Chances are you’re a fan of “Batman ’66.” How could you not be? It is pretty much perfect, right? And I’m not trying to be hyperbolic, either — the book has had rave reviews and is a fun new comics experience.
Therefore, you might be a bit upset to find out that one of the selling points of the comic, that it was more interactive with a different set of functionality than the standard digital comic (like, say, “Adventures of Superman,” also from DC). Today’s fourth installment of the popular new digital series is “just” a regular digital comic, removing the DC2 functionality, with no previous mention of it that I can find anywhere. Which is a shame, given that all the BIFFs, BAMs and POWs really made it a comic that had to actually be experienced digitally.
If this is gone or being re-tooled, then that’s a shame. Personally I enjoyed the way “Batman ’66” played out, as it made an already entertaining comic by Parker and Case that much more entertaining. For DC, even, this was a step in the right direction, a sign that they were interested in bigger digital movements — but I was hoping for this to be a full on dive into the pool, not just a toe tipped politely in the water to see what works and what doesn’t before going back inside.
It could also just be something wrong with my iPad. Feel free to sound off in the comments if you’re not experiencing the same issue, in which case, egg on my face!
We’ve reached out for comment but at time of posting have not received any word. We’ll update if/when we find out more.
Update: And the answer is… No. Not abandoned. Just not in use all the time, basically. Look at us, blowing smoke where there is no fire!
Update 2: Ok, well, maybe there is a little fire.
Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool, being better at this sort of thing than we are, looked up the patents of Comixology’s Guided View technology (admittedly something I would never have thought to do, so kudos to Rich). As he points out, Comixology’s use of the Guided View is patent-pending, where as Marvel — who are known for the Thrillbent/Infinite Comics style as they were the first to really capitalize on it (after Yges Bigerel introduced it on his Deviant Art and caught Mark Waid’s excited attention) — had a pre-existing patent for this same basic technology, filed for a year before Marvel existed.
This is a very interesting aspect to this story. At times, and this will sound naive, but you sort of forget how cut-throat businesses that produce books with pictures in them can be (not to diminish the medium, but just trying to emphasize a point). DC doing their DC2 digital initiative seemed like they were trying to step up and offer up something new, but it appears now that instead of pushing the digital medium forward — a medium, mind you, that struggled to find proper footing and distribution for several years — its going to have to take a step back as things get bogged down with legal issues.
Which is a big shame.
Marvel has a lot of irons in the fire, as they’ve shown off in the past. They’re working on Project Gamma, for instance, which adds an audio soundtrack to digital comics, and to be fair they were the first to take their Infinite Comics (or whatever we’re calling that style of digital comic where they choose what you see, when you see and how you see) and really run with it. Of course other people would copy it and twist it and shape it and improve upon it, but this is how we grow.
DC2, as small as it was with just one sampling over three bite-sized issues, was a great concept. I’d hate to see it be trashed so quickly so that one company could have a complete monopoly over how we receive a form of entertainment.
But, again, that could just be a bit too optimistic.
We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.