You Know That Watchmen Motion Comic?

By | Saturday, August 02, 2008 7 comments
The one you can download from iTunes? I finally sat down and watched it, and here's my problem with it: false advertising.

And you're thinking, "What? How?"

I'll tell you how. They're calling it a motion comic. But it's not a comic AT ALL. Under no definition of comics that I've seen does this qualify. Sure, it uses art from a comic book, but with the name "motion comic" I was expecting something about on par with that old Marvel cartoon from the '60s. Where they took still shots from the comic and jiggled the camera a bit? No, this Watchmen piece was fully animated. They even acknowledge as much in the credits at the end: "This motion picture (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc." (Emphasis mine.)

You know, I'm fine with whatever Warner Brothers wants to do with it in promoting the upcoming movie. It's their property now; they're allowed to do whatever they want with it. But I don't think it's right to sell something based on a false promise. I was expecting to see a comic with some motion, not a fully animated cartoon based on the artwork from a comic. Leaving aside any qualitative judgements, Ang Lee's Hulk movie was closer to the definition of a comic book than this Watchman Motion Comic.
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Richard said...

Having seen a few efforts over the past year or two using Flash-based animation (limited or full) and calling themselves "webcomics" I've decided my definition of "a comic story" includes a requirement that the reader or viewer controls the pace of the reading or viewing experience. This could be through deciding when to move your eyes to the next panel, or when to turn the page, or when to click to proceed to the next image -- whatever the format, you're the one who decides when to move forward. However, if an artist or designer has decided in advance "you'll be shown this image for x number of seconds, then you'll be taken to this next image for x number of seconds" that's no longer a comic story but an animation or a cartoon...whether or not those individual images contain motion.

That said, I can easily imagine a Flash-based thing that incorporated motion within images but still let you watch each image as long as you chose, then proceeded to the next moving image only upon your choice to proceed, and that would be a "motion comic" rather than an animation.

A corollary of this might be that a true comic also requires written words as opposed to recorded voices...because you can read at your own pace, but listening to a recording demands that you move through the action at someone else's speed. (This wouldn't rule out sound effects or ambient noises.)

So, to me, that Watchmen thing is the descendant of the Grantray Marvel cartoons and not a motion comic by any definition I'd use.

Anonymous said...

Semantics aside... did you LIKE it?

I only liked it from the perspective that it reminded me how much I enjoyed the original. I didn't find the animations, voice-overs or music added anything. I will give them credit for doing a good job with the animations -- a lot more went into it than I would've expected -- but it didn't enhance the experience of the story at all for me.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was quite well done and far superior to those awful Marvel productions. Apparently, the lens of nostalgia is indeed forgiving!

Anonymous said...

My only problem was the voice acting. They should have had more than one guy reading for every single character. You can get away with this in a regular audio book but not here...Laurie's voice was absurd. he tried to do it in her first scene, and then just dropped it later on.

otherwise, i really liked it! the new movie sounds like its running into some legal bullshit, (though Fox will eventually be appeased by the right number)and seeing this, knowing that the whole book will be adapted..? shit! thats fine with me.

whoever the fuck's blog this is--your post was so goddamn anal that i am laughing at you even NOW.

false advertising?


whotta maroon.

Anonymous said...

I love Anonymous' knowing-insider updates on the biz! Thank God he dropped by to impress me with his take on things!

Doesn't even know who he's talking to. Why people think this kind of vulgar anonymous ejaculation is funny or smart is totally beyond me. It's witless and crude.

Unknown said...

I would say that the Grantray Marvel cartoons weren't really cartoons but rather motion comics (if that is the term we are going to use). Watchmen doesn't use animation at all, which is sequential still drawings slightly altered from one another that when flashed from one to the next in order create the illusion of movement. Watchmen doesn't do this. It uses cut-outs of the original art and moves them to create the illusion of animation which is not the same thing.

You also suggest that true comics require words. This is patently untrue as comics legend Frank Miller has already proven by doing a comic completely without words to illustrate the artform is about sequential art, not words and scripting. To suggest that this isn't a comic because it uses voice over is like suggesting a novel in book-on-tape form is no longer a novel.