Madefire, the digital comics publishing platform known for its partially animated “motion books” format, has announced four new content partners: comics publishers BOOM!, IDW and Top Cow; and British TV Studio iTV. Madefire, which originally launched with content created in-house, is “now starting to distribute third party titles,” explained cofounder and CEO Ben Wolstenholme.
Madefire launched last year as a digital content platform with Motion Books—selectively animated comics that also offer the option of sound effects—by Wolstenholme, Dave Gibbons, Liam Sharp and others.
Wolstenholme said they are currently offering two models, “one where we help build, one where they build” and the titles will be distributed on iOS via Madefire’s app and on the web through Madefire’s partnership with deviantART.
The initial lineup from the new partnership includes Transformers, Star Trek and My Little Pony from IDW; 2 Guns (the graphic novel that the upcoming film is based on) and Next Testament (by Clive Barker) from BOOM! Studios; The Darkness from Top Cow; and The Trouble With Katie Rogers, an original series being developed for television by iTV Studios America, a branch of the UK broadcaster.
“Madefire has created some amazing original motion books and animation tools,” said Jeff Webber, IDW’s v-p of digital publishing. “They’ve taken everything they’ve learned and developed over the past year and applied it to creating new experiences with some of our top comic brands. The motion book versions of Star Trek, My Little Pony and Transformers comics will reach a whole new audience.”
“The publishers are really embracing a digital-centric approach by making motion books,” says Wolstenholme, who also promises more publisher partnership announcement in the next two months. Wolstenholme was seen at a DC Comics digital event in New York recently and it seems likely something will be announced at DC’s digital panel this week at Comic-Con.
One of the more interesting aspects of Madefire has been their partnership with deviantART, the social media art sharing site, which potentially provides a large audience with comics-compatible sensibilities. Madefire offers their first issues for free on DA, with subsequent issues for the equivalent of 10 cents, later raising the price to the equivalent of one dollar in deviantART’s point system.
Wolstenholme inteds to start out organically and “be part of deviantART, not a foreign insertion,” Madefire has already tried their first push notification inside the DA community. A notification highlighting the first episode of Dave Gibbons’ “Treatment – Tokyo” was sent out to a number of DA members in the “hundreds of thousands” and they found that 10% of those notified read the comic.
As Wolstenholme likes to point out, DA is a fairly transparent system, so it’s easy to look up the responses. On the DA page for that comic, it reports 87,033 views, 4,491 favorites and 1,079 comments, which Wolenstenholme terms “extraordinarily good.”
Madefire intends to start signing up regular DA users to use their tools to create Motion Books at Comic-Con this week.
Madefire and IDW have released a video showing off the motion books process.