Motion comics are the much-maligned offspring of comics and flash cartoons, but can Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright make the medium compelling? He's trying it out with The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator, a story about a man who seems to overcome his writers' block, but doesn't know how it happened.
Brandon Generator is written by Wright, illustrated by artist Tommy Lee Edwards, and narrated by The Might Boosh's Julian Barratt. The first episode follows the titular Brandon, who spends his days and nights in front of his laptop, fighting a losing battle against writer's block, caffeine addiction, and crippling loneliness. One night, Brandon passes out and wakes to discover story ideas waiting on his computer, his voice recorder, and his legal pad. The only problem? He doesn't remember coming up with the idea.
The episode, while slow, has plenty of charms (especially when we get to the band of roving prehistoric thesauri), and it suggests that motion comics work better when they're specifically designed for that format. But it's hard to tell exactly what Wright has planned going forward. There's an interactive component to Brandon Generator. Once you've watched the episode the episode, you can write prose on Brandon's computer and leave sketches on his notepad, but to what end? Does Wright plan on incorporating these ideas into future episodes? Will we see Edwards bring our crowdsourced ideas to quasi-animated life? Also, in an odd bit of synergy, it seems that some of the comic's features will be available only to folks using Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9. I suppose that's one way to market your new browser.
My biggest issue with Brandon Generator, though, is the lack of a scroll button. I'd like to have at least as much control over my motion comic viewing experience as I do with my still comics.