Comic books and mobile phone novels

In this era of video and sound, are young people reading? Some are, but possibly not what you might expect. According to cartoonist and comics historian, Fawad Siddiqui, on the September 29th WBUR On Point radio program, in the Muslim world an increasing number of people are reading comics and “some rich comics cultures [are] developing.” http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/09/29/habibi

In Japan, since at least 2003, (some claim as early as the mid 1990’s) the keitai short stories http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_phone_novel delivered by mobile phone have been very popular, and in 2007 five out of ten of the most popular novels in Japan (not necessarily the best) were written and delivered by mobile phone. There is a fast-growing youth novel industry in South Africa that delivers novels by mobile phone. In the U.K. there is now a “micro-novel” written and delivered on a mobile phone whose purpose is to encourage teenagers to read. Launched by a prominent UK Rapper, Chipmunk, and a well-known writer, Terry Deary (author of Horrible Histories), the micro-novel is called ‘The Perfect Poison Pills Plot’ http://www.music-news.com/shownews.asp?H=Chipmunk-encourages-literacy-with-new-micro-novel&nItemID=44393

Some cell phone novels are interactive. “What makes the cell phone novel interactive is the instant communication between author and reader. Readers can leave comments which the author can respond to. If the author notices less people reading as the story progresses, he can immediately take action to change the plot. Only time will tell if this publishing phenomenon is just a fad or a 21st century obsession that’s here to stay.” http://vicki-f-chavis.suite101.com/cell-phone-novels-for-a-new-age-a152954

In the U.S., which has taken several years to catch up to Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and European countries that have relied on text messaging, cell phone novels arrived late, in 2009. http://vicki-f-chavis.suite101.com/cell-phone-novels-for-a-new-age-a152954

If you want to try your hand at writing and self-publishing a cell phone novel, go to http://www.textnovel.com/home.php

One way you (or your students) can develop a comic short story is by using the free software available from http://makebeliefcomix.com

If you want to learn more about the cell phone novel phenomenon, go to http://www.textnovel.com/story/The-Cell-Phone-Novel-Manual:-About-Cell-Phone-Novels,-What-They-Are-and-more/5579/

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