The screenwriters of stealth video game Hitman: Absolution (Square Enix), Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson, team up with Simon Bisley (Biz) to tell a dark, supernatural story in a stand-alone app available on Android devices Friday 2/28. You are already able to buy the comic on iOS. Here’s all about 13 Coins on 13th Dimension! 



Clay N. Ferno: Thanks for joining us! Tell me, we’ve been hearing about this graphic novel for some time, why are we getting this delivered in an app?

Martin Brennan: The decision to release 13 Coins as a stand-alone app came after a meeting with former Namco president, Barry O’Neill.  We had one issue of 13 Coins almost completed, and Barry expressed interest in bringing it out through his new venture Corinthian — making it Corinthian’s first comic series. Given Barry’s past experience and his enthusiasm for 13 Coins we knew we had to go with him. Corinthian worked with tech company inlifesize, and animation genius Greg Maguire on bringing the digital comic to life. Greg is a legend, having previously worked on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban,” “Happy Feet,” “Avatar,” “Terminator,” etc. — the list goes on.

Issue 2

Issue 2

Clearly, there is more to the 13 Coins app than just the comic. We get a soundtrack, in-app purchase bonus material and 3-D parallax covers. Did you want to develop further than what the popular ComiXology app can provide?  

Michael B Jackson: ComiXology is great at what they do — deliver comics in a digital format. We want our app to deepen the entertainment experience. Music, 3D motion, freebies (like wallpaper) and a few more surprises are planned for the app as exclusives.

Promo art

Promo art

I’m lucky enough to be reading this on a Retina tablet. Biz’s art is on a whole new level than what we might be used to from the newsprint days.

MB: Simon is one of those rare artists who captures and expresses emotion exceptionally well in his work. Simon’s drawings touch people. He’s able to see the pain, anger, frustration or joy in a character at that moment in the story and show it to you in his art.

MJ: Exactly, we took the art of one of the best comic artists in the world and enhanced it with technology, and are presenting it on devices that are truly extraordinary. It’s as close as you can come to bringing a character to life right off the page.


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X-23 and Deadpool Finn at Anime Boston 2013 - Photo by Stacey Rizoli

Comic book fans and enthusiasts of any niche pop culture genre can be secular at times, closed minded, and exclusionary. It is the nature of the thing, I suppose, to be deeply invested and engaged by taking ownership of what appeals to you and what may become the building blocks of your identity. I’ve ignored the last ten Anime Boston conventions on this narrow-minded reasoning. After the Marathon bombings postponing Boston Comic Con this year, I put on my black costume karate gi to embrace the sense of pride and engagement with the nerd fan community that one can only get at a large convention in your hometown. This is how I, as a superhero comic fan, learned to stop worrying and love Anime Boston 2013. 

My photographer Stacey and I headed for our passes early in the day, eager to take in the wonders of Anime Boston on Saturday. Lines were manageable with bag checks and plenty of volunteers to assist directing traffic. In light of the terrorist attacks, no weapons were allowed at the con this year.

There were plenty of foam swords, accessories, and larger than life costumes this year, so the restriction was certainly not affecting anyone’s creativity.


It should be noted, cosplay at Anime Boston is intricate and omnipresent. Well over 80 percent of the crowd is dressed up or decorated in some way.

Iron Man takes a load off - Photo By Stacey Rizoli

Nerds of all fashions are here, Doctor Who fans, Vorlons (Babylon 5), superheroes, kitty cats with mechanical ears, all manner of tails and white masks swarm around you in a sea of paper mache, facepaint, leather, and vinyl. Cosplayers range in age from young to old and costume materials range from $2 to $2,000.

Cosplay at Comic Con is huge, don’t get me wrong, but as Stacey pointed out, “You’d be out of place if you didn’t dress up here.”

My thirst for nerd knowledge makes me a panel junkie. Anime Boston uses Guidebook, a live updating smartphone app that makes it easy to look at a complicated schedule such as this that includes screenings, martial arts demos, panels, kid’s activities, signings, and contests. We had set up our schedule in advance the night before and backed this up with the hard copy on the convention floor. Getting the lay of the land took some getting used to, Anime Boston uses most spaces in the gigantic Hynes Convention Center.




Stan Sakai created the rabbit ronin Usagi Yojimbo nearly 30 years ago. Usagi may seem familiar to hardcore fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for his guest appearances there. This weekend, as part of a special event and samurai exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Sensei Sakai and game developer Mike Levine of HappyGiant are slated to talk about the first Usagi video game in over 25 years, Usagi Yogimbo: Way of The Ronin (iOS / Android). We spoke with Mike about what to expect about from the game, the exclusive MFA Samurai Saturdays level, and about working with a master of the comic book form by way of bringing this fun side-scrolling sword and slashing game to market.

DIGBOSTON: Hi Mike – Thanks for coming! Can you tell me please about HappyGiant and what your role is there?

MIKE LEVINE: HappyGiant is my company, most of the company and myself have been in the games industry for 10-20 years. I worked for LucasArts in the ’90s for most of it and worked for some startups out in San Francisco. I came back here and started my own companies includingPileated Pictures, which was well known in Massachusetts for working with Hasbro and other properties. We were lucky to make some money and we’re now focused on mobile and the new company, HappyGiant.

Have you been a developer for a long time, or writing games for that long?

At LucasArts, I worked in the art department, constantly developing new techniques to create art. I would sit between really amazing artists and the programmers and we were in the middle making it all work in the games.

I’ve been a writer, designer and art director. We’re a small company so we all wear many hats.

Is this your first mobile game?

No, we’ve been doing it for a few years. We slowly crawled into it. We’ve done Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters and last summer we did the app for The Dictator film. We are also known for our high end pet sims Dolphin Paradise: Wild Friends. There’s another one that just came out, Orca Paradise: Wild Friends. We did Orca at the same time as Usagi. We used the Unity game engine to make both the games.


Very cool. Can I ask…are you a comic book fan?

Yes I am.

Usagi Yojimbo No. 1 - Stan Sakai

Usagi Yojimbo No. 1 - Stan Sakai

Have you been a Usagi Yojimbo fan for as long as I have?

Probably not. I grew up reading comics, now my kids are reading my comics. I was a heavy Marvel guy, Walt Simonson’s Thor, Frank Miller’s Ronin and Dark Knight Returns. I read all the Lone Wolf & Cub books. I knew of Usagi, but don’t remember reading it. The story goes that a couple of years ago, my friend brought me 5-6 Usagi books and urged me to read them.

As soon as I started reading them, I couldn’t put them down, I read one after the other. When I got to Book 10 or 12, I decided, “This needs to be a game”!

It came together very smoothly with Dark Horse and Stan and getting in touch with them. I like to think when things are meant to be, things go smoothly, and this was one of those cases.