Comic Book Creator

By | Tuesday, August 29, 2006 Leave a Comment
Late last year, Planetwide Games released their Comic Book Creator software. It basically allowed you to take artwork and drop it onto a comic book page layout. Word balloons and sound effects were treated sort of like clip art, and you could essentially collage a comic book page out of whatever you felt like. My understanding is that many, if not most, people dropped in photos of themselves and friends and created their fumetti style comics. It's my guess that this wasn't a huge seller, but software standards, but...

I just learned that the same company is coming out (sometime in September) with licensed versions of the same product. I gather it's just about the same software, but it would include a gallery of, for example, Spider-Man clip art.

Now, I'm sure this is a great deal for Marvel. They can license their characters out to Planetwide Games and just rake in whatever cash PG agrees to. PG, though, won't be doing as well, I suspect. I expect that their original software has paid for itself by now, so there wouldn't be much in the way of additional development. However, I'm sure they had to fork over a decent pile of cash to Marvel, Sony, Speed Racer Enterprises, and whomever else they're getting characters from. And that, I doubt, will be covered by the sale of these newer products.

My bet is that people liked the original because they could put their own characters into it very easily. Whether that was their own character drawings or photos of themselves or whatever; it was very clearly THEIR comic book they were creating. But if you're going to create a Spider-Man comic, and you're limited to a handful of clip art drawings of him, you won't be able to create a story that's very original. It will look like a rip-off of whatever Marvel has put out that month, and it will almost inherently be inferior because of the limitations of the art. Why put in a lot of work to see the same couple dozen Spidey poses over and over, when you can drop three bucks on the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man and get many more poses with what's likely a better story.

But what do I know? Maybe the licensing rights are cheaper than I'm thinking they'd be, and PG will make money hand over fist for almost no additional work.
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