Madefire is the latest comic book reading app to hit iTunes. Every title has motion, sound and transitions that help bring the story to life. The app is defined as being “An immersive audio, visual and motion reading experience. Recently, I was given the chance to be one of the first to experience the app while in its testing phase and at first glance, it looks interesting. The colors are bright, the transitions are neat and the overall experience is more than what you get from most comic book apps.
After looking over the title, Treatment: Tokyo, I started to realize I’d seen the effects before in the Marvel Infinite comics. The colors and transitions are very similar. One difference I noticed, was Madefire has sound synched to the pages of the book. This can be a neat feature or an annoying one. Either way, you have the power to control it with your device.
Many digital comic books are designed for print and then made to work with digital apps. The stories presented in Madefire are written for the digital experience. One of their goals is to create “short-burst reading, with content from ten minutes and up.”
When it comes to pricing, Madefire content will be free for the next few months and new “episodes” will be available weekly. Other comic book creators who decide to take advantage of the tools Madefire provides, can sell their content at their own price within the app.
With stories written by some well-known writers in the industry such as Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Mike Carey (The Unwritten), Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra: Assassin), and Robbie Morrison (The Adventures of Nikolai Dante), the content is sure to catch their target audiences attention.
Overall, I could see this as being the next big thing in the comic book reading experience. It’s not perfect, however.
The first issue is limited genre of the material. Seeing a guy’s head get lobbed off in HD is not my thing. When asked about the content, the founders explained that they have plans for more women directed and kid friendly material, but at launch they were aiming for the fourteen to forty male comic book readers.
I understand from a business standpoint why they did that, but it still bothers me. As a consumer, the fact that they decided not to market anything towards women or children makes me feel left out and unimportant.
The second issue I have is how much power the app pulled from my battery. I could tell a big difference after reading one motion comic book as opposed to my other apps. This is understandable because of the nature of the app, but it’s still causes a power drain.
The amount and type of content currently available is just not appealing to me. If I hadn’t talked with the founders about their future content plans, as a regular consumer I would have deleted it and not given it a second thought. On the other hand, long-time comic fans might find much to like from the well-known creators.
I know my six-year old son would love to see his comic books in this layout, but the content is just not there yet for him to experience it.
It’s not an app I will be using for the foreseeable future. While the look of the comics is amazing, the content available is just not interesting enough to keep me hooked.
As always though, download the app and try it out for yourself. You might find the stories and atmosphere to be something that interests you.
Madefire is currently only available for the iPad.