First off – Happy 2011! We’re living in the future now with laser rays flying cars and cyborg monkeys. 2011 is that number that which was the lowest possible for the “not so distant future”. Here we are, air is still breathable, water drinkable, but I still don’t have my computer interface wetware implants in the back of my skull. Can’t win ‘em all. Anyway, a few days ago I cracked open my Inception bluray. Following my geek instincts I go for the special features first. I went straight for comic prolog, which was “in Full Animation and Motion”
I’ve always been a little weird about the whole motion comics thing, and honestly, I really haven’t looked for any unless it was put in my face or had a name attached to it (see Robot Dialog #7). So I start it up and the first thought that hits me is – for such a high budget blu-ray and film why is the art not as good as it can be? Then I was annoyed that the word balloons came in and out with barley enough time for you to finish reading what was in them. The music was great; it was all ripped from the film’s original soundtrack. I eventually got sucked into it enough to finish the 10-15 minute story, but it shouldn’t have felt like a chore. So that got me to thinking, are most of the Motion comics/Illustrated films this bad, or have I just hit a bad apple?
Thinking back, the first, and still the most awesome of the motion comics weren’t even referred to as motion comics. They were considered illustrated radio due to their lack of animation and radio like dialog. The Marvel Superheroes (aired in 1966) was the first motion comic in my opinion. It took art from actual comics, had limited animation and motion and was basically the template for the motion comic. Skipping ahead, the next one that sticks out in my head was The Maxx series for MTV’s oddities. To me this was ground breaking (and still is). It incorporated panel design in the animation to keep us in the state of mind of the source material. The panels served as a storytelling element as well, showing us anger, isolation and suspense.
Today, all of the art seems to be thrown in the back seat for these “motion comics”. Warner Bros. has faith in the medium and loves dumping money into it (which I’m all for as an artist…If I was being called for the jobs!). I hear the Watchmen motion comic is good, but I’m a firm believer that the best way to experience Watchmen is to sit and read it until your head starts to hurt, then put it down and pick it up an hour later and read some more. Iron Man: Extremis is kinda cool, the production level is high, but, again, I think for the bucks shelled out I’d rather get the book.
So where does this leave the Motion Comic in my eyes? It’s pure download, for mobile media. Keep these promotional vehicles going on smart phones, tablets and mobile media players. Make them affordable and throw in original content to push the medium a little. And if you’re a motion picture studio putting together a dvd/blu-ray, get people who know what they are doing to produce these things. The people who purchase these Ultimate super final director cut versions of the film usually know what they are looking at, and they are buying said versions for the extra content, so please, no shit lollypops.
If you want to look further into the world of motion comics here is a great resource blog by Craig Smith.
And here is awesomeness…