Shatter (digital comic)

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This article is about the digital comic. For the Marvel Comics mutant, see Shatter (comics).
Shatter #1 (First Comics, Nov. [Dec.] 1985.
Art by Mike Saenz.
Publication information
Publisher First Comics
Schedule monthly
Format ongoing
Publication date 19851988
Number of issues 14
Main character(s) Sadr al-din Morales ("Jack Scratch")
Creative team
Writer(s) Peter B. Gillis
Artist(s) Mike Saenz
Steve Erwin
Bob Dienethal
Charlie Athanas
Creator(s) Peter B. Gillis
Mike Saenz
Editor(s) Mike Gold
Collected editions
Shatter ISBN 1-932051-44-9

Shatter is a digital comic created by Peter B. Gillis and Mike Saenz, and published by First Comics. A dystopian science fiction fantasy somewhat in the mold of Blade Runner, Shatter was written by Gillis and illustrated on the computer by Saenz.

Shatter was the first commercially published all-digital comic, i.e. a comic for which the art was created entirely on the computer; as opposed to what later became the common method of drawing on board with pencil, pen, and ink and then scanning the black-and-white art into a computer for the application of color.[clarification needed] The Shatter artwork was initially drawn on a first-generation Apple Macintosh using a mouse, and printed out on an Apple dot-matrix ImageWriter. The print-outs were then photographed like a piece of traditionally drawn black-and-white comic art, and the color separations were applied in the traditional manner for comics at the time.

Publication history[edit]

The first episode of Shatter appeared in the March 1985 issue (#12) of computer magazine Big K (IPC Media, London with Tony Tyler as editor) and was described as "the world's first comics series entirely drawn on a computer." During this same period, Shatter appeared simultaneously as a one-shot special and as a backup feature in First ComicsJon Sable title in 1985.[1] Shatter was published in its own 14-issue series from 1985-1988. The book was art-directed by Alex Wald. Collections have been published by First Comics and, more recently, by AiT/Planet Lar.


  • March 1985: the first episode of Shatter, written by Gillis and illustrated by Saenz, appears as a double-page spread in the British computer magazine Big K, published by IPC Magazines (now IPC Media).
  • June 1985: Shatter appears as a backup feature in Jon Sable: Freelance #25, and as the Shatter Special one shot, published by First Comics.
  • June–November 1985: The series runs as a backup feature in Jon Sable: Freelance from issues #25-30.
  • December 1985-April 1988: Shatter continues as a 14-issue series by First Comics.
  • 1986: Artist Saenz leaves after two issues. (He went on to create Iron Man: Crash, the first digital graphic novel, in 1988; and Donna Matrix, a digital graphic novel utilizing 3-D rendering, in 1993.) First Comics continues the title using other artists, including Steve Erwin and Bob Dienethal, who draw traditional art on board that is then digitized, while they look for someone to pick up the task of drawing the art directly on a computer.
  • 1986-1988: Charlie Athanas re-establishes the practice of creating the comic directly on the computer, using a mouse on a Macintosh Plus computer. Using this method, Athanas draws issues #9-14.

Storyline and characters[edit]

The Shatter trade paperback collection describes the plot like this:

In the day before tomorrow, all jobs are temporary, and control is in the hands of a few ruthless men. The world's biggest, most influential media syndicate has accidentally discovered a limitless source of cheap creative talent: stealing people's brains out of their heads. Only one man can stop them: a temporary cop with a golden brain. A man on a mission whose mind is capable of absorbing the talents of others... permanently. A man named Sadr al-din Morales. His friends call him... SHATTER.[2]


  • Gillis, Peter & Saenz, Mike (June 1985–Nov. 1985). “Shatter,” Jon Sable: Freelance, issues #25-30, First Comics
  • Gillis, Peter & Saenz, Mike (June 1985). Shatter Special, First Comics
  • Gillis, Peter; Saenz, Mike; Erwin, Steve; Dienethal, Bob; Athanas, Charlie (Nov. [Dec.] 1985–April 1988). Shatter, First Comics, issues #1-14, First Comics
  • Shatter (AiT/PlanetLar, 2006) ISBN 1-932051-44-9


  1. ^ Because of comic book cover-dating practices of this time, most comics were cover-dated two-to-three months in advance of their actual publication date. Therefore, the March 1985 Big K publication and the June 1985 First Comics publications were roughly concurrent.
  2. ^ Product description, sale page. Accessed July 15, 2011.


  • McCloud, Scott. Reinventing Comics, pp. 140, 165, Paradox Press, 2000.

External links[edit]