Microsoft is launching The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator today, an HTML5-based four part series of animations showcasing what's possible on the web without the use of plugins. It's a film noir-inspired story written by Edgar Wright — the man behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Spaced — that follows the story of Brandon Generator, a comic book artist with a terrible case of writer's block. The artwork comes from illustrator Tommy Lee Edwards, famous for his work on the Batman, Hellboy, and Marvel 1985 comics. Narration comes courtesy of Julian Barratt, one half of The Mighty Boosh.

It's beautifully built, with animations created entirely in JavaScript meaning that it should run smoothly on most devices. Microsoft says that it sees Brandon Generator as part of its commitment to a "more beautiful web," a phrase it coined at the launch of Internet Explorer 9. It boasts that by eliminating plugins, users will have a smoother experience on the web along with better battery life — something that's bound to please Occupy Flash supporters.

Wright already has the story arc planned out — but it's down to you to provide the details

There's a real focus on interactivity with the project. Users are encouraged to submit prose, drawings, and leave voice messages for Brandon that will guide the rest of the series. Although Wright has written the overarching storyline, users' contributions will flesh out the details, with the best being added to a gallery. He told us that this crowdsourcing idea was a major attraction to the project for him, and that he relished the challenge of the public "throwing curveballs at myself and Brandon." He also says that Brandon is "an alter-ego of sorts," with the same struggles and a serious coffee problem.

There's also a strong social element: as well as sharing your creations using Twitter, Facebook, and Windows Live, you can follow Brandon on Facebook and Twitter. The first episode goes live today, with the other three parts coming every few weeks or so to give the team time to respond to suggestions.