IDW Publishing is releasing three of its best known licensed comics properties—My Little Pony, Star Trek and the Transformers—on Madefire, a digital comics platform for creating “Motion Books,” partially animated digital comics, beginning August 28. All the IDW comics will be on sale for $1.99 in the MadeFire app and also available on the deviantArt web store via its partnership with Madefire.
IDW is the first of four publishers, including Boom!, Top Cow; and British TV Studio iTV, to release its Madefire comics after announcing plans in early July to join the Madefire comics platform.
IDW’s v-p of digital publishing Jeff Weber, said, “It has been fantastic to see our properties come to life as Motion Books—with just the right amount of animation and audio, it has truly created a new experience. Additionally, the partnership with deviantArt exposes our comics to an incredibly borad network of illustration fans.”
Madefire’s Motion Books, allow creators to create sequential comics scenarios that are also selectively animated, creating a hybrid display in which comics are presented in panels that also offer, in addition to sound, partial movement, panning and dynamic animation. Madefire also has a partnership with deviantArt, the portfolio website that allows for creators to display artwork online, which offers Madefire comics for sell and also plans to offer online access to Madefire authoring tools to the deviantArt community.
MadeFire CEO Ben Wolstenholme, said “the move to digital reading is about more than just scanning in print, we are at the start of a new grammar for books. We are pleased to welcome IDW’s comic book properties to continue to evolve the medium of Motion Books."
In a phone interview with MadeFire editorial director Ben Abernathy, he said that while most of the Madefire original comics available through the app are free, more content will be for sale as more comics by Madefire partners are converted. Currently in the app, Liam Sharp and Bill Sienkiewicz’s Sherlock Holmes mystery sells for $1.99 and Des Taylor’s The Trouble with Katie Rogers also sells for $1.99 per episode.
Abernathy said Madefire handles the conversion of the licensed print comics while IDW oversees the process. Some partners, like iTV, are able to work more or less on their own. “We have several dozen creators and publishers working in the authoring tool by invitation,” he said, including several deviantArt creators who were invited to use the Madefire platform. Madefire and deviantArt announced a partnership earlier this year, and Abernathy said they hope to fully open the Madefire Motion Books authoring tools to the public on deviantArt “later this year.”
“We’re still in an adoptive stage right now,” Abernathy said, “we’re offering a lot of our own content free of charge. But we have a great mix of veteran print comics creators and new creators that we’ve discovered so we plan to have a variety of material.” Abernathy also said to look for more original content alongside the licensed properties. “We’re looking to go in a lot of directions, including the superhero category, which we haven’t explored very much,” he said. “I’m really excited to see more all ages content for kids, crime, noir and edgy science fiction.”