of the Rovers and Garth, and the tools for independent comic creators to upload their own comics, promoting their characters on mobile using a comic creator tool which also enable web blog and web site publication. The sale of downloads and WAP page views are creditted to creators' accounts, with profits on sales shared equally between ROK and the creator.

"Delivering comics on mobile in the West is achievable - we’ve been doing that for over a year," says Freeman, "but creators and publishers do need to take on board the creative challenges imposed by small screen delivery."

More about creating comics for mobile on the ROK Comics web site