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Dean Haspiel checks into Warehouse 13

Artist Dean Haspiel already has an Emmy, so it’s no surprise that the television world has taken note of his talents. He shared on his blog that he was hired to do lead character design, lead props and two comic book covers for a 10-part motion comics web series called “Of Monsters and Men” for SyFy’s Warehouse 13. The series can be viewed on the SyFy website for free, and will be added to the season 3 DVD set.

Head over to his blog to view pitch and concept art for the series.

Animating Tatsumi

It’s not exactly a motion comic, but director Erik Khoo has somehow managed to make an animated version of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life. He does this by coloring the panels and introducing limited motion, and in this short YouTube video, he and his staff discuss how they used both live-action sequences to model the motion and computer techniques to transform static panels to moving pictures. Tatsumi seems like a strange candidate for animation, but Khoo says, “You look at his panels, [and] it’s almost like a very well done storyboard for a film.” This making-of film has a definite promotional aspect (everyone uses the full name of every product—that’s the tell), but it is interesting to see the creative and technical decisions that were made in translating the book into film.

Gyakushu is set in motion at Hulu

Dan Hipp’s Gyakushu was originally published by Tokyopop and then moved online for a while (it seems to be gone now) after Tokyopop discontinued their global manga line. Now it is taking on a third life: Tokyopop is publishing volume 3 as a print-on-demand book, and Hulu just posted a motion comic of the first volume. You might as well settle in; it’s 41 minutes long.

Meanwhile, Hipp is posting some awesome fanart at his blog, and it’s all for sale.

NYCC ’10 | Stan Lee teaming with Japanese rock star for motion comic

X Japan

X Japan

One day everyone will have a comic book created by or with Stan Lee. Following the news from this past weekend that Lee is working with the NHL, MTV and 1821 Pictures on new projects, GalleyCat reports that Lee will team with Yoshiki, co-founder of the Japanese band X Japan, on a motion comic featuring a superhero based on the singer.

Yoshiki is doing the music for the project, while Lee will do “whatever else needs to be done,” he said at the New York Comic-Con.

X Japan, a metal band founded in the early 1980s by Yoshiki and Toshimitsu “Toshi” Deyama, has sold over 30 million records and sold out the Tokyo Dome 18 times. After disbanding in 1997, the group reunited in 2007 for an Asian tour, and their first North American tour kicked off late last month. They plan to release their first studio album in more than a decade next year.

Scott McCloud defends (some) motion comics

It's a comic about drinking, OK?

Scott McCloud has posted an example of an animated comic, Vincent Giard’s bol, that works pretty well, along with a brief explanation of how motion comics can work:

The best way I’ve come up with to explain it is that looping animation (and sound, for that matter) still communicate a static span of time. If panel 2 clearly comes after panel 1 and before panel 3, it still feels like comics, even if panel 2 is a short loop of some sort.

It’s a good point, and in this case, the motion gets more and then less pronounced as the comic goes along, so there is a progression to it. Scott says,

The point isn’t whether or not we want to give it a particular label or not, but whether a given comic works as storytelling. Does it feel whole? Can we lose ourselves in the reality of the strip? And in this case, I’d say yes.

I agree that the animation fits the story, but looking a the comic as a whole is a bit like trying to read a comic printed on a bowl of Jell-O.

SDCC ’10 | Bill Sienkiewicz illustrates Dexter webseries

Dexter Morgan, by Bill Sienkiewicz

Dexter Morgan, by Bill Sienkiewicz

Award-winning illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz, best known for comics like New Mutants, Elektra: Assassin and Stray Toasters, will take a stab at serial killer Dexter Morgan with an animated webseries — or is it a motion comic? — based on the acclaimed Showtime drama.

Debuting online in October, Dexter Early Cuts: Dark Echo will follow the character as he’s challenged by a copy-cat killer who doesn’t follow a code. The six chapters are written by Tim Schlattmann, Dexter co-executive producer and staff writer, and voiced by series star Michael C. Hall.

According to, Dark Echo opens immediately after the death of Dexter’s father Harry, with a young Dexter enrolled in medical school, studying to improve his craft. During a kill, he realizes another student has been spying on him, leading to a clash between the two.

Based on a series of novels by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter premiered on Showtime in October 2006. The fifth season begins on Sept. 26. The show was featured this afternoon in two panels at Comic-Con International.

Watch the trailer for Dark Echo after the break.

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AMC reveals The Walking Dead motion comic

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).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight motion comic, trailer debut

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight

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:

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Marvel’s Black Panther motion comic removed from iTunes

Black Panther: Who Is the Black Panther?

Black Panther: Who Is the Black Panther?

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.

C2E2 | Ben Templesmith working on ‘illustrated film’

Black Sky

Black Sky

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.

Comics in motion: The Boy with Nails for Eyes

The Boy with Nails for Eyes

The Boy with Nails for Eyes

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.

Marvel confirms April debut for Iron Man: Extremis motion comic

From "Iron Man: Extremis"

From "Iron Man: Extremis"

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.

Iron Man: Extremis is Marvel’s third motion comic, after Spider-Woman and Astonishing X-Men (both now available for free on Hulu). You can watch the trailer for Extremis at PopWatch.

Marvel to release Iron Man Extreme motion comic

Iron Man: Extremis

Iron Man: Extremis

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.

Bendis comments on end of 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:

Spider-Woman #7

Spider-Woman #7

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.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

The Murder of King Tut

The Murder of King Tut

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.”

Chris Ryall, IDW’s publisher and editor-in-chief, provides additional information on his blog. [USA Today]

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]

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