See more photos in Dianne Garcia's gallery "Long Beach Comic Expo 2011."
Nathaniel Osollo collects @ replies on Twitter. Every two or three months since last September, he has taken these short phrases that may or may not be connected to anything else and turns them into a comic book. 140 is Osollo's self-published, action-filled tribute to the social media platform where statements should never exceed 140 characters.
"The tweets are more often than not unrelated, unless someone has been reading the comic and knows what's going on," said Osollo when we spoke with him at Long Beach Comic Expo. "Other times i have to try to work it in somehow."
Sometimes people send Osollo contributions via Facebook and email, but Twitter is the preferred submission method due to the size constraints of the medium.
Osollo repeatedly said that he doesn't write any of the copy. His friend and boothmate for Long Beach Comic Expo, Evan Spears, pointed out that Osollo does plot the story. What makes 140 really interesting is how the creator manages to link together such disparate quotes as "This is 3x as hard as I thought it would be," "Peace is war" and "Wrench." "Potato." "Balls." within a matter of a few pages.
Osollo is fairly vague when he speaks of the series' storyline, simply saying that each issue focuses on the backstory of a different character and that, at some point, all the characters will meet. 140 is intended to be a five-issue series, hopefully with a graphic novel to follow. Osollo has completed the first three installments and is currently working on Issue 4.
We picked up Issue 3 at Long Beach Comic Expo. The story revolves around a character named 3 who appears to lead quite the action-packed life. Twenty-three people, including comic writers Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith and David Mack, contributed to this installment of 140. Additionally, four artists contributed pin-ups based on the number 3. All of the contributors are listed in the credits.
Where Osollo has used Twitter as a launchpad, artist Evan Spears has found online inspiration in a much broader fashion with writer James Mitchell in Chafed, which follows the story of the Internet as a human.
"It's about the Internet coming to life," said Spears. "It's very much a tragedy. More than anything, it's icky."
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He added, "I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it, which is everybody, but there's a lot of self-loathing that comes with being the Internet."
Printed just this month, Chafed is a minicomic, a quick but intriguing read.
For more on either comic, follow the creators on Twitter @erspears and @eyedraugh.
Follow @lizohanesian and @punkagogo on Twitter.