Founded in 2010 in Toronto by Jim Woo and John McLachlan who have careers in the ad industry, The Comic Machine comics are unique because they are created and optimized for digital viewing on the iPad without the constraints of adapting an existing print edition. The app, available now on iTunes, uses xml code to control the display of dialogue bubbles and cropped images that float on layers above the page. With each tap the page builds and animates automatically and then rests to allow the user to read before loading the next set of actions. With an investment from Telefilm Canada’s CMF fund, the publisher set out to develop a new digital comic book platform for the iPad.
The Comic Machine artists and writers are also unique to the industry. Concept artists who work in the video game industry were recruited to create completely digital art on multiple layers. The art file’s layers are then exported individually to create the floating sections. On the writing side, TV and film screenwriters, familiar with rich storylines and dialogue, were used to take advantage of refreshable word balloons and cinematic transitions such as zoom, fade and pan.
To date, the platform that is overwhelmingly used by most comic publishers is licensed by Comixology. Released in 2009, it’s Guided View reading technology invigorated digital comic sales. According to Comic Machine founder, Jim Woo, “The problem with Comixology, is that it’s still based on a printed comic. They are basically taking flat comic art and zooming in on each panel.” Marvel and DC, who uses the Comixology software, has experimented with a digital format similar to The Comic Machine but without the rich digital features and all digital content.
Some special features include:
- Dynamic Layers:? The Comic Machine fully supports floating layers that can be transitioned and moved.
- Full Screen Hi Res Art: ?If you’re a fan of art then there’s no better comic app. Contributing artists work with digital tools to create stunning art in multiple layers and in full retina display resolution.
- Fade In – Fade Out: ?Images or dialogue bubbles can be revealed and removed with variable timing.
- Zoom In – Zoom Out: ?Variable speed zooming with cinematographic feel.
- Linear Or Rotating Movement: ?Cropped layers can be moved with variable timing and in any direction. This can also be used to achieve parallax (foreground and background planes panning at different speeds).
- Multiple Layers Of Text On One Page:? Much more dialogue and narration can be used for each page then the traditional printed or digital comic. ?The writer is free to write as much dialogue and text as the page requires and the reader does not have to always read consecutive bubbles from left to right but rather in the order they appear.
- Looping:? Layers can be repeatedly or perpetually revealed, moved or rotated. Great for incorporating moving atmospheric elements like rain or flickering flames.
- Oversized Image Pinch And Zoom: ?Splash pages with oversized art can be examined if the “inspect” tool appears . The reader can then pause the storyline and then pinch and zoom to examine the art in close up detail without type. Tapping the exit button will return you to the storyline.
- Page Links And Web Browser Links: Links can be place anywhere on the page that link to a specific page in the comic, a specific comic in the in-app store or open Safari to a specific web page url.
Rated 12+ for the following:
- Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity
- Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
- Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
- Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
- Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
- Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.