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Motion books hit mainstream publishing

Madefire is an iPhone and iPad based comics start-up, backed by True Ventures, that specialises in creating content specifically for mobile and tablet devices. This content comes in the form of “motion books”; artwork that has been combined with sound effects and animation to enhance users’ comic reading experience (although it retains text boxes and dialogue, differentiating it from “motion comics”).

Back in April, Madefire partnered with DeviantART, the creative platform with over 28 million members, in a bid to bring its motion book offering to a wider audience and curate a wealth of user-generated content. DeviantART CEO Angelo Sotira said that Madefire was a prime example of the “new storytelling tools” that he is always looking for to continue growth in his community. DeviantART functions as an online shop front for Madefire’s original titles alongside its iOS channel.

DeviantART has a stellar reputation for fostering new and undiscovered talent – statistically speaking, there have got to be a large portion of excellent content creators out of 28 million users. Madefire’s latest step has been to make sure that the motion book community gets more legitimacy in the publishing world, and it has done so by partnering with a number of established publishers, including comics giant IDW, ITV Studios America, Top Cow and Boom! Studios. Historically, Madefire has put out original content for free. These new partnerships will enable Madefire to apply the “motion book” treatment to a slew of existing titles, from Star Trek to My Little Pony, and will mark the beginning of Madefire charging for certain content.

Much like 3D technology in the film industry, co-founder Ben Wolstenholme believes that the motion book is “in a bit of a transition”, in that some publishers will be keen to convert established money-makers while others will be keen to develop experiences that are native to this new medium. Wolstenholme is adamant though that, despite its new high profile partnerships (and rumour has it that DC has been knocking), Madefire will remain a platform for original titles as well as franchises.

User-generated fiction content has been an area of interest recently, following the launch of Amazon Worlds, an officially sanctioned platform where users can write and publish “fan fiction”. Who knows, maybe the next chapter in this sage will involve animated fanfiction – now there’s a thought.

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