Can anyone really create a comic?

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Can anyone really create a comic?

Ever since I was a child I had the urge to draw. Stick figures, family members, cartoon characters, etc., were all a part of my rather vivid child-like imagination.

Reading comic books was my vice in my younger years and, likewise, being able to draw one. Being able to simply draw characters and environments was one thing, but being able to put them together in a convincing story board is quite another.

Slowly, I began to realize that my future wasn't in comic book creation, but if I had a software application like Comic Book Creator, by Planetwide Media, I might have been convinced otherwise.

Comic Book Creator (CBC) is an interactive entertainment software application that puts PC users in the artist's chair. It allows them to easily import original authentic digital images from just about any source and create a personalized comic book and comic strips.

The Graphic User Interface (GUI) takes a bit of getting used to since it's not set up similar to your Photoshop interface or even a flash CS3 interface. But once you get the hang of it, creating your own comic book with your own characters (or in my case, stick figures) becomes a breeze.

You can drop in your favorite characters, backgrounds and clip art to make your own unique story. For example, you just came back from a great vacation and you've got tons of pictures that you'd like very much to share with your family and friends. Now you could use the standard Web solutions like Yahoo photo or Ringo, but if you had CBC you could import those images, drop in some speech bubbles, put up some story boards and then you can export the whole thing as Flash and — boom — you've got an animated adventure told in a story format, using your vacation pictures.

It is really that simple.

Featuring over 100-plus comic book style templates, you can create your comic book adventure even easier. Making those story boards/panels isn't exactly an easy task but with the CBC you can choose from those templates mentioned above with the option to download more as they become available.

Now what would be a bit sweeter is if CBC came with certain tools that would allow you to create your own panel layouts, add them to a wiki of some sort that you could access, along with the predefined templates. But perhaps that's a bit of a stretch.

One of the most satisfying features of Comic Book Creator is the ability to take screen grabs of in-game footage. There's nothing sweeter than taking a screen of you beating a boss, doing a brilliant move, or reaching a hidden area in a game and put into a comic book-style memoir.

Now if you're a parent or guardian, you're probably wondering what good can come from an application like this outside of what's been already mentioned. From an education standpoint, teachers can use CBC to create visual aids for whatever subject they are teaching, such as math, science, reading, history and art. A teacher can put together a creative lesson plan using the tools, draggable features, clip art, authentic digital images and word bubbles to make getting a concept through to their students in a creative fashion which usually results in a rather entertaining learning experience.

Comic Book Creator doesn't require too much juice from your PC. In fact you can run it on Windows 2000 or higher on a Pentium 4 processor with as little as 128 MB of RAM. You will need a CD ROM and at least 1 gig free of hard drive space to install and run the app.

For around $30, one can purchase an application like this and use it for many purposes, on a system that doesn't need to be state of the art. If you're into this kind of thing, Comic Book Creator is an application worthy of purchase.