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Marvel to unleash digital comic books on iTunes

post #1 of 52
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Marvel Entertainment will help lead the way in exploring a brand-new frontier for content on the iTunes Store. Coming soon to an iPhone or iPod near you: motion comics.

Marvel made the announcement at this week's New York Comic Con.

"Watch and hear your favorite comics, authors and artists come alive," Marvel says on its Motion Comics webpage, where fans can find a preview trailer. "Remaining true to the heritage of panel-by-panel graphic storytelling, boasting groundbreaking graphics, sensational soundscapes and, of course, the explosiveness of the Mighty Marvel Universe, here comes the all-new, all-awesome Marvel Motion!"

The series will launch with two titles from some of the art form's biggest names. Astonishing X-Men will debut from Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, while Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev will weave readers into the new story of Spider-Woman.

Though the X-Men: Evolution animated series is already available on iTunes, these "motion comics" will represent an all-new format combining print, animation, audio, and more.

Voice actors will speak the dialogue, rendering speech bubbles obsolete. While the images won't be fully animated like what one might find in an animated TV show, Marvel believes it will be an engrossing experience for the viewer.

"It became very, very evident to me that as technology moves forward, there will come a day where we'll be able to not just create animation based upon our comic books and our characters and stories that we've told, but there will come a time when eventually we'll be able to take existing comic art, the flat, static art, and be able to animate it," said Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. "We can put out a product that is not quite a comic book and not quite animation, [but] a wonderful hybrid that incorporates all of our great talents."

The company is working with Neal Adams and Continuity Studios in order to make the concept a reality, according to Geeks of Doom. The panels of the story will contain animated scenes, although as of now it is unknown how users will navigate through them. More original content will be coming in the future, according to Ultimate Spider-Man creator Bendis.

"With [any] new medium comes a new storytelling language," he said. "It's more than just taking the images and moving them around the screen. There's a new storytelling language that's emerging every time we work on it and we're really excited for where that takes us."

According to a story on the Marvel website, Spider-Woman was born during the same brainstorm sessions that produced the entire concept, making it the first story to be completely created exclusively as a motion comic. Plans are in place to bring it to graphic novels later, but for now motion is the focus.



"[We thought] let's try to do something original and brand new that perhaps is constructed for the motion comic, instead of taking something that's been previously done and trying to animate it," Quesada said.

Marvel hopes the new concept, to be delivered via iTunes, Marvel.com, YouTube, DVD, and/or mobile, will reach both the company's most loyal customers and a sizable number of newcomers.

"I absolutely do think that people that have never read a comic or were [not] interested in comics would be interested in motion comics," Quesada said.

Specific availability dates have not been announced, but Marvel's website promises a launch sometime this spring. Some of Marvel's most well-known characters could also find their way into motion comic form.

"Sure you've seen the origin of Fantastic Four in the movies and in cartoons, but we're giving it to you with Jack Kirby's art, come to life," said Quesada. "That to me, ultimately, is the coolest part of this."
post #2 of 52
Ah, more fine reading!

Well, my daughter might like it. She spent the weekend at ComicCon here in NYC last weekend.

We were up until 7:00 am the night before, finishing her costume.
post #3 of 52
The YouTube trailer looked more like a technology demonstration than something designed to get me interested in the story, the story is more important than the medium.

If the trailer is any indication, the concept just seems wrong, but then, I generally loathe how trailers are edited, they are usually irritating to watch.
post #4 of 52
This is great news. Whereas the record/movie companies are still scrambling on what to do with the whole digital media and distribution, Marvel is taking the proactive route and blazing a new trail. They understand the future is digital and taking that bull by the horns.
post #5 of 52
I'd love to see an app or subscription method to deliver my selection of formerly newspaper comics to my iPhone every morning. Unfortunately this requires background apps and a cron like facility. The idea is to have the strips you follow on a regular basis loaded before you wake up every morning. That way my fill of Dilbert, Doonesberry and the others I follow would be all readable from one app.

