Being in the comic book business is an expensive and persistent effort. The high cost of producing a comic book coupled with many middlemen taking a piece of the pie and the expense of putting paper products in stores needs an alternative for those trying to break in the business. Yes, comiXology has thrown their hat into the ring with their new Submit venture, which to be fair is a pretty good deal for creators but is only of benefit after a comic is created.
For those still trying to wrap their mind around what Madefire does, the best analogy that I can offer is that they are the Industrial Light & Magic of comics with the added bonus of creating stories from the ground up. The patented Motion Book Tool offers creators a method of taking their traditional storytelling out of the confines of paper and into the limitless possibilities of digital. They also offer a platform to house and launch these stories, which can now be used on any digital device.
This is something that a site like deviantART has been looking for. For those not in the know, deviantART is the 7th largest social media site according to the E-Biz rankings. They get over 25 million unique visitors every month, most of which are artists and creators.
The benefits of this venture for both companies are very big on reward and low on risk. Some folks out there have questioned the benefit of this for deviantART, like Bleeding Cool’s announcement of this partnership written by Rich Johnston. I believe folks like him don’t really get what Madefire does and that there is no one capable of doing what they do.
For starters, they have some of the finest minds developing the platform for their motion books. A credential check is not required if you run in the tech world circle. Secondly, they have a unique and talented team at work developing the motion book tool, constantly evolving the application. Lastly, this platform is highly prohibitive to piracy of creator-owned works.
It will be a long time before anyone can crack the current motion book tool application and make copies of the motion books for use outside of their platform. These are not PDF files. It is an entire process from creation of the motion book to the end-user. This makes Madefire’s entire process a highly desirable format going forward into the future of digital because it can protect creators from lost income, which determines in many cases whether they can continue to deliver content.
Having spent my younger years working for a start-up during the dot-com boom and implosion, I believe Madefire has positioned themselves in a place where they have learned from the mistakes of previous start-ups. While we see that the film and music industries have made a lot of missteps going into the digital age that are still dogging them, comics doesn’t have to suffer the same fate.
I see this venture as an enterprise of equals who both have something extremely solid to offer creators of comics, art, or books everywhere. For those who know the difficulties of trying to break into the business of comics, this merger should prove to be a welcome addition to the business that makes dollars and sense. Here’s to comics’ future, starting with Madefire and deviantART.