Batman ’66: The Future of Digital Comics?

by Luke Wongsuwan
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DC’s Batman ’66 debuts today, boasting a new format of release called DC², which is a digital comic presentation that Wired says:

…adds new layers to the digital comic page by putting in morphing artwork, conversations that build as you read…gloriously over-the-top sound effects that are triggered with a touch of the device screen or click of the mouse…

Those of you familiar with video game titles such as PS3’s Heavy Rain may quickly laud DC’s attempts to create digital media that seeks to surpass standard interactive media by way of offering audiences or users a deeper level of immersion.  There may be a correlation between the attainable level of immersion possible via a given piece of digital media and the level of satisfaction the user derives from experiencing such immersion; does more immersion equal more satisfaction?  Most likely, it does.

Some may argue that playing video games offers more interactive immersion that the act of reading comics does, but perhaps such an issue depends on the knowledge and perspective of individual.  However, DC seems to understand the human need for entertainment-immersion.  Speaking with Jeff Parker, Wired writes:

The DC² experience for Batman ’66 is “not motion comics and we didn’t want it to be limited animation,” Parker added. The idea was to not just add bells and whistles to have bells and whistles but to make sure it feels like a comic book — just a little more dynamic. “And by ‘dynamic,’ I mean some movement, but all reader-controlled. It’s not a passive experience,” Kanalz added.

Those who seek immersion would certainly frown upon passive experiences, since such experiences offer the user essentially no chance to engage the self with the given media.  Batman ’66 sounds promising, then, since it offers reader-control, and is purported to be a non-passive experience.  That’s what Heavy Rain was all about — deeper-than-usual digital interaction; this is, by no means, an attempt to compare video games to digital comics.

Rather, as technological advancements permeate life, generations to come will inevitably continue to embrace the digital world, whether they do so through games, comics, books, or socialization.  Yet, what about the purists who seek hard copies?  Luckily, Batman ’66 will also be available in print form.  Still, one must wonder if there will come a time when digital media completely supersedes and replaces print media and hard copies of media in general…

For more info, check out Wired and NY Post’s Batman ’66 Week!

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Source: Wired; IGN (image only)

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