This afternoon AMC debuted a motion-comic adaptation of The Walking Dead — or at least the first half of the first issue. Don’t get too excited, though, because it looks like this is simply a teaser for the live-action series, which debuts in October, rather than a full-blown push into motion comics. But I could be wrong.
Whatever it is, the eight-minute video features Juice Films animation of art by Tony Moore, and the voice of Phil LaMarr (Futurama, Justice League Unlimited). So, y’know, good stuff all around.
Comic-Con attendees will get a double dose of The Walking Dead with Thursday’s Robert Kirkman panel (4 p.m. in Room 4 p.m.) and Friday’s AMC panel (11:30 a.m. in Room 6BCF).
A free trailer has debuted on Apple’s iTunes store for the motion-comic adaptation of Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight. The first episode apparently will be available later today; a “season pass” costs $14.99.
The motion comic will cover the first 19 issues of Season Eight, a canonical continuation of Joss Whedon’s cult-hit television series. The comic, which debuted from Dark Horse in 2007, has featured work by Whedon, Georges Jeanty, Brian K. Vaughan, Drew Goddard, Jane Espenson, Brad Meltzer, Jeph Loeb and others.
You can read the iTunes Store description for Season Eight after the break:
Marvel’s Black Panther: Who Is the Black Panther? motion comic has mysteriously disappeared from iTunes, the PlayStation Network and other outlets after just three episodes. It’s also been removed from the motion comics section of the publisher’s website, which now only features listings for Iron Man: Extremis, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted and Spider-Woman.
Marvel declined comment. However, there’s speculation the company may not have had the rights to digitally distribute the 12-episode Who Is the Black Panther?, which was produced in partnership with BET Networks.
Announced in April 2008 as an animated adaptation of the story arc by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr., Who Is the Black Panther? was set to debut on BET in early 2009. Despite boasting an all-star cast that includes Djimon Hounsou, Jill Scott, Kerry Washington, Alfre Woodard and Stan Lee, the series never aired on BET. It had its world premiere in January 2010 on Australia’s ABC 3.
The project had seemingly fallen off the map until last month, when Marvel announced the release of Who Is the Black Panther? as a motion comic under its Marvel Knights Animation banner. The series was heavily promoted online and with ads in Marvel comics.
The first episode debuted on June 23 on iTunes, Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Zune and the PlayStation Network, with new installments promised weekly. However, the fourth episode, which should’ve been released last Wednesday, never materialized.
At C2E2 this weekend Ben Templesmith and Halo-8 announced they were working on a new project together. Templesmith said it’s an “illustrated film” that will “meld the cinematic storytelling style of comics with good audio/voice acting & some animation/CGI in places.”
“A fusion of many things, and dedicated to the medium itself, rather than an adaptation, which most things ‘motion comics’ actually are currently,” he wrote on his blog. “It’s going to be an interesting ride and Matt Pizzolo, F.J. DeSanto and gang at Halo-8 are giving me a fantastic chance to explore the new dynamics opening up in storytelling media.”
As for the story, Templesmith said it’s “sort of Band Of Brothers…but with SQUID,” mixing a war story with “Cthulhu-ish ideas.” He said there’s no release date yet, but he also plans to adapt it into comic form at some point.
Up till now, I haven’t been too impressed with the concept of “motion comics,” but Shaun Gardiner has changed my mind.
At the moment, only the prologue of Gardiner’s The Boy with Nails for Eyes is up, but it’s already obvious that this is going to be an extraordinary comic. Gardiner uses animation to slowly bring the reader through the images, and he uses music (of his own composition) and sound effects to set the atmosphere and pacing. His art is nothing short of amazing, combining ink and collage with a limited palette of blacks, browns, and dark reds to create the mood and set up the elements of the story. The story itself isn’t clear yet, but interestingly, it starts with images of crows over a gritty industrial town, suggesting one type of story, and then brings in giant cathedral-bots, which kind of shifts the mood. Anyway, it’s well worth a look; the few minutes it takes to view the prologue are time well spent. If that gets you curious for more, check out Craig Smith’s interview with Gardiner at the Motion Comics blog.
Word actually leaked out on Friday that Marvel’s next motion comic will be Iron Man: Extremis, but the publisher makes it official this morning with this announcement, and trailer, on Entertainment Weekly‘s PopWatch blog.
As we speculated last week, the motion comic adapts the 2005 story arc by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov that heavily influenced the story and look of the first Iron Man film.
The first six episodes of Iron Man: Extremis will be available for download from iTunes, Zune and Xbox Live for $1.99 each beginning April 16 — ahead of the premiere of Iron Man 2 on May 7. Each additional episode will be released every two weeks.
Marvel’s next motion comic will be Iron Man Extreme, presumably an adaptation of the “Extremis” story arc by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov that influenced the 2008 film.
The news leaked out this morning in a Chicago Sun-Times interview with Marvel executives Ira Rubenstein and Tom Brevoort about the publisher’s digital-publishing initiatives.
During an exchange about motion comics, Rubenstein (executive vice president of the company’s Global Digital Media Group) notes, “The new one for Iron Man Extreme is coming out.” Brevoort, vice president-executive editor, adds: “I worked on the original comic that’s based on, so I’m really interested in seeing that.” No release date was mentioned.
