A lot of time has spent talking about the future: of people, culture, medicine, technology, and in this case, comics. Sometimes, we surpass our “future” expectations; sometimes, we don’t quite reach them; sometimes, what we tote as the future doesn’t seem all that far removed from the present. Take comics, for example: the advent of digital art-making programs has sped up comics production for many. The release of digital versions of comics has sped up the company-to-consumer wait period to almost no time at all.
Aside from speed, though, how has the comics industry embraced “the future” of comic digitization? Marvel’s Joe Quesada thinks their company is heading a good direction with Infinite Comics.
“[Infinite Comics is] a new form of storytelling… in which we are able to covey the feel of a traditional comic book, while at the same time using all of the tools that are available to us in the digital realm.”
Quesada explained that Infinite Comics will allow readers to travel through each comic at a much different pace than ever before. As you advance through the comic, sometimes word balloons don’t show up right away. One character can answer another in the same panel, but without the overcrowding that happens if both balloons were there at the same time. Sometimes the panel might get bigger, sometimes smaller, sometimes the depth of field might change… all to alter the perspective of the reader. It seems to me, and Quesada as well, that this will give artists and writers much more control and many more options for ways to lay out a scene in future comics, and frankly, that’s a very exciting feeling.
“I think this is will comics will go in the future, in respect to how they’re delivered digitally. It’s not just the page with the panels, the panel structure leading your eye through the page, it’s now panel by panel, balloon by balloon, caption box by caption box. Or sometimes it may be an entire page at one time, it’s all a matter of what the artist and the writer and the editor want to convey with respect to their story.”
Has anyone delved into Scott McCloud’s “Infinite Canvas” Theory? Marvel’s Infinite Comics seem to use some of the conventions he postulated about and tested in comics of his own in the past, which can be found in his blog. But more about that theory later: Keep an eye out for another article looking into that later this week!
When viewed on the platform of the new iPad, with the now-essential Retina Display, Quesada thinks that comics can also be much more beautiful than ever before, in regards to allowing readers to see the comic as the artist envisioned each page in the first place.
“I think the beauty about reading comics digitally is that the work of an artist and even the colorist does versus the printed book is that now, what fans will actually be reading and seeing is exactly the work that we are doing, because we’re doing it on the screen. And there’s a vibrancy to it, there’s a beauty to it and a strength to it and a power to it, that, that I think can only be captured digitally.”
He says that with tools such as AutoDesk’s Sketchbook and Adobe Photoshop, both of which he uses, artists are able to produce work digitally that is closer and closer to the way line looks on pen and paper. With both traditional and digital mediums, sometimes artists can produce lines or colors that are just unable to be seen or perceived once they have been sent through the printers… but viewing comics exactly as they are, digitally, gets rid of that margin for error.
Quesada says he and the team at Marvel are “really really excited about [Infinite Comics]”; how excited are you? If any of you have seen the Infinite Marvel vs. Xmen comics, how do you feel about the way the idea works? Does it work as smoothly as they hope and tote it to? Does the Retina Display do the artists justice? Let us know below!