10 Questions With…Ash Pure Creator Of The Lion & The Unicorn

Some more questions and answers – this time with Ash Pure who has created a next generation digital comic – The Lion & the Unicorn!




1.       Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)

My name is Ash Pure and I’m an alcoholic. Sorry wrong meeting. I create comics (that means words, pictures and everything in between, above beyond and around). I’m currently working on The Lion and The Unicorn, a digital comic and surrounding story world which exists exclusively on Facebook. www.Facebook.com/TheLionandTheUnicorn

2.       What drew you to digital comics?

Having worked in the digital arena (cool – like in Tron? No, like designing websites and that) since graduation in 1999  and having made comics since I was a child it was a logical step. Plus I’m always attracted to the potential of new storytelling platforms.

3.       Webcomics or digital comics?

Facebook comics!
Okay that’s just me (Plus I’m pretty sure every time you say the F word Mr. Zuckerberg gets a pound, so enough of that) the honest, albeit annoying answer is – I like good comics, comics that play to the strengths of their medium. Web comics are great for that weekly hit, but there’s no quality control – a good and bad thing, if you want a more coherent package, something deeper, and I do, digital feels like the way to go.

4.       What do you think works with digital comics?

For me they work best when they’re doing things that you can’t do on paper, and I don’t particularly mean audio-visual things, I’m more interested in the potential for playing with narrative structure, for breaking it out of a traditional linear form. I also think they have the potential for infinite exploration, getting lost in a world that can be forever expanding. Because digital’s not set in stone, like print, because it’s iterable, expandable, stories and universes can grow and evolve in new ways. That’s really exciting.

5.       Can digital comics replace print comics?

Why should they? They are both great platforms. You will never beat the immediacy of print; the tangible, beautiful object, something you can hold, touch smell – the collectors item, the pop art masterpiece. Digital comics have to play to the strengths of their medium, and that doesn’t mean some half baked animation (I want my animation full baked). They shouldn’t try to emulate animation and nor should they reproduce the printed page, there are other strengths to the digital platform which we’re just beginning to explore… Watch this space.

6.       How can print comics work with digital comics?

The print comic is real, it’s out in the world, in the comic shops and at the conventions. It’s job is then to hook you, to draw you in. The digital comic can then take you deeper, give you more. It has to be it’s own, unique experience though, it has to be able to stand alone as well as work alongside the print comic.

7.       What don’t you like about digital comics?

I really don’t like the panel view you get on most comic readers, where you slide from frame to frame. The page was composed as a whole and should be viewed as a whole, really it should be viewed as a spread. The two pages open side by side making a 3rd whole, that is as important a composition as a single panel. That’s why I completely reformatted The Lion and The Unicorn for viewing on screen.

8.       What digital comics/webcomics do you read?

I think Nawlz by Sutu is the best example of what I’m looking for in a digital comic, there’s so much rich content, so much to discover, a whole world to get lost in.There is audio and a sensitive use of animation which in this case genuinely serves to enhance the experience –  http://www.nawlz.com/

On the other hand we have Wormworld saga by Daniel Lieske – a beautifully executed, simple scroll comic. – http://wormworldsaga.com/

I thoroughly enjoy Atomic Robo by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wenga three editions of which I got for free on Comixology. It’s a traditional print format comic which I like to read on my tablet, one page at a time! http://www.atomic-robo.com

ComicDuJour.com is a  great series of daily updated web comics. http://www.comicdujour.com/

And JL8 by Yale Stewart, tales of the Justice League at Kindergarten is simply perfect. http://limbero.org/jl8

9.       Where do you see digital comics going from here?

10.   Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey – Check out his genuinely interactive hyper comics with a ‘ multi-cursal narrative structure’. Now that’s deep.  http://e-merl.com/hypercomics

Sutu The creator of Nawlz has announced the finale of Nawlz so look forward to what comes next. http://www.nawlz.com/hq/

Mark Waid is going in the right direction with his Luther PDF http://markwaid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Luther-Final.pdf

www.Honigstudios.com I’ve got a good feeling about these guys…

And The Lion and The Unicorn tablet app, which I’m currently developing, will deliver everything I’ve been saying I wanted in this interview. Watch this space.

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