A Marvel spokesman had no comment.
Beginning in January 2005′s Invincible Iron Man #1, “Extremis” was a six-issue arc that updated Tony Stark’s origin, casting him as a weapons designer whose creations were being used against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan before the first Gulf War. The origin and armor designs in the Iron Man movie closely resembled those in “Extremis.”
Iron Man Extreme will be Marvel’s third motion comic, following Astonishing X-Men and Spider-Woman.
At this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, Brian Michael Bendis said that this week’s Spider-Woman #7 would be the last issue of the series. Over on his message board forum, he shares a few more details on why the book is ending:
alex did the work of 24 issues just to make this story. it was a lot of concentrated spider-woman for one man. i got to come and go to other projects. this was all he was doing, day in and day out. when we got to 7, he needed a break. i didn’t want to go on with it without him.
meanwhile, we’ve been deving our new icon book for two years. its something different. something bold. it’s time to do that. if you love our work, you’ll love it. it will be announced in chicago.
this was not a matter of sales or interest. we were number one on itunes for weeks.
thank you for digging her as much as i . she will be in every issue of avengers. and when the dust clears marvel has told us to consider returning to it and we might.
After an Origin limited series in 2005, Spider-Woman returned to her own ongoing series last fall, along with a “motion comic” on iTunes. Her previous ongoing last 50 issues before being canceled in 1983.
Publishing | Bestselling author James Patterson is partnering with IDW Publishing for adaptations of his novels and comics based on new material. The first title, a five-part miniseries based on Patterson’s young-adult novel Witch & Wizard, will debut in May.
“Comics could reach a much larger audience than they do right now,” the author tells USA Today. “With all of the quality work and talent that’s out there, this industry could be so much bigger.”
Retailing | Discussion, or perhaps dissection, of retailer Brian Hibbs’ annual BookScan analysis continues: Hibbs, responding to Tom Spurgeon’s criticisms; Eric Reynolds, associate publisher of Fantagraphics; Hibbs, responding to Reynolds; and Johanna Draper Carlson. [Tilting at Windmills]
A motion-comic Web series is in the works based on the successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, confirming rumors that began back in June.
Sci Fi Wire reports that voice casting has begun for Faith, Kennedy and Robin Wood — all familiar to viewers of the television series — and Season Eight characters such as Lady Genevieve Savidge, Roden and Twilight. And if you sound like Daniel Craig, the casting director has a part just for you.
Interview dates are set for this week, which makes it seem as if production is moving fairly quickly.
Sci Fi Wire has the full list of roles and character descriptions. Meanwhile, this comments thread at Whedonesque has fan reaction.
The company will transform the former Virgin Megastore into a three-story outdoor screen to show the adaptation of the bestselling comic by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.
Astonishing X-Men is Marvel’s second motion comic. Spider-Woman, by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, debuted in August.
The premiere will serve as the centerpiece for the first “Marvelfest” in Union Square Park, which will feature appearances by creators, a costume contest and giveaways. The event begins at 6 p.m.
Digital Comics | Dark Horse announced via press release that both Umbrella Academy and Hellboy: Seed of Destruction are available through the iTunes Store, with subsequent issues available soon. Seed of Destruction is available as four issues at $0.99 each, or as a bundle of all four issues for $3.99. The first issue of Apocalypse Suite is available for free, with issues #2–#6 only $0.99 each, or a bundle of all six issues for $4.99.
Digital Comics | Disney Comics Worldwide shares more details on Disney’s DigiComics initiative. They’ll eventually be rolled out worldwide, starting in December in English-speaking countries and Italy. They’ll be available for the iPhone, iPod and Sony PSP, and eventually Disney hopes to expand to other platforms like Nokia phones and the Wii. The stories will initially come from “the huge archive that The Walt Disney Company Italy has built up in the last 50 years.”
Motion Comics | All five episodes of the Spider Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. motion comic are now available for free viewing on Hulu. Because it is “intended for mature audiences,” you’ll have to register and verify your age.
A couple of tidbits about upcoming BOOM! projects popped up on the internet recently. First up, Wil Wheaton posts on his blog that he recently did the voice work for an Irredeemable motion comic. Wheaton will provide the voice of Mr. Qubit, the leader of the resistance against The Plutonian.
And second, Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon posted on Twitter that he’s working on a “top secret” project for the publisher. He didn’t offer any other details, and neither did BOOM! when asked.
Tablets | Gizmodo reports on the long-rumored Apple Tablet device, saying that Apple “is in talks with several media companies rooted in print, negotiating content for a ‘new device.’” In addition, Apple has also applied for a patent on a “multi-touch surface that could accommodate two full hands and distinguish between palms and individual fingers for typing, gestures and more,” according to the Apple Insider.
Scott McCloud comments on the potential for such a device to change comics: “Most of today’s comics publishers are likely to jump into the pool with their clothes on—print-style pages intact. But if Apple’s gadget is anything like what’s being described, we could see a shift over time from point-and-click fragmented delivery, like what we have on the Web today, to more continuous spatial metaphors of the sort a lot of us turn-of-the-century mad scientists were playing with. Should be interesting.”