Frankly I'd be willing to pay a subscription fee, of a reasonable amount, if I knew the majority of that fee was going to the authors. Getting ones news and other information that formerly came from the newspaper is relatively easy, comics are a different story.

As to Marvel, well I never got into the so called graphic novels so my opinion might be considered a bit biased. In an event I'm not convinced that the mix of live audio and limited motion is the way to go. That will take some time to play out. The bigger question is just how DRMed these things will be. The people I knew that where into these sorts of things got a lot of joy out of swapping the magazines, will this be possible?

In any event I think the important thing here is that Marvel is willing to experiment across a number of platforms. When new technology like iPhone and iPod Touch becomes an accepted way of doing things, business that fail to experiment with that new tech generally end up getting bit in the backside. So success or failure; it is good to see old line companies like Marvel dip their feet into the tech pool.


Dave
post #6 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'd love to see an app or subscription method to deliver my selection of formerly newspaper comics to my iPhone every morning. Unfortunately this requires background apps and a cron like facility.

Dave

Seriously... exactly why is it necessary to have a few comics pre-downloaded, when all it would take would be a 'get' button that pulled them all in a few seconds. I mean instant gratification does have its limits, doesn't it?
post #7 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'd love to see an app or subscription method to deliver my selection of formerly newspaper comics to my iPhone every morning. Unfortunately this requires background apps and a cron like facility. The idea is to have the strips you follow on a regular basis loaded before you wake up every morning. That way my fill of Dilbert, Doonesberry and the others I follow would be all readable from one app.

If it's handled like a podcast or an iTunes subscription, it does not need to be a background app on a portable device, the PC fetches it and you sync the iPod/Phone to the PC before you leave. The ability to set a fetch time would be a much appreciated addition, you can set a daily fetch but not when it fetches.

iTunes can already download PDFs if it's in a podcast feed or part of a purchase. I don't think Apple offers a good way to store read PDFs on the iPhone.
post #8 of 52
YES!!


*dances*

Since my local comic shop closed, my girlfriend and I have been jonesing for our comic fix. Now gimme my damn New Mutants book, and no one gets hurt.
post #9 of 52
This idea of live audio instead of the speech bubbles is plain stupid.

Most of the time these comics and games on the iPhone would be "time pass" items - to be used when you are waiting in a queue, etc. I can understand games that use sound feedback, with an option to turn the sound off... but comics? Surely, this is a medium that works much better with text in bubbles?

It is also likely to be a 100 times easier for marvel to digitize their collection retaining the bubbles. They just have to create a stop motion video out of all the images. By going in for live audio, they are actually wasting time and money!
post #10 of 52
Might this be the precursor to Apple's magazine-sized color digital paper reader?

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #11 of 52
This is what all books in digital format need to be like. Amazon still thinks people merely want to download text to read or listen on a digital display. Displays are made for entertainment. Yep, this is the future of digital books.

I have posted before to the effect that Apple needs to transform the reading experience via an iPhone/iTouch device. Have options like combining audio reading of the text as it is highlighted. Have optional artwork appear as the spoken and highlighted words appear. Comic Books could really fly.
Let the reader do markups between the lines or highlight passages that get saved to files. Think Different with an ebook like device.

An ebook will never replace a good ole paper bound book so long as the intent is merely to mimic something that has worked just fine for ages.
post #12 of 52
What a marvelous idea! Think of it as a stereo radio-play with pictures. Could sell by the millions.
post #13 of 52
This is not a 'new frontier'...this is just cheap animation!

What is original about this?...Really?

The funniest thing is that Marvel has done this before. Back the 1960s with the Marvel Superheros tv show and then 5 or 6 years ago by 'animating' some of their comic books with CrossGen...exact same thing....went on DVD. It didn't work out for them because it was a really bad idea..

Cheap 'limited' animation is only ever pretending to be the real thing...
post #14 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Might this be the precursor to Apple's magazine-sized color digital paper reader?

No- this is simply Marvel expanding into more markets.
Go Marvel!
post #15 of 52
Good on Marvel going all modern and stuff. Two things though. Keep it affordable, expand iTunes Store to more international markets please. We are also teh can speak Engrish you know ya...
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Ah, more fine reading!

