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NYCC 09: Marvel To Sell Digital Comics Through iTunes
Tom Cheredar   |  

Geeks of Doom Invade New York Comic Con 2009

Marvel Entertainment will begin selling digital “In-Motion” comic books through iTunes, it was announced yesterday at the Digital Media panel at New York Comic Con.

The company is working with Neal Adams and Continuity Studios to create a new form of digital comics for iTunes dubbed motion comics, which feature panels that animate scenes and add spoken dialog from voice actors. No exact price point was discussed, however, it was mentioned that multiple prices could happen depending on the content.

The Comic Con panel offered a preview of an Astonishing X-Men motion comic based on the recent Joss Whedon run, with more original content planned in the future, according to Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis, along with frequent collaborator Alex Maleev, will do a new Spider-Woman motion comic starting in February, which will be the first in-continuity title produced specifically for the new digital medium.

“We’re looking at it as a completely new project.” said Maleev about the new Spider-Woman ongoing. “Motion comics,” he added, “require a much different process when compared to print.”

Those in the panel also explained their stance on the need for a new digital model of storytelling to satisfy the changing scope of media to new technologies.

“With [any] new medium comes a new storytelling language,” said Bendis. “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.”

Print versions of the book will be published following the digital release on either iTunes or marvel.com, but they may be added to more digital venues in the future, according to Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada.

Marvel panelists said they would like to release more of their library in motion comic formats to add a new dynamic to the stories.

“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.

“I’m not saying that we’re there yet but, those are the possibilities,” Quesada said.

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  • Mark Eckenrode

    this is cool and all and has a lot of promise however i for one would just like them to get their online digital comics archive up to date.

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  • I’m looking forward to this – big fan of marvel comics and iTunes – sounds like a match made in heaven for me!

  • Andrew Duthie

    Warning, snark follows.

    Did anyone point out that this was basically the product pitched in the movie Big? Or that it’s been technically possible since 1987 when the Mac II came out? (Longer than that if you could suffer a 16-color palette instead of 256 colors.) For web delivery, it’s been possible since 1995 or whenever Macromedia Director released its web player (not to mention FutureSplash/Flash).

    So what I wonder is, what’s changed in the world to make Marvel think that they can make this sort of product successful now? Maybe in two years they’ll come back and do them as “virtual reality,” because that’s the wave of the future.

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  • sadisticopiate

    i think the voice acting will be a mistake
    could do without it

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  • Pytheus

    Obviously they are capitalizing on the success of the Watchmen motion comics, available on iTunes. I liked what they did with Watchmen but unless its priced cheap I dunno if I would bother buying any others. I use to collect comics but the new artists and stories suck. I don’t like the direction many of my past favorite books went.

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  • Kenny

    I predict this will bomb, and after it does, Marvel will say there’s no demand for on-line delivery of comics.

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  • (required)

    “Motion Comics” aren’t comics — they’re badly animated cartoons with weak old-time radio-play voiceovers.

  • Re: Andrew Druthie

    “So what I wonder is, what’s changed in the world to make Marvel think that they can make this sort of product successful now? ”

    Simply: bandwidth. You couldn’t get people interested in downloading over 28k or less. Even 56k was a struggle for large graphics. I once bought a digital comic years ago, but it was too expensive and too disappointing to buy another. There’s also the sense of collecting. You can’t really collect digital comics. And even now the price point on digital versions versus hard copy ought to be cheaper, since the user is providing the delivery and storage, but they aren’t. Which is stupid. More people will be willing to take a risk on a digital comic if it were cheaper.

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