While Valiant’s 9-figure movie deal is hard to beat for this week’s news, they aren’t the only comics publisher going multi media. Black Mask Studios is also launching a yYouube series of comics and has an animated film based on Godkiller coming up. They revealed their plans in the NY Times:
The main YouTube channel, which will begin with five series, is intended to build a new audience for the comics and a showcase for better “motion comics,” which combine characteristics of print and animation. Black Mask has invested in voice actors to improve narration and directors to present and pace the comics.
The channel launched yesterday with Ballistic, 12 Reasons To Die, Five Ghosts, Hack/Slash, and Liberator. While “motion comics” have had a spotty track record, Black Mask’s Matt Pizzolo has a film background and seems o have learned from the past. More details arrived in a press release today:
Publishing and production company Black Mask Studios debuted its latest tech-entertainment innovations in today’s New York Times: tubecomics, a new digital comics format, and Blackmask.tv, a YouTube multi-channel network that will serve as tubecomics’ home. The format/platform duo are designed to encourage ad-supported binge-viewing of comics, a project developed by Black Mask co-founder Matt Pizzolo, who Wired Magazine named ‘World’s Most Wired Comics Creator’ for his forward-thinking ideas about marrying art with technology.
The Blackmask.tv network launches today with five initial series: the sci-fi actioner Ballistic, Ghostface Killah and RZA’s horror odyssey 12 Reasons To Die, supernatural pulp adventure Five Ghosts, monster-hunter super-heroine series Hack/Slash, and the animal-rescuing vigilantes tale Liberator. The network will post new episodes weekly and additional series monthly. Tubecomics replicate the panel-by-panel reading style of a digital comic, but do so in a video format that can be viewed on any device from HDTVs to smartphones and tablets, adding voice narration and music to the package. Unlike motion comics, tubecomics do not add animation–Black Mask is placing an emphasis on tubecomics retaining the structural integrity of the paper comics’ art and story.
Pizzolo added “The quality of story and craft in comics is really at an amazing level right now, but it’s still very difficult to get readers to take chances on new stories and new characters and new creators. Meanwhile, there’s a billion people watching YouTube and, while there’s a ton of really cool stuff happening there, no one’s quite cracked how to do longform, dramatic, narrative storytelling on YouTube… which is a shame because the audience and DIY accessibility of YouTube is unparalleled. We think there’s a unique opportunity here to bridge the two problems and create a smart solution that’s a win for everybody. Comic lovers can sample new comics in a free, Hulu-style way while YouTube audiences can immerse themselves in some of the most beautiful art and best storytelling around.”
Black Mask launched back in 2013 as an alternate means of distributing content, with Pizzolo, Epitaph’s Brett Gurewitz and comics creator Steve Miles behind it. They’ve gone from digital release to print and now “mobile comics” for lack of a better term. They’ve always had a strong line-up creatively so it will be interesting to see how this works, especially projected on people’s 48″ tvs.
The first part of the Godkiller film will be released before this year’s Comic-Con.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.