Do you remember those “choose your own adventure” children’s books that were popular decades ago? Awesome idea for prolonging the entertainment value of a book, but for the most part I remember them being poorly executed, and with characters I never really ended up caring about.
Things probably would have been different if those books were about The Batman. Such is the case with DC’s newly released “Multiverse” comic series based on hit game Batman: Arkham Origins. The comic book publisher, which announced its plans for the series this summer, is teaming up with comic creators/tech geeks at Madefire to produce the new books.
The debut of Multiverse comics comes after the success of DC’s digital comic book business, which has seen the number of titles grow over the last year. While the company didn’t disclose sales growth figures, the increased number of titles — as well as the debut of a new form of digital comic storytelling — may indicate the business is doing well.
The Multiverse comics are presented within their own iOS apps that present you with a set of options to flip to a specific page based on what you want to happen next. The comic book equivalent, however, lets you select different word balloons, which highlights a different portion of art on the page when selected. I would even compare the experience to that of a video game , minus the challenge of having to complete tasks to advance the story. (You’re only tapping the screen and making decisions instead. See the slideshow below for an example.)
“With a new form of storytelling, we wanted to make sure we used the right property, and I think we’ve found that with Batman,” DC Entertainment SVP Hank Kanalz said in an interview with VentureBeat.”The audience of Arkham Origins fans are the right fit [to debut] Multiverse books.”
But perhaps the biggest selling point is that you get multiple stories out of a single book, and not every story path will have the same ending, as I previously speculated.
“When we do the demo for the first chapter, it takes us about 45 minutes, and that’s with us zipping through,” Kanalz added.
That’s a heck of a deal when you consider that an average comic takes about 20 minutes to read and costs $3 to $5 on average. The first chapter of the Arkham Origins Multiverse book, by comparison, gives you more than double the amount of entertainment time and costs $0.99. Subsequent chapters will cost $2, but you also have the option of buying a “season pass” for $15, which will also provide you with two new skins (aka in-game content) for the Arkham Origins video game.
Multiverse books also use Madefire’s technology for optimizing a comic page for touch screen devices, allowing objects to move around using the device’s accelerometer, or having certain elements on the page appear animated. The Arkham Origins Multiverse series will also feature the same soundtrack as its video game counterpart.
Supercharging DC’s line of ‘digital first’ comic series with Madefire tech
DC’s Madefire partnership doesn’t end with the Multiverse books. The company is also debuting an enhanced, motion book version of its Injustice digital comic book series that will be made available for sale within Madefire’s iOS apps and the deviantART web store alongside Hellboy, Star Trek, and Transformers motion books.
The company also plans to start producing future digital first comics within Madefire the same day they go on sale in other digital stores, such as ComiXology, Amazon’s Kindle Store, and more — AND the Madefire versions will sell for the same $0.99 price. So, not only is this a big win for fans of motion books, but also for Madefire.
For a closer look at the new Batman Multiverse comic, check out the demo video from DC embedded below.