Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Motion Comics: Animation of the Past, Today!

Does no one remember Clutch Cargo?

Click for a look at what childhood horrors your Dad had to deal with!

I don't see the lure in the "new" Motion Comics. Unless they are viewed on something about the same size as a book I can't be all that interested and that has more to do with my age and how my eyes work than my fear of new technology. But I get why they are being produced. Motion Comics can give the public their movie fix in between animated specials and live action films. It also serves as one of many intermediary steps before publishers finally pull the plug on the long, slow death that is print media.

One of the things I have noticed by observing the younger generation and the media empires that produce content for them is that their entertainment is disposable to them. This is much as it was for both the companies and consumers of decades past before the notion of collectability and preserving the content of the past for use in the future became as widespread as it did starting in the late 1960s. Today more than ever everything is only momentarily cool and amusements are consumed on-the-go and rarely revisited. I think this is why comic book companies cater mostly to the aging, hard core fans that began reading and collecting at the end of the Silver Age.

There is an inevitable evolution to these things. Originally the stepped-down animation style of a motion comic was little more than a digital version of a Power Records album. Given the high cost, slow internet and CPU speeds a character would rarely do more than shift a few degrees in place, giving the illusion of action in the narrative. One of the more understated yet quite effective use of motion effects in still frame cartooning was the use of blinking eyes of the characters in the online For Better or Worse strips. If you were not paying attention it would really creep you out.

As technology improved the expectations of both the creators and the readers increased and currently motion comics are typically made with pretty high production values, the Watchmen motion comic being a good example. Eventually Motion Comics will probably get to the point were the line between full animation and the simplified Syncro Vox-style will be blurred.

1 comment:

  1. Howdy,
    God! I remember how bad "Clutch Cargo (with his pals Spinner and Paddlefoot)" was. I still hear the haunting strains of his theme song in my head. I much preferred the same studio's other piece of crap, "Space Angel".


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