Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Motion Comics

Spider-Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. is out on iTunes and while it's an interesting concept, I think it's structural problems are indicative of the superiority of print.

Agent of S.W.O.R.D. (I'm not typing that out again) is a motion-comic, one of Marvel's attempts to come to grips with the digital world. Marvel is built on a hard-copy product (though that core product is not their primary revenue source, it drives the big revenue streams) and their experimentation with this new format should be applauded, even if we judge it a failure.

The "motion comic" is essentially a cross between digital graphic novel and Sin City with small bits of movement infusing individual still images via the magic of computer manipulation. Spider-Woman is built using an honest-to-goodness comic book engine, the writer being Brian Michael Bendis (who's a stud). But the format doesn't work nearly as well as if the entire production had simply been on the printed page:

* Having voiceovers is terribly distracting because there is no animation. This works fine in narration, but is terribly distracting during actual dialogue. You hear a character's voice, but their lips aren't moving. Even if this is done with a high level of technical and artistic sophistication, it looks amateur and off-putting.

* Where conversations would be conducted with a single long panel and then alternating dialogue balloons on the page, here they flip back and forth between still panels. Makes it feel like those re-cycled He-Man animations.

* Like a lot of pulp and noir writing, comic-book writing is meant to be read, not heard. Prose that merely stays out of the way in a comic book sounds kind of ridiculous to the ear when someone says it out loud.

* Despite all that, it's awfully pretty. Very nicely rendered stuff. And Bendis, per the norm, creating an interesting story.

By all means, spend the 99 cents to catch the first episode of Spider-Woman. But at the end of the day, I suspect it will convince you that the fears of floppy comics going away are unfounded.

1 comment:

Unknown said...


更新日期:2009/08/25 17:19

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