From the Page to the Screen
D2 Comics Pushes the Comic
World to the Digital Space
Throughout the years, few things have remained free of the
touch of the digital era. Everything from trading cards to airplane
tickets have undergone a metamorphosis into a
“paperless” world. Newspapers, magazines, and other
older forms of news propagation have begun declining or adapting to the
shifting world view. But one gathering of old school paper material
that has never been touched in this comic book.
While scanned comics and downloadable versions of comic books
are available via certain mediums, the whole of the comic book legion
still remain true to the paper version of their books. However the
comic book world may be turning upside-down in the next few months due
to the recent announcement of D2 Comics, a joint operation created by
the partnership of D2C Games with RAW Studios. D2 Comics is taking the
digital representation of comic books to a whole new level, and the
comics that are in the RAW stable are the first books to find a place
in the D2 presentation.
alt="BP Main Menu" title="BP Main Menu" name="photo_j"
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The starting menu for style="font-style: italic;">Bad Planet.
At Comic-Con, I had the opportunity to stand in front of one
of the first demos of the D2 Comics and watch as the developers for
this new version of downloadable comics unveiled their masterpiece to
the public. Unlike a “standard” downloadable comic,
which could be represented in either individual images or adobe acrobat
files, the D2 Comics downloadable book is compiled in such a way to
build the narrative of the comic into the actual presentation.
Featuring sound effects, panels that feature moving
characters, dialogue bubbles that appear in various locations, and
amazing resolutions for all their panels, the comic books that D2
Comics is transferring to downloadable versions are a totally different
viewing experience from your typical comic book. Downloadable and
compatible with the PSP, PC, and mobile platforms, you execute each
individual issue of the D2 Comics and they open into a menu much like a
DVD movies root menu. With several options available for each issue,
you choose to either ‘Play’ the comic, choose one
of the ‘Episodes’ or ‘Scenes’,
view any ‘Special Features’, or go to the
As the developers presented the comics, they initially
selected the standard ‘Play’ option. The first RAW
comic that was presented was the grisly and action-packed, Bad Planet.
Immediately I could tell that the D2 Comics interactive version of Bad
Planet would be an amazingly new experience to the comic book world.
Instead of presenting the comic a page at a time, the individuals at D2
Comics made the books viewable a panel at a time. By making the comic
run one panel through each motion, the storytellers behind the comic
book are allowed to bring a whole new element of narrative into the
comic book genre. Mood, pacing, and creativity are all enhanced by the
panel-by-panel narrative version, and there is an ultimate sense that
these creations are a bit more cinematic than their fixed print
alt="Bad Planet 1" title="Bad Planet 1" name="photo_j"
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A scene from the aforementioned style="font-style: italic;">Bad Planet.
For example, in our version of
style="font-style: italic;">Bad Planet, we
opening segment where the citizens of the “bad
planet” discover that their entire population is being
consumed by a host of blood-thirsty tick-like bugs. The story unfolds
in its panel by panel manner, yet ambient explosions and music bring
the story to life in front of your eyes. Like a DVD movie, you can
manipulate the story (pausing, rewinding, etc.) and select from a host
of interactive features. If you’re interested in only the pen
or ink work of an artist, you can eliminate the coloring, than the
inking depending on what sort of look you prefer.
Continuing the tour of Bad Planet, it’s certainly
evident that the producers of the autonomous comic book viewing wanted
more than simple panels to read. One panel flies by the screen, while
another emerges slowly, building up the tension of the scene. A
bug’s pincer moves through a soldier, skewering him with
morbid accuracy. One soldier vomits as he watches his squadmates die
under the onslaught of bugs.
Eventually, our viewing of Bad Planet came to an end and we
began watching Alien
Pig Farm 3000, a sort of 60s or 70s era sci-fi
romp where the women are big breasted and fiery and the men are as
smart as a box of rocks. However, the comic itself is quite
entertaining and this is brought even further into the light when the
developer shows us the “commentary” option that is
integral into some panels. By clicking a button, the panel is paused
and we slip into commentary mode, where the writers and artists of the
comic reveal their motives behind particular scenes and dialogues.
It’s a terrific feature that really helps readers to
understand the true motives behind the comic. With the commentary,
special features, and numerous options compiled one upon the other, the
entire presentation is fabulous.
alt="Alien Pig Farm 4" title="Alien Pig Farm 4"
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To fully understand this scene, you may need a bit of
commentary available on the downloaded comic.
Available in the fall of 2007, the digital comic books will be
open for download for $3.99 (the paper version is $2.99) but you can
download four digital comics for $10, according to Thomas Jane.
Although much of the presentation was handled by the developers and
press relation personnel, Thomas Jane (famous for his role as the
Punisher), was on hand to provide commentary and a bit of celebrity
support for the unveiling. As the founding member of RAW Studios,
Thomas has a bit incentive to get these comics pushed on the digital
D2 Comics will be the first real transition of the
paper-medium of the comic book to the true digital frontier. Kids are
thoroughly integrated into the Internet and their video games in this
day and age, and its incredibly hard to pull them from their video
peripherals. Now, with the efforts of D2 kids will no longer need to be
pulled from their video screens to enjoy a good read.
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