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Highland role in John's talking comics

By Margaret Chrystall

ROK Comics' Team M.O.B.I.L.E in action.
ROK Comics' Team M.O.B.I.L.E in action.

THERE’S worrying news for the Highlands – robots are about to run amok here, if we’re to believe the taster for the new adventure from teen agents comic Team M.O.B.I.L.E

The digital series from ROK Comics - created by ROK founder Jonathan Kendrick - comes to you with the knowledge of John Freeman, a man who knows his comics inside out after a career doing everything from writing and editing to moving comics on into the digital future.

Regular readers of the series – where teenage agents have their minds temporarily merged with everyone from sports stars to geniuses to help them go about saving the world – might be interested to note that Team M.O.B.I.L.E HQ is based somewhere in the Highlands.

"I’ve written the first couple of books. And we’ve featured some Cairngorm reindeer in the second book – my wife is Cairngorm reindeer mad," John laughed.

John Freeman
John Freeman

But fully scripting an audio soundtrack for the next Team M.O.B.I.L.E adventure is top of John’s agenda at the moment.

"My day job is working for ROK Comics and though there are a lot of people – both large companies and small – pushing comics out digitally, we’ll be releasing comics with audio soundtrack.

"But not just sounds. Here, you will be able to not just read but hear the dialogue.

"You don’t have to read the balloons – you can listen to them instead.

"It’s due out next month, it will be a 22-page format, like a regular comic. People can watch it on different platforms – mobiles as well – but the initial roll-out will be on iPad.

"The first two books of Team M.O.B.I.L.E have been drawn and coloured and for another book we haven’t announced yet, we’re just finishing the audio soundtrack. There are two more books in progress.

"But it’s early days on that.

"A local school’s drama students do the teenage voices. The others have been provided by a studio in New York, so it’s a multinational operation.

"And it’s a bit of a learning curve because no-one has done a fully professionally-produced soundtrack.

"We’re also hoping to do the series in print."

The digital revolution has meant the supposedly declining comics market now has a huge potential global audience.

John said: "Royal Mail ‘s produced a series of stamps based on comics and produced some interesting figures. The Beano has 38,000 readers a week. But when DC Thompson put it onto digital, they had 72,000 downloads within a week of release.

"A lot of people think the comic industry is dying. But, like any industry, it has always evolved and never more so.

"There are thousands of different web comics on the internet, they can reach people globally – and some are doing quite well and making money out of it!"

John seems confident about the future of comics.

"You hedge your bets and have a lot of projects on the go," he laughed. "But I don’t think comics are going away any time soon!"

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