Comics Go Digital

Hoping to reach their existing audience in a whole new way, and capture new fans, comic books are going interactive. So-called interactive digital comics (IDCs) put the traditional comic book on a DVD and transform it into a multi-media, interactive experience.

The first titles from Intec Interactive are expected in mass-market retailers such as Wal Mart, Toys ‘R Us and Best Buy in mid-September. Initial titles Way of the Rat, Sojourn, Scion, Meridian and Negation from CrossGen will be joined in October with Marvel titles The Incredible Hulk, Ultimate X-Men, Daredevil, Wolverine and The Ultimates. According to Intec execs, the company will soon be signing deals with additional publishers. Sock Puppet is handling the production side for each release.

To create DVD IDCs, comic books are digitized frame-by-frame and then enhanced with motion software, professional voiceovers, sound effects and music in 5.1 surround sound. Resulting DVDs can be played on multiple platforms such as a DVD player, PlayStation 2 console, Xbox system or PC/Mac DVD drive. Because they will be sold at big-box retailers and not just comic and bookstores, the company hopes to capture new audiences. “Kids today are at the mall, the game store, on the Internet (and) with their parent at the grocery store,” says comic book publisher and CrossGen VP of product development Tony Panaccio. “We need to be where the kids are if we’re going to reach them.”