• Madefire Brings Motion to Pony Comics

    We made a post back in August about a company dedicated to animating comic books, and it should surprise no one that ponies figured into their plans. In the months since we saw their little preview, the Madefire team has steadily worked their way through the main series up to Issue 11 (as of press time), as well as the MLP Annual. You can check out previews of their work so far over on their deviantART page.

    We received a copy of the Annual edition to page through, which most of you will know as the issue that shows the circumstances behind how the human versions of Twilight's friends meet each other at Canterlot High School. For those of you who were unable to attend San Diego Comic-Con this past summer to snag the con-exclusive Issue #9, however, the Annual also includes the eight-page origin story of Sunset Shimmer herself when she used to be Princess Celestia's student.

    "Get to the point, Couch," you're probably saying. Well, here's the point: If flipping through twenty-two pages of static art and lettering is starting to wear on you, consider giving Madefire your business. Get some details about what they do after the break.


    I don't know of any reliable way to capture gifs on a laptop, so you'll have to take my word for it when I tell you about all the nifty things Madefire's done with the comics. Take the cover page up there, for instance -- when you move your mouse around, the characters move in parallax with one another like what we've done with our site banner.

    They've given the same treatment to all the other covers of the issues they've done so far, too. For the most part, the team does a great job of filling in background art that would otherwise get obscured by the foreground.

    Moving on to the actual comic itself, we see the pages as they were originally drawn before they were lettered. Madefire paces word balloons to show up in ones or twos. Hopefully the picture above shows how a single page evolves with each mouse click, whether the panel trucks into or out of the background, as well as how new panels slide in. Depending on your clicking speed, each page takes about a minute to fully develop. This puts each issue on par with the length of a 22-minute television episode.

    The art within the panels themselves isn't static, either -- where it serves the story, the view will track around to different parts of the same panel before pulling back out, as we see here:

    Characters slip into and out of the scene, new panels will drop out of old ones. It's pretty slick!

    In addition to viewing these comics on your computer, those of you with Apple products can download an iOS app to take these comics on the go. If you're rocking Android, you'll have to stick to viewing these comics on deviantART -- and because the viewer there requires Flash, you might have to do some wetwork before this, uh, works.

    If you plan on taking these comics with you, however, you'll want some fairly serious hardware and perhaps a wall plug to support them. Frame rate lag showed up even on a dual-core Samsung Galaxy S4, as well as a Nexus 7 tablet. That's really about the only complaint I have about these motion comics, though -- those of you with iPhones will have to chime in with your experiences in the comments.

    The prices for these motion comics are pretty competitive -- most issues will set you back a dollar or two, while the Annual costs about $8 because it's longer. And, of course, Madefire works on more than pony comics, too, and some of their offerings even come with sounds and music to go with the animation. If you've got some extra cash on hand and wanted to experience comics in a whole new way, motion comics aren't a bad way to go.