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COMIC BOOK CREATOR 2.0/MANGA CREATOR
Available from Planetwide Games

Have stories to tell, but lack even the slightest artistic ability? Always wanted a way to take your personal pictures and make a fumetti-style book out of them? Want to get a taste of what your favorite comics creators are going through when they letter a page or put together a cover? Then these two products are something you definitely might enjoy.

COMIC BOOK CREATOR 2.0 offers a number of ways for you to put a page together. You can select a template (choosing number of panels and layout) and then choose from a variety of supplied clip art or your own photos in order to fill the panels. Then, you pull up a menu of empty dialogue balloons or caption boxes and place them in the appropriate spots on the page. From there, you also have options to use tools to enhance the panels, or add sound effects, or whatever else you like. It’s pretty cool, and fun to play with. I’m just a little way into figuring out everything the program can do, but even if I don’t get much further, I’d call myself satisfied with it.

MANGA CREATOR works in similar fashion (and is co-authored with TokyoPop), but adds some different features. It has a different suite of balloons and captions, for one, and the art supplied comes directly from the publisher’s library of titles. When you have both softwares on your computer, they’re kind enough to work together, so COMIC BOOK CREATOR actually gives me the option to use the TokyoPop items, including the tools that give you the ability to add stuff like speed lines.

I’ve never used anything quite like these programs, but they’ve been easy to pick up on so far. The interfaces are very intuitive, and when you complete a comic, you can output it in either picture or PDF format. That means you might just start seeing some new comics on this site at some point.

Marc Mason