In the realm beyond the weathered page.
Where artisry fuses with technical mastery...
The picture and the word and the song collide...
...and something new is born.

Turn off the lights. Unplug the phone.
Breathe deply. Clear your mind of static.
Prepare to think, and feel, and be provoked.
Welcome to our world.

http://www.brokensaints.com

This is the introduction to the graphic literature work, Broken Saints, and no better one can be made. Broken Saints combines elements of manga, American comics, music, words, and animation into something wholly original and absolutely fascinating. Through the experiences of the four protagonists, divided into 24 chapters, we are given a picture of a truly terrifying apocolypse.

The story takes place in the present day, perhaps a year or two from now. We are introduced to four people. There is Shandala, a beautiful white woman adopted by a Fijian tribe when she was found floating towards their island as a child. There is Oran, a Muslim and former jihadi who is haunted by demons from his past. There is Raimi, a cynical hacker with suspicions that the megacorp he's working for isn't all it's cracked up to be. And there is Kamimura, a Shinto priest who fights against the spirit of a former student that is trying to possess his mind.

Nothing seems to tie these four together, except for one thing. They are all beginning to have strange visions. Sometimes of each other, and sometimes of something too terrible for words. And the visions are starting to become more frequent.

This is a very brief summary, and from there the story twists and turns its way into an absolutely stunning tale. But there is more to Broken Saints than just its story. The medium through which it is told is equally important.

Imagine your favorite comic book, or manga (if you've ever read either). Now, imagine that the scenes, instead of being static, were moving and shifting as events took place. This is not anime, or cartoons of any sort. This is literally a moving comic book. The word bubbles fade in and out of the screen. The camera scans over each still image. They slide and merge into each other, and then become distinctly separate. There is no real way of describing it, best that you see it yourself.

To tie all of this together, Broken Saints also has something more. Everything is accompanied by a soundtrack, and an extremely well done one at that. So there you have it. Now, go see it for yourself, as this description is a paltry excuse for the real thing. You can find Broken Saints at (*gasp*) http://www.brokensaints.com . It is flash animated, so you'll need a plug-in if you don't already have one. And the best part, this production is entirely free. There is no promotion, no advertising, no registering. Just skillful storytelling.

As I write this, the excellent w/u above has 2 votes (one mine) and all of four softlinks. As such, I'm writing this as much to spread the word about Broken Saints as to give any kind of useful information.

BS is, at it's core, an above-average excellent graphic novel, the kind you'd buy at a comic book store for around $35. The story is of the creepy conspiracy theory type. The four disparate main characters, representing the four elements and four corners of the globe, are caught in the web of some unspeakable evil. Captivating and genuinely scary, BS manages to be socially aware, philosophically intriguing, and techno-savvy all at the same time.

But the representation of this excellent graphic novel in Flash is what truly sets it apart. Broken Saints is lushly produced with artwork, dialogue, and an original soundtrack melded seamlessly together in a manner that blurs the line between comic books and motion pictures. There is no speech per se, but sound effects couple with atmospheric music to add that missing link to the graphic novel format. Not only is BS among the best-produced flash I've seen on the web, but I'd go so far as to say that it's the best original web content I've seen for free (outside of e2 of course ;-) ).

The episodes so far (out of a planned 24):
  1. Introitus, 18 minutes
  2. Cryptic, 11 minutes
  3. Versus, 9 minutes
  4. Epiphany, 13 minutes
  5. Awakening, 11 minutes
  6. Synchronicity
    • Part 1, 8 minutes
    • Part 2, 8 minutes
    • Part 3, 10 mintues
  7. Lucid, 15 minutes
  8. Lomalgi
    • Part 1, 11 minutes
    • Part 2, 9 minutes
  9. Personas
    • Part 1, 13 minutes
    • Part 2, 12 minutes
  10. Trinity
    • Part 1, 8 minutes
    • Part 2, 13 minutes
  11. Surfacing, 15 minutes
  12. Passage
    • Part 1, 7 minutes
    • Part 2, 9 minutes
    • Part 3, 11 minutes
  13. Insertion, 15 minutes
  14. Harbingers
    • Part 1, 8 minutes
    • Part 2, 10 minutes
    • Part 3, 7 minutes
  15. Tempest
    • Part 1, 10 minutes
    • Part 2, 7 minutes
    • Part 3, 13 minutes
  16. Fallen
    • Part 1, 10 minutes
    • Part 2, 13 minutes
  17. Lazarus
    • Part 1, 8 minutes
    • Part 2, 10 minutes
  18. Forecast
    • Part 1, 18 minutes
    • Part 2, 12 minutes
    • Part 3, 10 minutes
  19. Signals
    • Part 1, 9 minutes
    • Part 2, 13 minutes
    • Part 3, 15 minutes
  20. Inside
    • Part 1, 15 minutes
    • Part 2, 9 minutes
    • Part 3, 7 minutes
    • Part 4, 8 minutes
    • Part 5, 9 minutes
  21. Convergence
    • Part 1, 10 minutes
    • Part 2, 10 minutes
    • Part 3, 10 minutes
  22. Revelation
    • Part 1, 22 minutes
    • Part 2, 10 minutes
    • Part 3, 8 minutes
  23. Ascent
    • Part 1, 8 minutes
    • Part 2, 12 minutes
    • Part 3, 10 minutes

Find them at www.brokensaints.com. After the intro, click on "story" to get to the good stuff.

I've experienced excellent download times from their servers, and they have links where you can download copies for later viewing. Chapter updates tend to come every month or so. There's still no advertisement or registration, although they've recently added a pledging section in case you want to donate money (and you should, if you can) to pay for bandwidth etc. These folks are a shining example of artistic integrity, and they deserve your captivated attention.

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