Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Here is a blog post "guest written" by Ashley J. Perna...  this is also posted on her blog, but she allowed me to repost it here, since we rarely update our own blog! 



No? Don't worry - you will be.

Dark Moon is a motion book that needs to get more press. It was created by musician Tom Freeman and features art by Benedick Bana. Freeman uses every aspect of this innovative medium to his advantage, combining subtle animation, a compelling story, and a haunting soundtrack to create a unique and unsettling world moon. The idea for Dark Moon came from a desire to tell a more epic story that a music video would allow.

"At the same time I was wanting to do this, I was reading a lot about quantum physics, and trying to wrap my head around these concepts that were shooting around, and so the idea of a story that begins with the world's first successful human teleportation just kind of happened. Then it turned out that a comic, and finally a motion comic, would be the best to tell this story. It turns out the medium was perfect for us and we've really enjoyed the response!"

This is definitely the type of story that suits the  medium well, with the music, motion, and plot well balanced. The music composed by Freeman works perfectly with Bana's artwork to capture the creepy tone of the story. The primarily grey and black landscape is depicted in a blurry, dreamy way with vibrant shades of red, blue, and green only used sparingly to accent or emphasize. Using a motion comic to tell the story allows the use of a variety of visual elements, such as zooming in or flashing colours, that would not otherwise be available. Rather than distract or detract from the overall story, these elements work with the story.

The music in particular is an interesting aspect of Dark Moon. There are a few creators who will post a playlist to go along with their most recent work. This takes it one step further.

I had a vision of someone holding a glossy print version of a comic, while listening to the music play in their house or room, and knowing that if done right, they would feel totally immersed in the world we had created.

While new to comics, Freeman is a skilled musician as well as a producer and engineer. He released an album in 2010 called iMatik which received world-wide recognition. In addition, he was the mastering engineer for Totally Insane's latest album. For Dark Moon he drew inspiration from other sci-fi/horror works.

"I've always been drawn to movie soundtracks, especially in the Sci-Fi/Horror genre. For example, John Carpenter in movies like The Thing, Vangelis' music from Blade Runner, as well as Angelo Badalamenti's score for Twin Peaks, are just a few examples of how music can transform and imbue depth and a sense of meaning to a story."

Dark Moon doesn't just sound and look good, it is good. The story itself is suspenseful and has an interesting premise. In the first issue we are introduced to a group of survivors who find themselves on a mysterious moon after teleporting away from a massive disaster. As they explore their new environment, they encounter the moon's nightmare-inducing inhabitants. These truly terrifying creatures were there result of a collaboration between Freeman and Bana.

While looking over my artist's work, I saw a creature that had the basic frame I was looking for. From there I spent quite a bit of time documenting some of the other attributes, and after a couple of iterations, we had the perfect creature!

Perfect indeed. Thanks for those nightmares, guys!

"The alien sound is mostly comprised of an insect-like 'scuttling' sound that I designed, then I added a few other layers. The sound design was somewhat inspired by the movies Bubba Hotep and Slither, not that I tried to recreate the exact sounds, but I had a feeling of visceral slimy insectlike-ness from movies like that while making the sounds."

Freeman has made both issues free for viewing at his DeviantArt page. His reason for not charging his fans:

"I really wanted to share this story, and as an artist in today's age, it is extremely hard to get people to stop and capture their attention for even a minute. We are completely indie and funded by myself, and don't have a budget to be able to reach a lot of people, so I don't want to turn off anyone by charging money to enjoy our comic- I wanted everyone to be able to experience it!"

"The long term hope is that people fall in love with the comic so much, that they buy the soundtracks, or our collectors' edition print version, or other products on our webstore shop, and we have to charge or crowd fund at some point to keep the comic moving forward, but for now, I am not worried about making money, I mainly want people to have a great time reading our comic!"

The soundtrack, collectors' edition, and related products are available for purchase through their website, and priced quite modestly.

The second issue was released on June 18, making now a great time to give it a read.