Well, my daughter might like it. She spent the weekend at ComicCon here in NYC last weekend.

We were up until 7:00 am the night before, finishing her costume.

Sounds like it was elaborate. Pictures!?
No Matte == No Sale :-(
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No Matte == No Sale :-(
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post #17 of 52
One word: Watchmen.

yep. i have the whole series in the same motion comics style. i believe it is listed as a tv show.


and I saw TWO Batman listings but I haven't checked the style.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Might this be the precursor to Apple's magazine-sized color digital paper reader?

I hear that it folds up into a package smaller than a cigarette pack.
post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoot.hoot View Post

This is not a 'new frontier'...this is just cheap animation!

What is original about this?...Really?

The funniest thing is that Marvel has done this before. Back the 1960s with the Marvel Superheros tv show and then 5 or 6 years ago by 'animating' some of their comic books with CrossGen...exact same thing....went on DVD. It didn't work out for them because it was a really bad idea..

Cheap 'limited' animation is only ever pretending to be the real thing...

Let's wait until we see it.
post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

Sounds like it was elaborate. Pictures!?

She's got 'em. I'll have to wrestle them from her tomorrow evening after she comes home from school.
post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

She's got 'em. I'll have to wrestle them from her tomorrow evening after she comes home from school.

Wrestle? In my family, we just ask.
post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by arteckx View Post

Wrestle? In my family, we just ask.

You don't know my daughter!
post #23 of 52
there are going to be a LOT of obsessives* that will not like this idea, you can't wrap these in plastic hermetically sealed bags and never read them!

so, it's bound to be teh dooomed.



*you know who you are
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I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

there are going to be a LOT of obsessives* that will not like this idea, you can't wrap these in plastic hermetically sealed bags and never read them!

so, it's bound to be teh dooomed.



*you know who you are

But now these same people, CAN in fact read about the episode that is in that sealed bag, while still having a virgin copy.

It will work, it's just, will it work well enough?

Skip
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by cygnusrk727 View Post

This is what all books in digital format need to be like. Amazon still thinks people merely want to download text to read or listen on a digital display. Displays are made for entertainment. Yep, this is the future of digital books.

I have posted before to the effect that Apple needs to transform the reading experience via an iPhone/iTouch device. Have options like combining audio reading of the text as it is highlighted. Have optional artwork appear as the spoken and highlighted words appear. Comic Books could really fly.
Let the reader do markups between the lines or highlight passages that get saved to files. Think Different with an ebook like device.

Um, you do realize that the Kindle 2 does everything you just asked for except for having "optional artwork appear" concept that I really didn't understand anyway. It will read the text for you and allows annotations and highlighting. It also allows images, though they are limited to 16-color grayscale.

Also, I'm not really sure I buy your claim that people DON'T want to "merely download text to read" or Job's assertion that people don't read anymore. The Borders Bookstore near me is always crowded and a good percentage of those people seem to walk out with a newly purchased book. I mean there's already this interesting invention that combines sound and images. It's called a movie. If you feel the urge to read something during it, just turn on the subtitles or watch a foreign film.

It's also been mentioned numerous times before, but displays with backlighting make for a horrible prolonged reading experience. Why do you think people no longer mention the paperless office that was to be the future of business not too long ago? If I emailed someone a 10-page report to look over, the first thing they would do is print it out. The digital ink in eBook reader displays is intended to solve this issue.
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Let's wait until we see it.

And you will see that it's cheap animation.

Then it could be classy and enjoyable cheap animation, but still the way Marvel is marketing that it's just plain ridiculous
post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldogger View Post

This is great news. Whereas the record/movie companies are still scrambling on what to do with the whole digital media and distribution, Marvel is taking the proactive route and blazing a new trail. They understand the future is digital and taking that bull by the horns.

There are some key differences that make Marvel's interest less of a risk. Marvel can sell their digital media without hurting the print media's revenue. They can even tie the products together potentially increasing their print media sales. Both have there benefits.

