DC Entertainment has entered into a partnership with Madefire, a digital studio producing “Motion Books,” a hybrid format that adds sounds and limited motion to comics, while keeping the control for pace of reading up to the reader. The partnership is launching with Batman: Arkham Origins – A DC2 MultiVerse Graphic Novel, an original graphic novel released as an iOS app and via the Madefire app.
The graphic novel is a prequel to the recently released Batman: Arkham Origins video game and features a novel twist in what DC is calling a “multi-path reading experience.” Designed exclusively for the Madefire platform, Arkham Origins starts out as a Motion Book, but as the reader taps through the panels and pages of the story, a decision point is reached and the reader must make a narrative choice for Batman, forinstance, which suspect to investigate. This is where the “multi-path” comes in. Readers of a certain age will likely think of this as a “choose your own adventure” book, except in this case, the reader doesn’t have to flip ahead in the book. The transition is programmed and automatic.
The app itself is free, with the first chapter costing $0.99 and each subsequent chapter of the 8-part, bi-weekly series priced at $1.99. Chapters on Madefire’s app will be $1.99. Also available is a $14.99 series pass that further ties in with the video game by offering two exclusive skins, “New 52 Metallic Batman” and “Injustice Batman,” with the purchase of the pass. The writer on the Arkham Origins graphic novel is Adam Beechen with Christian Duce as the primary artist.
“Everyone is seeing it as somewhat inevitable that there will be a digital component to reading,” explained Madefire CEO Ben Wolstenholme. “[Arkham Origins] is a landmark in terms of storytelling in this way.”
Madefire has previously teamed up with IDW for motion books based on licensed properties My Little Pony, Star Trek and the Transformers, and they are also working with BOOM!,Top Cow and British TV Studio iTV on adapting material to their platform. In October they announced a $5.2 million round of funding.
It’s somewhat unusual for DC to have a solo app specific to a comic series. While the likes of Star Trek and Transformers will have apps specifically dedicated to their comics, this is the first time a DC app will be focused on a particular title.
Also getting the Motion Book treatment is Injustice: Gods Among Us, DC’s breakout digital comic hit, also based on a video game, which will be available on Madefire’s app for $1.99 a chapter and on deviantARTC.com. Injustice will not, however, be a multi-path title, just adapted to the Motion Book format.
As the initial foray into the DC2 MultiVerse program, Arkham Origins has a very defined length and role: it’s a prequel to the game. “You’re going to see Bruce Wayne trying a lot of things out as he becomes Batman,” says Hank Kanalz, SVP, Vertigo & Integrated Publishing, DC Entertainment.
Kanalz has confirmed that while this is their first use of the Madefire platform, the second series is already being worked on and isn’t necessarily something that will be capped at 8 installments. “The next one has infinite possibilities,” teased Kanalz.