Madefire Gives Comics A Digital Storytelling Upgrade
Join the front line in a battle against crime. Escape from a city known as “The Irons.” Search for an outcast man who is the only hope for justice. These are just a few of the story lines that the Madefire App is bringing to illustrated life on iPad tablets. If you’re a comic fan who couldn’t attend this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, maybe Madefire news can offer graphic consolation.
The Madefire app became available on iPads in June. The app offers digital comics created specifically for tablet devices. Well, not so much comics, but “motion books.” While other apps like Comixology have transitioned classics to the tablet, Madefire’s focus has been on harnessing and pushing the potential of the medium. The original story for each motion book is meant to be an interactive reading experience. The plan is to release new episodes of current motion books biweekly.
Motion books are comic books-graphic novels in serial format with a touch of movie making magic. These stories take advantage of the iPad’s gyroscope, accelerometer, and touch screen hardware. Illustrated objects or characters move along with the device. Your average left-to-right reading experience is enhanced by immersive audio and visual flourishes.
The Madefire team appears very conscientious of proving that their gadgetry and technical magic will support rather than overwhelm storytelling. Motion books will not feature any continuously animated elements to avoid confusion people might have while reading stories. These are not cartoons or movies. Madefire motion books feature original content from legendary creators, and will continue to update stories with future episodes.
To exploit comic storytelling’s full tablet potential, Madefire enlisted the help of masters. Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame, Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra: Assassin), Robbie Morrison (The Adventures of Nikolai Dante) and Mike Carey (The Unwritten) all lent their imagination and talents to the creation of the first motion books.
The founding team is comprised of anything but sidekick, super hero wannabes. Ben Wostenholme has been the CEO & Creative Director of Moving Brands since 1998. He also helped co-create the Madefire story Mono, a series of tales reviving the legend of an “ape-human-hybrid secret agent and Queen’s assassin.” Eugene Walden (co-founder of 4delite, now known as 4mads) and Liam Sharp–renowned artist, writer, and founder of the award-winning Mamtor Publishing–make up the other two-thirds of the mighty founding triumvirate.
Shortly after release, Madefire moved quickly from the “New and Noteworthy” page at The App Store to “What’s Hot.” The company so far has raised at least $2 million in funding from True Ventures. Advisors include Flipboard founder and CEO Mike McCue, former Apple SVP of applications Sina Tamaddon, and Automattic CEO Toni Schneider.
Madefire’s technology is free to all creators, which amounts to an open invitation for innovators to work their magic with the Motion Book Tool. Creators can set their own prices for in-app purchases. Madefire intends to profit by taking a share of motion book sales in the future and by licensing its technology to other publishers. Look for several installments of this unfolding adventure tale.