The iPad, for me, is a web browser, a productivity tool, and a way to consume visual media. When I was tasked with checking out “Kurt Cobain: The Graphic Novel,” I was skeptical as to how it would fit into my typical iPad use – but I’m glad I gave it a try.
Downloading the app (available here) was a fairly painless process, although it does take a little time, even over wifi, due to the applications size. The App Store requests the user to be 17+ in order to download, as the novel does contain some “R” rated (violence, drug use, sex, depicted suicide) content. The $5.99 price tag was also relatively easy enough to swallow, especially for a Nirvana fan or comic book enthusiast. The story takes you through the life, fame, and death of Cobain, in a unique and extremely visual 84 pages.
Overview: At first launch of the novel, you’re greeted with a comic book illustration of Cobain, with angel wings, on his knees crying, which very quickly establishes that this is the digital version of “Godspeed” – the print version of the Kurt Cobain graphic novel. The home screen is optimized for both landscape and portrait viewing modes, but that doesn’t extend to the pages of the novel. From the home screen, you can jump right into the comic, although there are a few other options (intro, help, about, etc). There is also a light guitar riff that plays on the menu. Enjoy it, because it’s the only sound included in the app. Clicking “enter” springs the comic open, and you’re immediately swept into the comic’s artwork by Flameboy.
To me, this feels like a real comic book, and, in my opinion, it is a truly brilliant use of the iPad’s screen. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and this graphic novel holds true to that. The art work is dark, detailed, and tell most of the story by it’s self. A simple double tap of the screen on any of the tiles will bring it full screen, and from there, users can swipe left or right to read it frame by frame. This feature makes the digital version stand out over the print version and really improves the experience as a reader.
Verdict: Reading the novel, to me, almost felt like I was watching it on TV. I found myself getting somewhat lost in my own imagination as I slid from one image to the next. A soundtrackto the novel would have made it truly interactive, although the experience can be enhanced further by loading your iPad music library up with a handful of Nirvana tracks, and letting the music help set the mood of the graphic novel.
Comics and graphic novels are definitely a market that can utilize the iPad as a tool to further their reach, and “Kurt Cobain: The Graphic Novel” is a prime example. If you’re into Nirvana/Kurt Cobain, or know someone who would really enjoy a digital comic, I recommend you check it out in the App Store… it’s worth it!
Rating: I would say that “Kurt Cobain: The Graphic Novel” is a 3.5 out of 5.
- Illustration Quality
- Frame by frame content viewing
- Like reading a ink and paper comic book
- Lack of audio content
- Lack of true landscape version