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Who Watches the…Comics? Dave Gibbons on the Motion Comics Experience.
By Todd Matthy

The world is changing. Thanks to the Internet, what was once breaking news in a newspaper, is outdated within a couple of hours. The same thing is happening with comics. Well drawn but printed static images no longer excites the youth of the digital-age. Can comics survive? Of course they can, and one of the ways they will is through Motion Comics. Motion Comics takes the actual images from a comic and animates them, while voice actors narrate the words creating a hybrid of an animated cartoon with a classic comic book.
Last year, DC Comics unveiled the medium on iTunes with a Motion Comic of the groundbreaking series, Watchmen. “When I first saw the Motion Comic I didn’t know what to make of it,” Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons told Metal Machine after a panel about Motion Comics.

“I kind of thought along the lines of do we really need this?” What changed Dave’s opinion? When after viewing the first Motion Comic, his two stepdaughters (both of whom hadn’t read Watchmen) asked the crucial question, ‘what happens next?’ It was then that Dave Gibbons realized Motion Comics weren’t for “dyed in the wool comic book guys” like himself and more for the digital generation.
“The Motion Comic is not a replacement for the book just as the movie is not a replacement for the book,” Dave said. “I think it’s another effective way of telling the story and hopefully turn them onto the graphic novel and graphic novels in general.”
When asked whether or not Motion Comics will destroy the comic reading experience, Dave said “no”, citing how the release of the Watchmen movie caused an enormous spike in sales of the graphic novel. He also thinks that Motion Comics are more of a viewing experience then a reading experience due to the voices and animation and creators are still working out the most effective way to deliver these stories to the kids of today. As for Motion Comics determining which comics are made into films, Dave believes it will have no effect. He also does not believe we will see every comic made into a Motion Comic.

While Motion Comics still have a ways to go in their development (voice acting wise at least) it will be interesting to watch the growth of this new and exciting medium. While publishers are looking toward comics’ future, Dave Gibbons is looking at the past, specifically the Sunday Funnies. Dave is the writer of the Kamandi comic strip in DC Comics weekly anthology, Wednesday Comics. When asked if it was difficult switching to a one page rather than twenty-two page format Dave answered, “Most English (British) comics were published in one-two page weekly formats,” and that he really wanted to ”return to the classic Prince Valiant method of storytelling with blocks of narrative text rather then balloons. It was quite an unusual thing to write but I found I was able to compress really quite easily because of my experience reading that kind of stuff growing up.” When asked about the Kirby influence he said he feels the format is a way to pay tribute to Kirby “by returning to the roots of his creations.”
As for who whether or not Frank Miller is easier to work with than Alan Moore said “they have different ways of working…Alan is like Mozart. He hears the whole symphony in his head and writes down every note he can think of whereas Frank was a great virtuoso like Myles Davis who technically plays wonderfully but is quite happy to go off on a wild notion.” Dave didn’t give a preference but said, “they’re both great talents” and that he would love to work with them again.

For More on Todd Matthy, please “Check out Todd’s fiction at Sledgehammer Productions” at www.sledgehammerproductions.wordpress.com/

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