Created by Australian illustrator and interactive designer Sutu and first launched in late 2008, the interactive cyberpunk adventure series broke new ground exploring how the Internet can provide immersive story experiences. â€˜Season 1: Distortion Reigns Supreme,â€™ consisting of 14 episodes/issues delivered throughout 2008-2009 (providing roughly 2 hours of reading/viewing), resulted in an FWA award and praise from thousands of viewers around the world. The highly anticipated Nawlz iPad app was released in September 2011 and has already been regarded as a â€˜Revolutionary Interactive Comicâ€™.
Selected Press Coverage
â€œMix funky beats, graffiti inspired cyberpunk artwork, drugs and a sci-fi story, drop it into an interactive interface, and you have NAWLZ. Blowing the doors off of what an online comic should be â€¦â€- Sublevel7
â€œNawlz is about the spectacle. And so far, itâ€™s unmatchable.â€ â€“ ComixTalk, El Santo
â€œWeird, dissonant, and relentlessly inventive.â€ â€“ Scott McCloud
â€œRevolutionary Interactive Comic.â€ â€“ Jawbone.TV
The experimental nature of its delivery format is one of the things that makes Nawlz most unique, with traditional comic panels replaced by animated frames that play out on a panoramic, interactive digital canvas.
Unlike most digital comics that mimic the static panels and flippable pages of their offline brethren, each episode of Nawlz is a horizontal digital scroll driven by Sutuâ€™s custom built framework that allows viewers to dictate the pace, swiping horizontally from right to left to progress the storyâ€¦ and tapping and tilting the iPad to access bonus animation. To truly appreciate the experience, give yourself an hour or two with the first season. Plop yourself in front of an iPad, jack your headphones and explore. Itâ€™s an entirely new way of engaging with a comic.
Nawlz depicts a future world of youth culture where technology is so advanced that reality is augmented with holographic overlays and multi-sensory interactive experiences. The title of the comic comes from the name of the city in which it takes place, the sprawling yet claustrophobic metropolis called Nawlz.
The story follows Harley Chambers, a young cyber-graffiti artist trying to â€˜castâ€™ his â€™sleeper realâ€™ to cover the entire city. (A â€˜realâ€™ is a sort of technological hallucination, like a mind broadcast, creating a virtual environment that overlays reality, available for all to experience. Anyone can have a Real and they can customize and design it to look any way they want. The process of projecting thoughts onto a Real is known as casting.) Harleyâ€™s Real is based on a recurring dream he had when he was a kid, and the visual style is something heâ€™s been perfecting for years, over which time he has managed to coverÂ most of Nawlz with it. The story turns when he encounters a bizarre, tentacled Real that resembles his own work, setting him on a path to discover the powerful forces behind the hijacking of his vision. Heâ€™s harassed by increasingly bizarre Reals as he tries to unravel the mystery, including a puffer fish, a headless corpse, and, most ominously, and a giant octopus beast whose tentacles are wrapped about the entire city. As the story progresses, Harley pushes the limits of mind control with experimental software, hallucinogenic drugs and surgical upgrades applied directly to his brain, all of which threaten to permanently dissolve the boundaries between his reality and his imagination.