Over on Blog@Newsarama, Paul Levitz, the President of DC Comics, has presented the community with the company’s current thoughts on the digital medium and where they might take it. Judging by the reader feedback thus far, it seems they still have a long way to go before they “get it”.
This most recent attempt is an animated(ish) version of the popular series-turned-graphic novel-soon-to-be-turned-into a movie, Watchmen. Though I am certainly an avid fan of both Marvel and DC and have been for years now, I can cop to having never read this beloved classic. Just for kicks, I also love movies and have yet to see Gone With The Wind or any of The Godfather trilogy.
So until I see the Watchmen Motion Comic (I guess they want to make it obvious what it is…?) for myself, I can only rely on the words of those who, at least purportedly, have seen it and can make judgments on the quality and promise of such a service. You can read my favorite comments after the break…
Overall, it’s what you would expect in a comment thread for a story written by a major authority on the subject (and Levitz is certainly that). The general reaction is positive, ranging from “Good gravy! What an exciting time to be a fan!” (Generalzod33) to ” […] I thought it brought a cinematic feel to the comic, with the pacing, music, and change of focus that non-comic readers might not be used to imaginingâ€¦” (Dave).
Of course, the vocal minority have their say as well, panning the work as, “[…] one of the worst things I think Iâ€™ve ever seen.” (Phil) Aaron Poehler, who obviously doesn’t understand the anonymity clause you must sign before posting online, notes that, “[…] any attempt at making video content shot directly from comics is doomed to look cheap, shoddy, and amateurish.” Dr. M wraps things up nicely by recalling, “Isnâ€™t ‘Motion Comics’ something we old people used to refer to as ‘Animation?’
Soon after this comment, which seemed to really put a definite cap on the discussion, the focus shifted to digital comics as a whole new medium and how they can or cannot succeed in today’s market. As a regular reader of various print titles, I was especially interested to see what everyone came up with.
Julius Brown lays in all out on the table, telling both companies to “[…] get cheap digital comics out there so that they are plentiful and people can read them. There are always issues of readability, formatting and what type of viewer to use to read them, but it sounds like youâ€™re trying to bring about comics 2.0 when comics 1.0 arenâ€™t available yet.” Nice burn, Mr. Brown.
Glen Cadigan brings up the very real issue of accessability, detailing his struggle to obtain the Watchmen Motion Comic from the U.S. iTunes store while he lives in Canada. Ultimately, he wasn’t able to download because of the disparity between the hosting of the U.S. and Canadian iTunes services. So Watchmen is great, and seeing it in motion is an amazing experience, but one that only Americans can enjoy? Not cool, DC. You need to fix that, and pronto.
The thread continues to muse about the fate of the print comic book shop in the near future in the face of such threatening ventures as digital comics, another viable topic that deserves it’s own write-up. But for now, what say you? I know there is a cross-section of you readers who love both web and print comics, so what do you think of this latest stab at pinning down the digital medium by a major publisher? Something to ponder or just more of the same stumbling around, looking for the light switch tomfoolery that we’ve come to expect from them? If you’re a U.S. citizen, I invite you to go get the first Watchmen episode and weigh in with your thoughts.