It seems like motion comics, or rather things along the lines of motion comics, are a mini-trend concern. I’m not seeing recent examples of full-on motion comics with character voices, but Motionworks has thrown their hat into the ring with Sundown, a Gothic western by The Crow’s James O’Barr.
I’m not sure I’d call-this a full-on motion comic, since you’re still reading the comic, not having the the dialogue as voice over, but the rest of the format trappings are there. There’s some motion in many of the panels. You swipe to advance panels/pages (or you can opt for it to automatically advance after 4 seconds). There’s background music and a few sound effects, so it’s closer to Madefire than Thrillbent on the continuum of not-quite-motion comics to very slightly animated comics.
I probably would’ve opted for some more traditional comic fonts, but you’re essentially looking at a mildly to moderately animated James O’Barr western with a mysterious stranger and a very odd horse leaving death in their wake.
This project has been gestating since at least 2010, with this vintage O’Barr youtube video detailing it’s origins (probably falls under the minor spoilers category.
Motionworks recently launched as an alternative to motion comics, offering users an immersive experience. Each project starts with a talented creator and a fresh concept, but grows from there. Essentially, it becomes an experience in-between comics and animated films, Motionworks fuses traditional comics with animated film components.
“Everyone we show it to says it feels like a movie, but different,” said Alexis Alarcon, CEO of Motionworks Entertainment.
The first property, Sundown, is a gothic western thriller currently available on iPad and Android devices. This story is based on the concepts of James O’Barr, the creator of the Crow. But fans will be surprised by the creative additions to the storytelling including innovations such as a translation mode.
“But storytelling comes first, not the gizmos”, said Alarcon.
Motionworks is committed to moving users along quickly from the discovery phase of interactivity, essentially looking for things to touch, to a deeper degree of immersion, making the reader to “experience” Sundown.
“Sundown: White Birch is an mix of flawless illustrations, beautiful music, and excellent animation–which wouldn’t mean anything if the story wasn’t engaging–but the characters and plot grips you from panel one, immersing you completely in this gothic western world until The End. I highly recommend this interactive comic. It’s at the top of its class,” Ellie Ann Soderstrom, producer/author at Noble Beast.
Future releases will span across genres, including Octane, a post-apocalyptic thriller, The Ruppie Girls, an All-Ages adventure, The Katie Greaven Chronicles, a steampunk series and many others. Octane and The Ruppie Girls will debut in April. (Sundown is already available in iTunes and Android)
“The future is even more exciting: There is a 4th element that we will introduce in our user experience: Participation. We want to immerse the user inside the story,” said Alarcon. “Imagine the story interacting socially with the user. Imagine the user changing some of the outcome of the story.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.