Spider-Woman Hits the Web

Marvel has released the first look at their new Spider-Woman “motion comic.” Check it out:

What do you make of all this?

There’s no denying by anyone who isn’t just using the internet to irritate me that the art is top notch, bursting with all the beauty we have come to know and expect from Alex Maleev. This is a story I have been waiting to see for ages by one of my favorite writers working with one of his best collaborators about a character he basically made interesting again single-handedly. There is no downside.

At the same time, I am fighting a losing battle against blurting out, “If you want to make a cartoon, make a cartoon.” Everything I have heard Brian Bendis say about this project while publicizing it indicates that Marvel is well aware of the problems these sorts of projects have had in the past and are pulling out all the stops to avoid them, but the fuddy in my duddy is keeping me from getting past the notion that they’re selling comics to kids by futzing with them until they aren’t comics anymore. I just can’t help thinking of those old Thor “cartoons” from the sixties where they’d just animate the mouths on single panels.

Until the full… issue? episode?… hits iTunes, I’m going to stay cautiously optimistic, but I’m more curious to see it than I am eager to see it. What about you? And more importantly: does Spider-Woman have a British accent? How long has this been going on? This completely puts a wrecking ball through the way I’ve been reading her the last twenty years. Maybe that’s what my problem is.


  1. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’m with ya. I understand the appeal of converting an existing comic into a motion comic, but creating a motion comic from scratch is a head-scratcher. Still, I’ll take Maleev art whenever I can get it, and it’s cool that they’re launching this experiment with a Spider-Woman story (as opposed to, say, a Wolverine or Spider-Man or Avengers story). That’s putting a lot of faith in the creative team, which is pretty damn neat. 

    Looking forward to checking it out! 

  2. The video isn’t loading, but I saw this trailer last week and didn’t think much of it.

    Looks the same as any other motion comic I’ve seen, at least from that trailer.  It just doesn’t remind me of what makes comics a great medium, or what makes animation a great medium.  Very "middle of the road."

  3. From everything I’ve heard Bendis say about it, it sounds at least interesting in that it was made solely as a motion comic.

    Even so, I think I’ll just wait for the tra-… oh shit…

  4. I watched that first "issue" of the Watchmen motion comics last year…and I thought it was cool enough. Then I downloaded the next three episodes but never got around to watching them. Guess I didn’t really care that much after all.

    I remember how a certain podcast (not iFaboy) RAVED about the first episode when it came out, but just a week or so ago those same guys referred to motion comics–"like what they tried to do with Watchmen last year"–with huge and unanimous groans. The point is, motion comics seem to reek of gimmickery. They’re a good attempt to create an medium between comics and cartoons, but that can’t help but be a really artificial and awkward creative space. Even the old Thor cartoons you mentioned are better, because they’re actually just cheap cartoons–but they ARE cartoons, not some kind of forced imposed medium. Maybe they can do something to make motion comics seem more natural to use and view–and I hope they suceed, because the idea is neat, on the surface. But as it is…it just seems like motion comics are good for one pleasant use, to see what they’re about, but then most people get bored with the format.

  5. Look, I love Bendis as much as the next guy, and the art is nice too look at, but this isn’t what comic book collectors are looking for. We want printed pages that we can horde like pack rats, then later reopen and smell and touch and recall the time when we bought them. In short, we collect. This medium, this computer medium, it will never take the place of comics and only pales when compared alongside.

    Personally, I think everyone who says the future of comics is online is mistaken. That might be a new medium, but it is not the future of comics. It is something else entirely.

    To me, that’s what this motion comics thing is, something new entirely, and if you like it, bully for you. Myselt, I could take it or leave it and I would never spend money on it.

  6. I think the trailer looks cool. As I said on Twitter, it reminds me a bit of The MAXX when that was on MTV.

    That said, what will the "reading/watching" experience be like? I don’t know. I like that they’re trying new things, and Bendis seems really excited about what they’ve accomplished. And while i understand the "make a cartoon" mantra, I don’ think there are any rules to blending media except one: "make sure it works."

    I’m curious to see what they do. If it doesn’t work — we’ll still have a Spider-woman comic. IF it doe… well, maybe we get some very unique and cool.

    Definitely wait and see for me.

