Digital Eye Witness


Here’s a cool press release from Robert Luedke’s Head Press Publishing. I met the creator at Comic-Con last year as he had his Eye Witness books on display. They’ve been getting lots of attention, such as this recent article/interview at the Houston Chronicle. Now, he’s taking his wares to the digital domain.
Beginning on Sunday May 10th, Head Press Publishing went live with their first “digital only” offering…a fully remastered and revised edition of the first book in the award-winning Eye Witness series, A Fictional Tale of Absolute Truth.
Eye Witness“This is our first attempt at creating something specifically for digital distribution,” stated series creator, Robert Luedke.  “The original book in the series was very experimental, production wise, and I was dying to go back and remaster the colors and revise certain parts of the narrative while cleaning up the editorial missteps.” 
Initially, the revised edition of Eye Witness Book One will exclusively be available through the Head Press Publishing website, but HPP is currently in negotiations to make it available through other select comic and Christian venues in the future.
“I think this is a very important step in making Eye Witness available to more people, both inside and outside of North America,” according to Luedke.  Eye Witness has had some wonderful reviews by people in other parts of the world, but according the emails we’d received that created frustration for many potential fans because the books just weren’t available to them.  Now virtually anyone with a computer and PDF viewer, can purchase and read the first book at a very reasonable price.
peter-john watching

Luedke created the Eye Witness series, as a way to share the spiritual, historical and dramatic nature of the Bible, in a way that is both attractive and entertaining…especially to teen and young adult readers, who may not attend church or read the Bible, but love reading comics, manga and graphic novels.  His unique combination of a Biblical adaptation with a modern day action-thriller has proven successful not only in comic outlets, but also with mainstream and Christian booksellers.

To date this unique series has won several books awards, including:  The 2008 Best Book Awards, (sponsored by;  the 2007Hollywood Book Festival (in the category of comics/graphic novels); and a silver medal at the 2007 Independent Publisher Awards (in the category of Dramatic Graphic Novels).  In addition the series has been a two time finalist in FOREWORD MAGAZINE’S Book of the Year Awards, in 2007 & 2009. 

 The fourth and final book in the Eye Witness tetralogy, (Eye Witness:Unknown God), is currently in production and tentatively scheduled for a summer 2010 release. 

The Unknown #1 Review

The Unknown #1 CvrNot that Mark Waid needs to prove himself anymore. Long ago he elevated himself into superstar status but since leaving The Big Two, and taking up residency with BOOM! Studios, the writer has varied his output considerably. Moving away from his mastery of superheroes (though he still has something to say on the topic, as can be seen in the astonishing Irredeemable), he seems to be embracing every genre he can get his hands on, from crime in Potter’s Field, to kid-friendly adventure in The Incredibles and now to the mysteries of science in his latest series.

The Unkown is a 4 ish mini that follows Catherine Allingham. Apparently she’s a very smart woman – the world’s smartest person in fact, though we are only given hints as to why. The take charge private eye only has 6 months to live, thanks to an incurable, and growing, brain tumour. She seems very confident and as focused as a laser beam, assumedly because of her limited time left on this earth, but perhaps she was like that before her death sentence.

The first few pages aren’t a flattering start. They’re staged quite awkwardly, with page transitions that need to be re-read to get a sense of time. Catherine wakes up to a hallucination (that occurs again, twice) of a creepy Frankenstein lookalike, before making it disappear thanks to some pills. She’s then called into a murder scene and deduces the culprit almost immediately before heading home. On the way she meets James Doyle, a perceptive bouncer. Before Doyle knows it, he’s teaming up with the famous detective and on a plane with her to Vienna. It is there that the new partners find twin scientists working on a huge machine. The Faderbauer brothers claim they are victims of the world’s first quantum crime, while Catherine discovers what their machine is capable of measuring.

This left me unimpressed. It’s a great premise, to be sure. The world’s best investigator chasing down the world’s last mystery – life after death. Well, this mission isn’t stated in this story, but that’s what the promos tell us. Presumably, Catherine is on a quest to grasp what has eluded mankind since it first discovered death – what happens next. Motivated by the tumour that’s robbing her remaining days, she’s in a hurry. That makes sense and is intriguing. The problem here is that we not given any real glimpse into who Catherine is. Hopefully that will come in future issues, but I found myself wanting to know more about Doyle than her. The way Waid handles Catherine kind of reminded me of how some writers handle Batman. To prove his proficiency, they make him always appear to be the smartest person in the room. He easily solves dilemmas and dashes to the next one, leaving those in his wake appear helpless. Catherine is not so much a character as a force of nature, merely a blur of multi-tasking self-reliance. Now that can work, but there’s no anchor to her humanity. She’s not aggressive, or rude or cocky, which in the hands of a lesser writer she easily could have been. It’s just that there’s no awareness of her as a real person.

Minck Oosterveer’s art is great though. Similar to John Paul Leon, with his use of blacks and muted textures, he can draw pretty much anything. It all looks real and never awkward. Felipe Martin’s colouring is perhaps too restrained however, though it does add a noir feel with the use of shadows and silhouettes.

I’d be a foolish man to give up on Waid. He knows what he’s doing and BOOM! has had a superb recent history with strong female characters, such as with Hexed. Hopefully Catherine Allingham can be one more, but it’s not immediately obvious just yet.