When it first came out, Tron was a groundbreaking movie because of its use of computer animation, which up till then had only been seen in limited doses. Thirty years later, an online graphic novel based on the movie, Tron: Legacy, is breaking new ground again by using HTML5 to create a webcomic that is much more dynamic than your standard still-pictures-in-a-browser format.
This is not some cheesy “motion comic” where Hulk’s arm moves up and down while the rest of the picture stays static. Check out the demo video: The motion is not figures on a background but the backgrounds themselves, which rotate to give the reader the feeling of moving through deep space. (If you’re the type of person who gets seasick at iMAX movies, this may not be the comic for you.) Oddly, the fight scenes are more static than the setup, because those scenes don’t have the same three-dimensional motion effect. The plot itself seems to be rather elemental, and you don’t have to have seen the movie to follow the comic—everything is laid out for the reader.
The demo video is a bit of an ad for Internet Explorer 9, which is the browser this graphic novel was developed for. I was able to view it fine in Safari on my Mac, although it was a bit jerky. You scroll through the comic by dragging, so it’s not quite as smooth an experience as in the demo, and it’s a bit disorienting because there are no indicators to tell you how long the comic is or how far along you are. Still, it’s nicely done and worth looking at for the novelty value, if nothing else. Sort of like Tron itself was, back in the day.