The record/movie companies are really competing for the exact same media on different formats. The only real difference in quality of content. I think the first positive step the movie cartels did was allow for an iPod capable, lower bitrate version on the optical media, but I don't think that is widespread, and perhaps a bit late in the game to change current habits.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by arteckx View Post

Wrestle? In my family, we just ask.

So do we. Punctuated by screaming, threats, stomping off and slamming doors... you know, the zen of tears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

One word: Watchmen.
yep. i have the whole series in the same motion comics style. i believe it is listed as a tv show.
and I saw TWO Batman listings but I haven't checked the style.

Batman is DC.

I love the idea of Marvel Superheroes on the iPhone, as long as the graphics stay true. The big problem for me is the audio. As soon as you add a voice to images, you're in dangerous territory. Will it match my idea of what that voice should sound like? If not it looses much impact. I suspect that a pure graphic version with limited animation and sound effects would work better, but as already suggested... lets wait and see.
post #29 of 52
This is sweet. I can't wait to see the "purist" saying "this isn't how comics should be read"....and yes I know some people like that.\

I guess should have RTFA, I'm not for the sound. Just give me the comic in pics/txt, just like the hardcopy.
post #30 of 52
Maybe it'll play like Ken Burns documentaries of the Marvel Universe. Could work!
post #31 of 52
I wonder why the corporations don't take the iPhone seriously?

Let's see, no business applications and no push email yet I can read my comics.

Apple has turned the iPhone into an expensive toy through terrible marketing.

When was the last time you saw a commercial for the iPhone even remotely directed towards the business market?
post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

there are going to be a LOT of obsessives* that will not like this idea, you can't wrap these in plastic hermetically sealed bags and never read them!

so, it's bound to be teh dooomed.

*you know who you are

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

It will work, it's just, will it work well enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by abundance View Post

And you will see that it's cheap animation.

Then it could be classy and enjoyable cheap animation, but still the way Marvel is marketing that it's just plain ridiculous

As Ben Grimm might say to Mr. Fantastic (in a cheesy "voice talent" way):

"I got a bad feeling about this, Stretch...!"

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

But now these same people, CAN in fact read about the episode that is in that sealed bag, while still having a virgin copy.

It will work, it's just, will it work well enough?

Skip

but its an ENTIRELY different copy!! IT MUST BE PRESERVED!!!!11!!1!!

etc.

{is there a reason there are no "crazed lunatic" smilies? }
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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post #34 of 52
This is a fantastic idea. It's is great medium for pro comic artists AND doable for gifted amateurs and wannabees.
Of course its not a new idea - there are no new ideas - it's an idea who's technological time has come.

I predict much wailing, whining and Marvel-hateage - the usual precursors to a major success.
post #35 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Um, you do realize that the Kindle 2 does everything you just asked for except for having "optional artwork appear" concept that I really didn't understand anyway. It will read the text for you and allows annotations and highlighting. It also allows images, though they are limited to 16-color grayscale.

The Kindle doesn't have 16 color greyscale. It has 16 step greyscale. No color at all, just black against grey at its best. I don't know if you really meant color or not.

Quote:
Also, I'm not really sure I buy your claim that people DON'T want to "merely download text to read" or Job's assertion that people don't read anymore. The Borders Bookstore near me is always crowded and a good percentage of those people seem to walk out with a newly purchased book. I mean there's already this interesting invention that combines sound and images. It's called a movie. If you feel the urge to read something during it, just turn on the subtitles or watch a foreign film.

I don't agree with Job's statement that people don't read anymore, but that's been explained as his meaning that less people read long books as aopposed to shorter articles.

I read a lot, as does my family. Most of my friends do as well.

Quote:
It's also been mentioned numerous times before, but displays with backlighting make for a horrible prolonged reading experience. Why do you think people no longer mention the paperless office that was to be the future of business not too long ago? If I emailed someone a 10-page report to look over, the first thing they would do is print it out. The digital ink in eBook reader displays is intended to solve this issue.

I can't agree with this though. Many people read from computer screens most of the day, in their jobs without problems.

