Literature finds a new online home

The Los Angeles Times Festival of books this weekend was a cornucopia for young people interested in beginning a career in the publication of literature. During a conversation at the Salvatori Computer Science Center on Sunday afternoon, several dozens of festival-goers learned about the world of publishing as “The Technological Frontier.” Los Angeles Times contributor Tom Lutz moderated a discussion between publishers of new media endeavors including Brian Haberlin, whose work has been immortalized in the Smithsonian’s permanent art collection.

Anomaly, an inter-media graphic novel created by Haberlin, wowed the audience with its innovative use of technology to enhance a work of literature. Haberlin spent four years designing the 370-page long graphic novel as writer and lead artist, but it is the work’s technological features that distinguish Anomaly from anything comic book enthusiasts are used to. Haberlin’s team designed a mobile app to work in conjunction with the print edition of the graphic novel that, when one points his or her iPhone or iPad camera at the pages of the book, produces 3D images of different characters or creatures from the story to grow out of the pages and interact with the reader.

The entire graphic novel can also be read as a freestanding app (no print edition required), which provides benefits of its own. Readers may turn the pages at their own speed, taking the time to examine the artwork, or activate special “touchpoints” that bring up additional information about characters, planets, creatures, spaceships etc. from the storyline.

Anomoly proves that, though consumption of literature is certainly moving into a digital realm, readers and creators alike will thoroughly enjoy literature’s new online home. As technology changes, more companies will create even more intriguing forms of cross-platform media, and the demand for creative positions in this field will rise.