Marvel to unleash digital comic books on iTunes

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,267member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 51
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,647member
    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
  • Reply 5 of 51
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    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?
  • Reply 6 of 51
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 51
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 51
    Might this be the precursor to Apple's magazine-sized color digital paper reader?
  • Reply 10 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 51
    enzosenzos Posts: 344member
    What a marvelous idea! Think of it as a stereo radio-play with pictures. Could sell by the millions.
  • Reply 12 of 51
    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...
  • Reply 13 of 51
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 51
    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...
  • Reply 15 of 51
    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!?
  • Reply 16 of 51
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 51
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,267member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 51
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,267member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 51
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,267member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 51
    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.
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