By Rohit Chauhan
The world is experiencing a new wave of emerging technology that is delivering high-quality creative efforts never explored before. Comics have been evolving since the early 19th century, becoming a popular medium for entertainment. The classic comic book ruled American pop culture with occasional tweaks in layouts and story themes. It was not until the late 19th century when comic book-inspired superhero movie “Superman” spectacular box-office results influenced the adaptation of comics into various media, televised cartoons, webcomics, etc. Superhero movies continued their successful journey to greater heights and as the world became more digitalized in the early 21st century, demand grew for comic books that could be easily made available on various digital media platforms, smartphones, tablets, and the internet. The future of comics was evolving, moving from printed pages to digital medium - motion comics were born!
Motion comics take the narrative and static artwork from the comic book and use animation (CGI) to create a fascinating impression of moving images, “a multimedia comic.” The comic book images were alive; they could move.
Keeping the storyline and speech bubbles the same as regular comics have, adding voice acting, sound effects, and music enhanced the overall effect of storytelling, giving the audience a feel of cinema. Motion comics can be easily distributed over the internet, smartphones, e-readers, etc. Screen capture from “The Watchmen” motion comic
The potential reach of motion comics in the age of the internet makes it an attractive medium for the mass media and entertainment community to explore and experiment using modern digital tools. The notion of traditional storytelling via comic book is gradually transforming into new motion comic storytelling which can lure millions of new audiences to a medium that is relevant to them. For those from older generations, the idea of story narration in motion comics may seem insane but for many who are hooked to their phone, a crisp voiceover taking the story forward is entertaining.
Motion comics score highly on innovation and viability as a medium of entertainment in the internet age. It is also leading to experimentation and greater sophistication as companies roll out new motion series. The emergence of mobile app-based versions gets their inspiration from motion comics’ art and are destined to become popular among today’s digitally wired audience. The comic book companies are also gearing up to reinvent themselves to produce printed artworks that are rich in color and have a visually impactful version when seen on a mobile screen.
The shorter motion comic version also allows for quick adaption of comic books into local languages by changing the voice-over tracks. The technology-driven changes in format and distribution of comics are also leading to radical changes in storytelling. The shorter motion comic version is slowly gaining ground with the newer audience who are glued to their mobile screens binge-watching video shorts and reels as they are easy to watch at any time and give a much needed instant break of entertainment from today’s hectic life.
Motion comics have no doubt polarized comic book fans to a great extent. Some oppose it outright as the smell of printed paper can never be replaced nor will the value of printed comic books! For others, the transformation from the static version of comics is the need of the hour, lest we let the art die a slow death.
With its unique cinematic approach and high-tech production making, motion comics have an edge over other interactive modes to bring comic book narration to a new digital audience. Will this transition to motion comics sustain with the greater interplay between animation and the comic book or will it lead to something more enriching and creative? Only time will tell!