The Thrill Electric

An Introduction from Leah Moore and John Reppion:

So where did all this begin then? Well the seeds were sown when we were doing some research for our adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic horror novel Dracula. We had been trying to find out how much of what he referred to in the story was actually possible at the time. We'd just discovered that the tiny torches he referred to - "These, so small, electric lanterns" - weren't actually invented when he wrote the book, making them as much science fiction for his readers as a Star Trek teleport would be to us. The main piece of equipment he made reference to was the telegraph. We'd included telegrams in our adaptation in full, making each little slip of paper its own document, another scrap of evidence to support the outlandish story of the vampire killer. We were Googling about looking for Telegraph facts, and stumbled upon some amazing sites that were almost exhaustive in the history of the telegraph. The whole subject should be really dry, but the anecdotes and stories of the early days really conjured a whole world of little old fashioned people in top hats all chattering away across this enormous network of wires. We fell completely in love with the Telegraph, and John only compounded this when he bought me "The Victorian Internet" by Tom Standage.

It's a fantastic book, which really highlights how little has changed in the almost two hundred years since the invention of the telegraph. All of our little internet in-jokes, our geeky love of gadgets, our LOLing and PMSLing was already happening in our great-great-grandmother's time. Something about that is so pleasing. Maybe it's just the idea that we aren't as clever as we think we are, maybe it's the idea of technology kind of running in loops, the same idea resurfacing time and time again.

The other thing that really caught our attention is that it was a real turning point for the history of women in the workforce. It was a respectable white collar job which parents were happy to let their daughters go and do. Women could work somewhere less dirty and dangerous than a factory, and earn good money doing skilled work. Okay they didn't earn as much as their male counterparts but it was a start.

I (Leah) lay in bed one night ruminating on all of this, when the idea came to me of a story about a girl going into the world of the telegraph. Of us seeing it all unfold, a period drama with all the romance and scandal of any modern social network. The Thrill Electric was born.

But The Thrill Electric is not about old formats, it's not about trying to make old content available for a new audience, it's about trying to think of new ways of doing things, ways which fit new technology and work with it.

The Thrill Electric is an enhanced comic. This means as well as the traditional comic pages full of panels and captions and word balloons, you also get background noise, sound effects, music, animations and pages where we try and find new ways to read a comic page.

The title comes from a poem written to commemorate the death of Samuel Morse, one of the fathers of the Telegraph. There is no attributed author of the poem, and it is very lengthy and Victorian, concentrating on how the Telegraph effectively makes previous absolutes like Time and Space irrelevant. You can talk instantly to someone hundreds of miles away. In times when the fastest a message could travel was by horse or later by steam train; that was nothing short of miraculous.

""We are one!" said the nations, as hand met hand
In a thrill electric from land to land."

(full version here)

We really hope you enjoy The Thrill Electric Experience!

Follow us on Twitter:

@johnreppion

@leahmoore