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The Airship

Hand-pulled letterpress meets augmented reality in a graphic novel

by James Thorne in Culture on 30 October 2012

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Bridging futurist design, letterpress technique and augmented reality, "The Airship" is a new graphic novel from Todd Thyberg. The writer, illustrator and publisher is also the founder of Angel Bomb Design + Letterpress, and has put his array of talents to the test in this work. Twenty-two photopolymer plates were used to pull nearly 10,000 impressions in all, with Thyberg walking ten miles beside his 90-year-old machine throughout the process. The resultant tricolor prints were then assembled in short runs of both hardbound and chapbook editions.

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The story of "The Airship" centers around a father and his scientist son in a dystopian setting. The son has innovated a way to travel through space in time, disappearing along with an entire airship in an event that is being covered up by the government. The 12-page story arc is beefed up by QR codes that lead to multimedia vignettes. From added schematics of the airship to video logs, the digital aspect exploits the intersection of publishing origins and its current state.

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"The Airship" is the first in a series of three graphic novels that have been planned by Thyberg following a common storyline. To bring the book to print, Thyberg relied on the help of the Jerome Foundation Book Arts Fellowship as well as Azul 7, who assisted with the website, QR Codes and digital content.

The hardback edition ($350) and pamphlet ($150) can be purchased from the Angel Bomb online store.

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