Back from the Future: NYC2123

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I’m sure you’ve all noticed our absences here recently. Rick and Kevin have both noted them. What’s up, though? Well, you could look at it as a really long, really bad hangover from one really intense month (we posted about 70 articles in October).

Or you could accept this, my preferred, explanation: We’ve been in the future, looking for good stuff for you guys.

And now I’ve come back from the future with a webcomic for you guys to check out: NYC2123.

The comic, which is formatted to be read on a PSP, but is also available on the web, is a sci-fi story about a future Manhattan, in which a tsunami has hit New York and Manhattan has been totally disconnected from the rest of New York. Barge cities have sprung up, the social order has changed, body modifications are common, open source is outlawed and people have Wi-Fi network connections implanted in their brains.

There are three issues of the comics up right now, about 150 pages, which makes up the first half of the story. In it, we find a pair of people, operating on the criminal fringes of the new Manhattan, sent on a mission to steal one of the last remaining North American Gray Squirrels for a collector. Squirrels, you see, are extinct in 2123. (There’s also an interesting secondary plot about some kind of drug. One gets the feeling that these two plot threads are likely to be knitted together, William Gibson-style, towards the end of the story.)

NYC2123, written by Paco Allen and drawn by Chad Allen (in a heavily Photoshopped style that’s appealing and reminiscent of a lot of other webcomics and small indies), is worth checking out. Though it’s a little slow getting started, it’s interesting and fun and well put together. I’m looking forward to Issue 4, certainly. The whole thing gives me fond memories of Shadowrun.

Another interesting aspect of the comic is its license. The comic is posted under a Creative Commons license, meaning that the Allens are asserting much less strict copyright on it than other works are protected by (they’re clearly big open source fans, as the script makes clear). To this end, they even make the original EPS and Illustrator files for the comic available for anyone to download. This has led to the comic – one that’s not even complete yet, remember – being translated into a Dutch and Magyar already. It’s an interesting viral marketing technique and might point a way forward for some creators.

Webcomics? Cool.
PSP Comics? Cooler.
Open-source PSP/Web Comics? Very cool indeed.

And worth checking out.

(The illustration is, of course, from the comic and copyright Paco Allen)

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