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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

DC Comics vamps up its digital titles, will British publishers follow their lead?

DC2 BatmanDC Entertainment has just unveiled two new digital innovations today that the company says will take its comics to "the next level of interactivity" - DC2, a new initiative that layers dynamic artwork onto digital comic panels, adding a new level of dimension to digital storytelling.

DC2 Multiverse technology allows readers to determine a specific story outcome by selecting individual characters, storylines and plot developments while reading the comic, meaning one chapter of a digital comic has dozens of possible story outcomes.

You have to wonder just how much all this interactivity costs - and what the endgame is, in terms of hoped-for sales and response. Many British comic publishers have yet to make bring any significant additional content to their digital offerings to really exploit the digital platform, although ROK Comics - which only publishes digitally - has included audio on all its titles, which has received acclaim from a number of quarters outside the comics industry. The Phoenix Comic app is great, but there's as yet few 'extras' to its digital version that might give it even more of a buzz among its gadget-hungry target audience. DC Thomson are working hard to make the most of what can be done digitally with their digital Dandy, and their electronic offerings of Commando make good combined use of both the releases and a fantastic official web site to promote the recently-revamped title.

(Declaration: I work for ROK Comics).

DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson and Co-Publisher Jim Lee unveiled DC2 and DC2 Multiverse at the opening of Time Warner’s “The Future of Storytelling” exhibition at the Time Warner Medialab in New York.

“Since we made the game changing decision to go Same-Day-Digital with the launch of DC Comics – The New 52, we very strategically built our digital business to have the broadest distribution and most extensive Digital-First content line-up, and now we’re at the forefront of innovation,” stated Nelson. “DC2 and DC2 Multiverse leverages technology to make iconic characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Green Lantern even more relevant through highly interactive storytelling.”

DC2 will first appear in the highly-anticipated new Digital-First title Batman ’66, based on the popular 1960s television show, and the dynamic artwork features will bring the show’s action and retro attitude to life for comic readers. Readers will experience an expanded storytelling canvas as each comic panel tells a multi-dimensional story through layered artwork and sequences.

Digital-First title Batman: Arkham Origins, based on the upcoming video game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will be the first to showcase DC2 Multiverse.

DC2 Batman

DC2 Multiverse features dynamic artwork, along with action sounds and the ability to integrate a soundtrack – all while allowing readers to determine the fate of each storyline and character, including Super Heroes and Super Villains, with multiple options and end results available in each comic chapter. Only with DC Comics’ compelling rogues gallery will fans be just as excited to see what happens to Black Mask as they are to follow Batman’s adventures.

“Digital comics have proven to be a driving force in attracting new readers, in fact, since the onset of Same-Day-Digital our print and digital sales have both risen by double and triple digits, respectively,” stated Lee. “With Digital-First titles we’ve created a successful formula of pairing comics with other media forms like TV shows and video games. Today’s announcements demonstrate how we can tie innovations that organically fit and enhance comics – for example with atman: Arkham Origins you can choose the destiny of your character by playing the game and reading the comic.”

In addition to offering its Same-Day-Digital print line-up, DC Entertainment’s  line-up of Digital-First titles includes  Injustice: Gods Among Us, Adventures of Superman, Arrow, Legends of the Dark Knight, Smallville: Season 11, the Beyond series, Batman: Li'l Gotham and upcoming titles Batman ’66 and Batman: Arkham Origins. Additionally, last year DC Entertainment secured the most expansive digital distribution of all comic publishers by forging new deals with Kindle Store, iBookstore and Nook Store, in addition to its previous distribution on all comiXology platforms.

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