Marvel Entertainment announced at the New York Comic Con that it would begin selling a new form of digital comics on iTunes. According to GeeksOfDoom, this new breed of comic, which are called motion comics, will “feature panels that animate scenes and add spoken dialog from voice actors.”
It all sounds pretty cool, and it seems that the typical layout of a comic book lends itself quite easily to a device like the iPhone or iPod Touch. Swiping a screen in order to see the next panel in a comic, with accompanying voices no less, sounds awesome, and could usher in a whole new audience for comic book makers altogether. Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada alluded to this in a recent interview where he pointed out that there are a large number of individuals who don’t read comic books, but who have nevertheless developed an interest, via movies and video games, in Marvel characters such as the Incredible Hulk and Spiderman.
iTunes, though, isn’t the only medium Marvel plans on using to distribute its hybrid form of comic. In addition to iTunes, Marvel also has plans to showcase its motion comics on its own website, as streaming video on other websites, on its own YouTube channel, and potentially on other mobile devices as well. Quesada also explained that while the creation process for motion comics is a lot more labor intensive than it is for normal comics, Marvel appreciated the fact that advances in technology have opened up other avenues for comic storytelling that would appeal to existing fans and attract new ones as well.
The first two comic series to receive the motion comic treatment will be the Astonishing X-Men and Spider-Woman, and you can check out what the motion comics will look like in the video trailer below.
On a related note, the idea of motion comics would seem to work quite well as an educational tool for children learning to read. Imagine a game geared towards children where they can watch animated pictures of words with relevant dialogue to help them learn the letters. That sounds like a killer app for parents and children alike, if I do say so myself. Taking it a step forward, imagine if Apple started to develop a slew of children’s and educational applications for the iPod Touch. Wouldn’t that be a clever marketing angle?
If you think about it, there aren’t a lot of programs in the iTunes App Store geared towards children, and dare I say that it’s an untapped market. So go forth my programming-minded readers, and code like you’ve never coded before!