Comics that really speak
Comics have been around for a long time and in order to ensure they’re here for a bit longer publishers have begun to make a transition in to the age of eBook readers, iPads and even augmented reality.
I first saw comics using AR technology back in February, when Valiant Comics released a special first issue of XO – Manowar. I was surprised (and slightly disappointed) it was not a crossover issue in which the cast of teen drama Gossip Girl and the 80s metal band Manowar fought to the death, but the world’s first talking comic book.
As shown in the video, the book ‘talks’ when the reader scans a QR Code on the front page with their iPhone and holds it above it. Admittedly, it’s a very, very, very corny gimmick that only a comic book would ever try to pull off but it’s an interesting example of how a traditionally print based medium like comic books is beginning to integrate itself in to the digital age.
Marvel Comics have been making a similar, but much more immersive and rewarding use of QR codes and Augmented Reality technology through their ReEvolution app, that hopes to bridge the gap between print and digital by providing users with downloadable content that improves the overall comic book experience.
In terms of practicality and ease of use, perhaps the most significant way the industry is embracing and integrating new media and technology is through digital comics.
Comixology is essentially the iTunes of digital comics; it’s a multiplatform application that functions as both a store front and a reading tool that allows users to sign up and purchase and read digital comics. Its jam packed with all kind of old and new content from a range of publishers, from read before you die classics like Watchmen to lesser known independent comics like Box Office Poison and Any Empire.
The cool thing about digital comics and applications like Comixology is that they make things a lot more accessible for comic new comers. Where once we had to trawl whole bunch of issues at the click of a button.
Comic book stores (which to a new-be might seem pretty intimidating), now they can access a whole bunch of issues at the click of a button.