Sunday, August 1, 2010

X-Men and Watchmen Motion Comics: Comic Books on the Move

 I really love Motion Comics. They remind me of old Hanna Barbera and Filmation cartoons from the 60s, but better written. With the Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Motion Comic making it's way onto DVD, and hopefully onto Blu Ray, I got to re-watching the Watchmen Motion Comic.

The Watchmen Motion Comic was originally released on iTunes in anticipation of the upcoming Zack Snyder film version of the famous graphic novel. I grew up with the knowledge of how legendary this comic book mini-series was. I was also aware of how many times it was been attempted to be put into film. This was not just a comic book in my eyes, this was a piece of multi-layered literature that my teenage mind could never have wrapped it's tiny head around. At the time I was still going through my New Kids on the Block and Jem periods. Truly Outrageous!

When the Watchmen Motion Comic was released on DVD, I figured it would a nice introduction to this world that Alan Moore had created. Of course he also had the help of Dave Gibbons and John Higgins doing the amazing artwork.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this release. I never read the book, and the movie was weeks away from opening. I popped the DVD into my widescreen television, and I was transported into another world. The words of Alan Moore, read by  Tom Stechschulte, who does all the voices in this piece. He's a really good narrator that holds your attention. Once he gets into reading for the characters, even the females, he's flawless. This man can act.

The "motion" part of this production is highly impressive. Sometimes CGI assistant is used. CGI usually has a tendency to detract, but in this case, it only adds to the visual presentation. The animation is limited as can be expected, but so much movement is added into these comic book panels, that one can almost forget that it's a Motion Comic. Almost. The word balloons can still be found littering the presentation and can be distracting at times.

The music is sad and haunting. It really compliments the story and gives the narrative a sense of dramatic urgency and nostalgia. The production as a whole is like looking back into a past that's not your own, but not all too unfamiliar as well. If you want to experience a cinematic version of the graphic novel, then this really is the best way to go.

So as DC had Watchmen the Motion Comic, Marvel had to produce their own. Thus comes the Motion Comic version of the "Gifted" story arc of Astonishing X-Men, helmed by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Astonishing X-Men takes the Motion Comic idea a few hundred steps further than Watchmen. Not only are the word balloons gone and the mouths move with the dialogue, but it's also cast with many awesome voice actors doing individual characters. The voices really fit in with these well known characters. Big kudos to this cast.

The plot involves The X-Men re-teaming themselves with Emma Frost now into their fold and Kitty Pryde as a main character. Kitty has been said to be Joss' inspiration for Buffy. Check out the first episode right here:

There's so much more on the DVD obviously. More comic book studios should really do this. Motion Comics are a good introduction to this world of comic books, and if not that, it's a different way of discovering a good story.

Astonishing X-Men - Gifted (Marvel Knights)
Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic (+ BD-Live) [Blu-ray]

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