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Warren Ellis Releases "SVK", Gives New Way To Read Comics

The English king of commentary has come out with a new project: one that's more than meets the eye.

While Warren Ellis is famous for his sci-fi works, like Transmetropolitan and Doktor Sleepless, he's traditionally kept the science inside the pages of the book. However, with his new one-shot comic called SVK, he's looking to introduce a new method of reading comics that's going to both get us thinking in a new direction and give us a great look inside the mind of its hero, Thomas Woodwind.

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You see, Woodwind is part of a detective story that's printed on a page with three colours: black, blue and a special UV ink. The text printed in the UV ink will be invisible to the reader unless it is viewed with a special "SVK object," which is really a small UV LED light. From the examples we've seen, the reader can actually read the thoughts of characters in the book by shining the light on their thought bubbles.

While this might seem like a gimmick, think about this for a second: since we have control over when we see the characters' thoughts, won't it change the way we perceive them? I mean, a kindly old man on the subway could be thinking of some.... not-so-savoury things, but we'd never know it unless we shined the light and saw for ourselves.

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This mirrors our own real-life ability to not see into people's heads, and allows us to be put into Woodwind's shoes. We have an abnormal amount of power as the reader: it's like we have telepathy, even in a figurative sense.

The issue is drawn by 2000AD artist Matt "D'Israeli" Booker and is printed by a London-based design studio called BERG; at press time, all of the issues in SVK's first run have been sold out for the price of ten GBP, but a second run is planned.

The SVK team is handling all aspects of the publication, from printing to assembly to delivery, making this both an experiment in comics, and publishing: who knows? If SVK is a success, we could be witnessing a renaissance in both creator-owned projects and the relationship they have with their publishers.

I, for one, am watching with interest.


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