Phallaina, a gorgeous scrolling comic book experience

A beautiful graphic novel designed for touchscreens pushes the boundaries of comics.

Digital comic, scrolling comic, touchscreen comic, no matter what you call it. Phallaina is a gem.

Designed by Marietta Ren, a young French illustrator and animator who has worked on Ernest & Celestine, Avril et le monde truqué, Wakfu and Les terres imaginées, produced by Small Bang and the digital storytelling division of France Télévisions, Phallaina accomplishes a major feat: breaking free from the panels of comic books while inventing a new, impressively natural narrative grammar for handheld devices.

A (beautiful) black and white graphic novel, Phallaina tells the story of Audrey, a young woman prone to hallucinations during which she sees whales. Following a medical exam, a neurologist discovers she has a physeter, a rare anomaly in which subjects develop the capacity to hold their breath for a long time.

Phallaina

Phallaina

Breaking free from panels into a long tracking shot, Phallaina is a work of talent that lives up to the promise of what “digital storytelling” should be, but usually fails. Frames blend into each other seamlessly, fusing solid black & white and parallax effects, providing the depth digital comics sometimes lack. The sound design and music (both outstanding) add a lot to the immersion in subtle ways, building up tension in harmony with the graphic direction.

In Phallaina, all elements converge and combine to deliver a truly original immersive storytelling experience that feels incredibly natural. One of its strongest points is its well-mastered pace, which keeps the story flowing while leaving the user in control. The clean, well designed interface is also a winner – provided you don’t forget to switch on airplane mode – transforming a simple touchscreen into a perfect storytelling device. On top of all, the app is free, available in both English and French, for iOS & Android.

Scrolling through Phallaina will take you a little under 90 minutes. When the end credits appear, you might get the feeling you’ve sat through a unique experience, part movie and part comic book. This innovative form will likely inspire other creators to push the boundaries of mobile storytelling in creative ways.

Phallaina

Phallaina

Phallaina

Author: Marietta Ren
Production: Pierre Cattan & Alexandrine Stehelin
Technical Design: Christophe da Silva
Animation & compositing: Julien Baret
Sound design & music: Côme Jalibert
Co-published by Small Bang & France Télévisions Nouvelles Ecritures

Phallaina app on the AppStore (iPhone & iPad)
Phallaina app on Google Play (Android)

Phallaina on Facebook
Phallaina Website (France Télévisions)
Marietta Ren’s website

Phallaina
8.8
Phallaina
  • IMMERSION
    9
  • STORY
    7
  • VISUALS
    9
  • SOUND
    9
  • COMFORT / USER EXPERIENCE
    10
Categories
Experiences
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