I think the problem here is not the backlit screens, but the manner in which they're presented. Having a screen on a desk, in a non movable position, with you sitting in a seat, isn't always very comfortable.

While I don't use portables, so I can't give my own feelings abut it, people seem to have much less problems with them.

I've been reading books electronically on my Mac for quite some time. not too bad, but that desktop problem crops up.

but I've also been reading books on cellphones starting with my Samsung i300 and i330, with their small 160 x 160 screens. not the greatest, but not that bad either.

My Treo 700p with its slightly bigger 320 x 320 screen was much better, and my iPhone with its even slightly wider, longer 480 x 320 screen with many more colors is much better than that. I've now read a few dozen books on it, and it's just fine! The high number of colors makes the backgrounds much more soothing. I haven't found a problem yet with any of the bookreaders available.

I really think this is they way to go.

While I have no doubt that the Kindle and other devices will do well enough, that's mostly going to be to people who want a more techie product they don't mind carrying in addition to everything else.

For the large majority, that size will continue to be a turnoff.

In addition, the high price is also a turnoff. Why pay $360 for a reader when you have one for free?

Right now, I find the color screen in the iPhone to be better than the 16 step greyscale one for pictures and diagrams, even though I have to magnify them sometimes, and scroll around. A lot of that is unintelligible on the Kindle's screen, I've looked.

I will print something out if it needs to be marked up, or needs to be seen at full size, or whatever. Otherwise, I just read it on the screen.

Obviously, some people will always prefer paper, or something that sort of looks like it, but until the Kindle has good color, and a price of $99, it won't sell to the masses.

Here we have people arguing that a device the size of the old Newton won't make it because it's too big, and won't fit into a pocket, even though the device will do just about everything. They'll also have to figure out a way to make the Kindle smaller while still having a screen the size of a paperback.
post #36 of 52
I registered just to comment on the title of this article.

Do they teach at Dork School of Writing that everything related to computers has to be "unleashed"? Between the books and the online content, computer users read like a bunch of twelve year olds. Seriously.
post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post

I registered just to comment on the title of this article.

Do they teach at Dork School of Writing that everything related to computers has to be "unleashed"? Between the books and the online content, computer users read like a bunch of twelve year olds. Seriously.

That's movieland writing. Too bad that computer writers took it from them.
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The Kindle doesn't have 16 color greyscale. It has 16 step greyscale. No color at all, just black against grey at its best. I don't know if you really meant color or not.

So gray isn't a color? So Apple's nano is really only offered in seven colors, the other two are just lies?
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The Kindle doesn't have 16 color greyscale. It has 16 step greyscale. No color at all, just black against grey at its best. I don't know if you really meant color or not.

Semantics. 16 step, 16 color. 16 shades of gray.

Quote:
I don't agree with Job's statement that people don't read anymore, but that's been explained as his meaning that less people read long books as aopposed to shorter articles.

I read a lot, as does my family. Most of my friends do as well.

I can't agree with this though. Many people read from computer screens most of the day, in their jobs without problems.

I can't really agree with this myself. I sit at a computer all day and it is most certainly NOT problem free. If I spend too much time staring at the screen, the eyes begin to ache from soreness. I know I'm not alone in this situation. Ergonomic guidelines call for frequent breaks from staring at a computer screen.

Quote:
I think the problem here is not the backlit screens, but the manner in which they're presented. Having a screen on a desk, in a non movable position, with you sitting in a seat, isn't always very comfortable.

Here I have to go back to your comment about shorter articles. Much of the time a person sits at a computer, a lot of their reading is in short bursts. Whether it be an email, or the contents of a Java class file. It usually inherently involves small amounts of text. As I said originally, if you send someone a 10-page report, they're first instinct is going to be to print it out to read over, not stare at it one the computer screen unless there is some absolute requirement to do. It's a matter of comfort; reading large blocks of dense text on a backlit screen is just not comfortable since its similar to staring at a light bulb.
post #40 of 52
I posted the youtube video on my site. I definitely like where Marvel is headed!
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