Imagine reading a gripping comic story and with every touch of your finger be able to see the muscles of your favourite hero twitch or the eyelashes of the heroine bat in appreciation of the gift that she got from her beau! Imagine the sword of the Savior of Earth shine in sun and sand beneath his feet shift slightly under his advancing feet just by touching the screen with your finger! Well, this is already happening in rapidly advancing world of digital comics.
“AVENGERS VS. X-MEN” by the Marvel Comics is said to be the first Infinite Comic, a digital-only
prelude to “Avengers vs. X-Men” that was released with issue No. 1 of the print series last month.It represents another step by the comic book industry toward embracing the digital format and one that holds the potential to push traditional comic book storytelling to a new level.
The Infinite Comic, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Stuart Immonen, chronicles the journey of the hero Nova from outer space to Earth to warn the Avengers of an impending threat, setting up the print narrative.
When reading a traditional comic, the eye cannot help taking in the whole page at once. The digital format and the pace of the Infinite Comic can lead to more surprises. As each successive panel appears on the screen, each tap or click can reveal a new caption, subtly change an illustration or replace it entirely. Focusing and blurring effects can heighten the reading experience or simply allow one to appreciate the artwork, which is richer and more vibrantly colored than the printed page.
Like many areas of the print media, the comic book industry in recent years has struggled with reader attrition. However, sales of digital comics in the US have boomed from $1 million in 2009 to $25 million last year. As the “Avengers” experiment suggests, many in the business want the formats to complement each other. Mr. Waid, a celebrated writer for Marvel, DC Comics and small publishers, observed, “The print costs of comics have now very quickly skyrocketed to the point where it is unfeasible for small press comics.”
Digital comic business has been growing steadily over past few years. Promoters of online comics say readers will benefit greatly from digital and print working together. While Mr. Alonso, from Marvel, envisioned lower-selling print series surviving as digital-only comics, Mr. Waid believed that one medium can help the other. “Digital can be a gateway to brick-and-mortar stores for what they do well: stock deep and with a human face to give recommendations.”
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