Madefire Partners with deviantART To Bring Its ‘Motion Books’ To The Web (And Start Charging For Them)

Madefire, the True Ventures-backed startup building a new kind of digital comics, just announced that it’s partnering with deviantART.

Madefire offers a platform for creating comics with additional animation, music, and sound effects — it’d make sense to call the format “motion comics,” except that word is already being used for comics that have been transformed into fully animated content, so the company calls its titles “motion books” instead.

Until now, the startup’s motion books have been available on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Co-founder Ben Wolstenholme said the new partnership is a way for his team to bring the comics to web browsers, and to reach a broad audience (deviantART has 28 million registered members) at the same time. deviantART co-founder and CEO Angelo Sotira, meanwhile, said he had been trying to find new storytelling tools for his community, and it was one of those situations where “you go to Comic Con and run into exactly what you’re looking for.”

Why did he embrace Madefire in particular? Sotira said that most other digital comics are just bringing print comics and making them work in digital: “To me, it’s just kind of lame.” Madefire, on the other hand, had “cracked the problem” of transforming comics into a new experience. Plus, with deviantART’s emphasis on creators, Sotira said he was attracted by the fact that Wolstenholme is a comics creator himself.

Through the partnership, a new Motion Books section will appear on the deviantART site, where you can find all of Madefire’s initial titles. It sounds like this is also the beginning of Madefire’s monetization — while the motion books were available for free on iOS, deviantART is charging 10 cents each for them initially, payable in the site’s virtual currency. (And the books will continue be free in iOS for only “a limited time.”)

The titles will also be available on the Madefire website, but Wolstenholme made it sound like deviantART is going to be Madefire’s main web storefront, “while we keep doing iOS alongside.” After all, he pointed out that almost all of Madefire’s artists, and some of the writers too, already have a presence on deviantART.

Madefire’s motion comics creation tools are also going to be promoted to the deviantART community and integrated with the site’s services like cloud storage.