Black-and-white biography comics are one of our favorite fake comic "genres," and few subjects are as worthy of one as Johnny Cash. The late musician has broken ground in a number of mediums, notably music, of course, and film in the form of the hugely acclaimed Walk the Line. Posthumously, Cash has inspired a pretty cool comic book innovation with Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness, a graphic novel by Reinhard Kleist that, on the iPad (and iPhone), integrates your existing Johnny Cash music library to enhance the story.Originally published in print by Abrams ComicArts, I See a Darkness is available on the iPhone in three installments of $1.99 each and on the iPad as a complete graphic novel for $5.00 in Apple's App Store. The reader functionality is similar to that of most of the comic book apps you're already familiar with, but I See a Darkness has a "play" option that allows you to sit back and watch the book reveal itself to you in a pan-and-scan style devised by the creators. Most interestingly, the app searches your device for the appropriate Johnny Cash music to fit the portion you're reading and syncs it up appropriately. If you don't have those songs, you're given a prompt to visit the iTunes store and buy them, if you so desire.

You can check out a demo of the iPhone version of Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness below:


Certainly, such a scheme as this is not appropriate for most comic books, but there are some titles like Phonogram and Tori Amos' Comic Book Tattoo where developers and creators could avail themselves of a graphic-music interactivity. This kind of multimedia deployment is the sort of simple ingenuity that will probably come to define digital comics as the market expands. Crucially, this digital Johnny Cash comic book demonstrates that you don't need a dreadfully animated "motion comic" to supplement the traditional reading experience.

[Via Gizmodo]