The written word in the form of a physical book became popular with Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type. eReaders first picked up steam with the release of the Sony Reader in 2006 followed by the Amazon Kindle in 2007. The latest and greatest reading technology is motion books, presented by Madefire and the Madefire app.
Motion books are a new way to experience comics. According to Fansided, the founders of Madefire—Ben Wolstenholme, Eugene Walden, and Liam Sharp—wanted to explore and expand on the reading experiences that were coming out for mobile devices.
So what are motion books anyway? Motion books, or mobile device comics, provide a reading experience that includes interactive qualities. With the click of a button, or swipe on the screen, the pages seamlessly flow from one to the next. Sounds and motions enhance the visual presentation. That which was once static is now animated. It might be easy to jump to conclusions and say that these motion books are nothing more than the cartoons watched on television. While there are some similarities, we have to keep in mind that Madefire presents these comics with interactive features and yet, on a foundational level, it is still a reading experience.
Madefire is not only a platform for visual storytelling but also features a motion book tool, which allows authors to create and publish their own digital comic for free. This tool allows authors to draw their ideas directly on the computer while also giving them the opportunity to add animation, sound, music, objects, and other digital effects. The creators of Madefire are giving the comic community and comic authors a social platform and an opportunity to share their stories and be part of the Madefire community at large.
After hearing about these motion books, I was intrigued. I can’t say that I am a huge comic fan, as I am neither a dedicated nor avid reader of comics. But every now and then, it is nice to break from the types of books I usually read and pick up a comic. After downloading the app and finding an interesting motion book—a version of the Grimm Brother’s Snow White—I was hooked. The foundational elements, such as the advanced drawing skills of the authors, are still very much a part of these digital books; but the background music, character noises, and 3D effect of the motion books only adds to the entertainment factor that comics provide. It is both a visually pleasing and intellectually stimulating experience. That being said, motion books will by no means replace the classic paperback comics that are so beloved by comics fans. However, they are definitely a new and innovative way to enjoy the reading experience.
Some of the few comic brands that have partnered with Madefire include Archie Comics, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and My Little Pony. These interactive comics are available through the Madefire app via the web, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, and Windows platforms.