DC has just launched its first ever interactive comic, Batman: Arkham Origins exclusively for iPad.
The comic, built around the brand new Multiverse 2 format features a branching story that allows the reader to choose different paths at “bifurcation points”. The choices that the reader makes will determine how the story of the comic plays out, with some choices leading to further developments, and others to dead ends.
The project has been labelled an experiment by Hank Kanalz, SVP of Integrated Publishing at DC:
“We want to keep you on your toes. We don’t want you to know what you’re headed into, when you’re going to hit a choice point or how many choices you’re going to have,” said Kanalz. “If you choose correctly you might unlock more story pages, or if you make the wrong choice the next screen might end with a dire consequence.”
In Arkham Origins, users will encounter a varying degree of “dynamic movement” throughout the story. For example, tapping the screen will cause Batman to throw a batarang. Interacting with the comic is meant to simulate the story progression that would have at one time been initiated by reading on with your eyes.
Dave Gibbons, the artistic hand behind Watchmen commented on the new format saying:
‘We’re evolving a new grammar. It’s not about being a puppeteer; it’s about being a cameraman… With the printed page you can only punctuate with the turn of the page, but on screen you can lead the pacing and the introduction of elements and lead the eye in a much more evolved way… I really like that, because you’re able to lead the reader’s eye like a cameraman into different scenes and indicate movement, but not puppeteer the whole thing.”
The idea of an interactive comic is certainly an enticing prospect, and is assured to bring a whole new dimension of entertainment to comics, and indeed digital media. The first chapter of Arkham Origins is available through Madefire, and on DevianArt. Eight pages of the chapter are available for free, and the rest will set you back $0.99. The rest of the story will be released every two weeks for 16 weeks, at a price of $1.99 per chapter. Alternatively, you can buy the whole thing for $14.99.