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Madefire’s Motion Book Tool Revolutionizes Comic Books For a Digital Age

by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Madefire is aiming to change how comic books are made, much like fire evolved how humans live.  A company devoted to making stories that go beyond the page, Madefire has made a strong showing recently at both San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con, led by new editor Ben Abernathy.

“It’s an immersive reading experience,” says Abernathy. “It’s DNA is comic books. Lots of people have responded that it reminds them of video game elements or having cinematic sort of qualities to it.”With digital comics, available for touch pad platforms (starting with Apple), readers can control all elements of their reading experience from panaromic views to scan the page 360 degrees, to swiping in and out elements of a story and more.

Treatment Madefire“We feel it’s the next generation of digital storytelling,” says Abernathy. “Like I said, the DNA from comic books. Obviously the creators and founders are comic book veterans in some cases, and what they strive to create is moving beyond traditional printed comic, the mentality per say of a printed comic, and create something that really is a fully immersive digital mobile experience.”

Wanting a new medium other than paper, which is static, on which to tell stories, the company’s founders, Liam Sharp and Ben Wolstenholme, teamed with legendary artist and storyteller Dave Gibbons to bring his short story Treament to the new medium.

“He’s so forward thinking and early adoption when it comes to technology,” says Abernathy. “I think it was two years ago when they first started talking to Dave. He saw the ability to tell…well, maybe a better platform for Treatment than a more static print book. I like to think he was inspired by what he was seeing in the early demos of the iPad of what could be done.”

“I would say with both Liam Sharp’s book Captain Stone is Missing… and Mono by Ben Wolstenholme, I would suspect those have been lifelong passions than coming from a more traditional print background,” says Abernathy.

“I’m glad you highlighted the content because in a lot of way it’s non-traditional at least what would be considered successful in the direct market of the American comic book system, which is honestly driven by super heroes, capes, and tights, and guys lifting cars.”

By virtue of this, it would hard to argue with the idea that Madefire, true to its name, came as a result of a burning desire to tell stories that the creators wanted to tell, but hadn’t found the proper format for.

“The content we’re creating here I think is more personal to what their own passions are, and in a lot of ways, it’s more reflective of what they read growing up or what they’re inspired by,” says Abernathy. “As we’re reaching out to more creators, and talking to publishers, the tool itself will be released  at some point for more general consumption.”

The motion tools challenge creators to think differently about how they want to write a story and allow them to challenge readers’ senses on new levels.

“It required a rethink to how they approach storytelling,” says Abernathy. “In a lot of ways the scripts are more like a screenplay. Instead of breaking it down into rigid page structures, it’s more like sequences like scene structure….It requires the imagination and the vision of the writer and then the artist who takes it in hand and develops and delivers what we hope is a life changing experience,” says Abernathy.

The result are seemingly unlimited choices at the disposal of creators.

And excitement has been catching on. Already, Madefire has teamed up with a number of top tier creators like Steve Niles and Mark Teixeira in creating new content. And while they are still small and not taking general submissions yet, future plans definitely include such an expansion.

“Hopefully, we’ll get to that point,” says Abernathy. “Obviously the point too is that they’ll be able to create their own content through the tool itself when it’s released. I guess everyone will be working with Madefire or at least the Madefire tool app. Maybe not us necessarily directly, if that makes sense, because it empowers the creators to do their own stories and tell their own stories. We provide the access for them to find an audience.”

For more information Watch the Madefire demo clip or check out’s article:

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s science fiction, fantasy and humor books, short stories and articles. A frequent contributor to blogs like SFSignal, Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and To Be Read, he also hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat under the hashtag #sffwrtcht on Twitter and blogs about writing and creativity on his own blog at Connect With Bryan On Google+

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