Big Nate: Comix by U! (based on the books by Lincoln Peirce; HarperCollins and Night & Day Studios, December 2011) is a kind of Colorforms set for new media starring Nate Wright, a sixth-grade antihero who makes Greg Heffley look like a wimpy kid. In this app, Nate’s fans and budding playwrights press-and-place a variety of characters, templates, settings, props and speech-balloon options to create their own brief Big Nate comics. Budding comics artists (like Nate himself) might sneer because there is no drawing involved at all: just choose a blank template or a “story starter,” choose a few characters from the Big Nate pantheon, and start ’em talking. So this:
Seven characters are on offer (Nate, Gina, Francis, Jenny, Teddy, Mrs. Godfrey, and Spitsy the dog), each one in at least a few poses and two sizes, regular and close-up. Backgrounds include school, home, and park; various props and sound effects provide comic prompts, possibilities, and punctuation. Comics can be saved and shared; all of the available options mix and match with drag-drop ease, and they provide just enough structure for users intimidated by a blank canvas. Just what trouble can you get Nate into?
Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 4.3 or later); $.99. Recommended for primary and intermediate users.