To celebrate the OpenStack community and Liberty release, the Cloudbase Solutions team created a one-of-a-kind printed comic packed with OpenStack puns and references to manga and kaiju literature.

Avoiding vendor lock-in is a battle fought frequently by companies looking to the cloud.

Now this clash of the titans has morphed into comic book form, thanks to the efforts of Cloudbase Solutions, a company focused on bringing OpenStack to Windows-based infrastructures. They brought the manga-style story of mecha-robots going head-to-head with the vendor lock-in monster to the OpenStack Summit Tokyo.

A fast and furious team effort got the publication to print in time for the Summit, but you can still catch the suspenseful battle by downloading the comic.

The 12-page comic book, which reads right-to-left in a nod to the Japanese originals, has something for everyone. If you work in the cloud, you’ll laugh in recognition as a many-tentacled monster tries to take over, and if you’re a manga fan, the setting of Neo-Tokyo (a wink to cult thriller Akira) will win you over.

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Superuser spoke to Diana Macau, a community manager at Cloudbase Solutions, to learn more about the creative process behind the comic and what it took to bring the idea to Tokyo.

Where did your team get the idea to create a Manga comic for the Tokyo Summit?

The idea first came around the beginning of September. A couple of us were talking one evening about the cool things we’ve seen and done at previous Summits, and given the location of the upcoming summit, and about our passion for Japanese Manga, Anime and Kaiju monsters, like Gojira or Godzilla, one thing lead to another and the thought of creating our own manga was thrown around. Alessandro Pilotti, our CEO, who is a huge Manga fan, together with Cosmin Munteanu, Claudiu Belu, Dorin Paslaru, Adrian Bora and Nashwan Azhari started brainstorming and drafting the initial storyboard, which you can also see in the image below. The idea itself seemed to tie everything together smoothly, from the Summit’s destination and Japanese culture to the OpenStack references and concepts we wanted to add.

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The initial storyboard created by the Cloudbase Solutions team.

From concept to reality, what was the timeline and how many people did it take to create the comic book?

During the course of two months on and off when deadlines allowed it, we had several people drafting the script and developing it to its current state, including Cristian Darstar, the comic illustrator who goes by the pen name Akira, plus Paslaru, Bora, Belu, Pilotti and myself.

In the end, most of our colleagues contributed one way or another, whether it was feedback on the script or sketches, the general storyboard or tech puns. Except for Darstar, it was something completely new for everyone else and definitely a ton of fun. It helped create a setting for people to bring out their creativity in a different way compared to writing code.

The final product was completed the night we gave it to the printer, the day before our team left for Tokyo.

Can you set the scene for how the story unfolds?

It starts by introducing the three main characters who, while attending the OpenStack Summit in an alternative near-future setting, are called back to their headquarters for an emergency. It turns out that an invader from space called Vendor Lock-In is taking control of the Neo-Tokyo’s resources by installing closed-source software, prompting the reaction of our heroes. The story unfolds with our heroes piloting their giant robots (Nova, Neutron, Cinder) to fight against the Vendor Lock-In monster, and, as one might expect given the context, winning when joining forces in the OpenStack mecha-robot.

We hope you have as much fun reading it as we had creating it!