This graphic novel uses AR to blur the lines between cartoon, comic and video game

Cyberpunk comic Neon Wasteland uses AR to bring its panels to life.

Do you like cyberpunk? Comics? AR? If you've answered yes to all three then you'll be interested to learn of Neon Wasteland, the latest project from multimedia artist Rob Shields.

Billed as 'a new kind of comic book,' Neon Wasteland uses augmented reality to bring each of its panels to life via the accompanying app. Designed from the ground up to be an immersive experience that rewards exploration with 'moments of choice' that allow the reader to affect the outcome, as well as the story as a whole. 

On this Choose Your Own Adventure-ride, they'll even be able to bring dead characters back to life by finding clues hidden within the pages of the book - although whether that means you've got cyberpunk zombies on your hand isn't entirely clear yet.

"Bridging the gap between digital and physical reality is a recurring theme for the comic," says Rob on the project. “I think people are going to be amazed when they open up this comic book and see how it comes to life with your cell phone or tablet.

"It's such an innovative concept which I believe will reach a range of people from comic book lovers, to video game fans, and those who are simply interested in virtual and augmented reality and the incredible technology which has grown tremendously over the years."

Neon Wasteland is also forward thinking in its range of characters, with a diverse cast mostly made up of female protagonists.

“It’s a psychedelic-coloured world where gender and race are fluid, and the characters reflect more of the diverse audience of comic fans," Rob explains. "It empowers the underdog and gives a voice to those who are going unheard. We're living in a time of protest, dissent and standing up for what you believe in, and that's exactly what the protagonists are doing."

Rob blended classic American and Japanese cyberpunk influences on the project, with the end goal of his month-long Kickstarter campaign being to publish the first 44-page issue of the comic, which will ultimately be the first of an eight-chapter graphic novel.

Contributors to the campaign can choose from a range of goodies including art prints, shirts, buttons and stickers, all of which can be animated through the Neon Wasteland app. Check out the prints in action below, and see more on the comic's Kickstarter page.

Read next: Adobe's Project Aero & print legends Dan Mumford and Supermundane on making the leap from 2D to AR

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