  7. @captbastrd & Paul – someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this IS produced simultaneously with a comic book covering the same material. So it’s not exactly from scratch and you *can* wait for the trade on the comic. 😉

  8. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    *ahem* I can understand going back to an older book and converting it into a motion comic, but I think it’s an odd choice to push new content in this medium. Which I suppose says something about my opinion of motion comics in general. I think they’re an interesting way to recycle older material, but as an original form? Not all that exciting. Not that it isn’t artful. But there are better ways of doing this. Full on animation, say.  

  9. I’m admiring the white box with the red x on it 🙂

    *cues ‘wha wha’ music*

  10. Grover the muppet, because you do not know how hard I tried to embed the Marvel.com video player only to fail at every turn, irrevocably breaking this page and nearly the site before defaulting to Youtube after expending half an hour of my day, you are blissfully unaware of how close you are to dying at this moment.

    That is to say, Maybe you should hit "refresh," site user!

  11. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I see a fully functional Youtube video.  

  12. I don’t know if I like motion comics. This just reminded me of a cut scene from a video game. 

  13. @Jimski: ….I’ll be good O_o;

  14. Yeah, the British accent threw me too.

  15. I like it.  I like the way that it is like those old Marvel Cartoons from the 60’s, too many cartoons now are age regressed and crappy. like the new Iron Man.  If this is the style that is needed to tell a story about and adult character without making it Fritz the Cat then I am ok with it.

  16. The motion makes it seem like the characters are cut out and there’s somebody pushing and pulling on an attached tab like in a kid’s pop-up book.

  17. Wait, you guys knew Jessica was Briitish right? I’ve been reading through some of the old comics from the 70s in anticipation of the new series and it’s pretty clear that she was always British. I mean, me, of course.

  18. @Paul — well, I see what you’re saying about an older book, but if Maleev is already producing the art for a comic, then what’s the difference? And isn’t it a little bit better if he’s producing the art with an eye for both media? To me, it’s not unlike, say, producing a paper comic book with an eye toward breaking the page down so it reads well on an iphone. Or not totally unlike "writing for the trade." Bendis and Maleev still produce both a motion comic and a paper comic, and the motion comic takes advantage of its format just as the paper version takes advantage of its format. The publisher is essentially giving you the choice to buy the format you want. That’s all I was getting at when I meant that it wasn’t totally from scratch (since it’s being produced for paper as well).

  19. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @daccampo – Yeah, I get what you’re saying. It just seems like a "might as well" sort of thing. Full motion animation would be a much bigger undertaking, so I guess I can understand doing this instead.  

  20. I for this different way of presenting comics. I’m just wondering, is it the same as the issues? Or is this other stuff, just the same team (I’d think it’s just the issues of the upcoming series, otherwise Maleev will be busy, but I don’t know)

  21. I disagree with the general bent people are taking against new content. If they want to make this "pseudo new medium" fly, the best way is to make original work, make it relevant and make it good.

    I’m not a fan of motion comics but I might check out new content. I’ll never check out a rehash of an old story. 

  22. @Garrett How are we supposed to know Jessica is British if she doesn’t constantly describe things as "bloody" and refer to people as "luv" or "guv’ner?"


    Plus she wasn’t a Brit in the old cartoon series.

  23. Red x box for me too, but that’s ok.. I am aware of how to engage in googlin action. 

    So, sort of underwhelming?  I got a big "Why should I care?" feelign out of it. 

  24. Motion comics are to the sequential medium as 3D is to film. Neat gimmick, but I’d rather not pay extra for it.

    I hope there’s something static and/or physical we can buy the end of all this….

  25. Something physical like a comic book?

  26. Spider-Women = British?

  27. dosent wow me but w/e

  28. Looks kinda cool to me. I ain’t gonna poo-poo nothing until I see the whole thing.

  29. Is the motion comic content different to the print version? I don’t know if that’s been made clear or not.  If they’re differnt, my concern is about lateness more than anything.  I love Maleev, and love Bendis when he’s working with someone like Maleev as it brings out his A game.  However, I can’t see Maleev churning out both books (episodes?) every month (didn’t Bendis say the motion comic is on a fortnightly schedule?)

    By the by, we’ll know she’s British when the first red double decker bus drives past in the background…(even if she’s in NYC)

  30. I generally like the voiceover in this – it seems like everyone voices characters in a certain style that gives every little sentence importance, although it is basically Captain America cartoons from decades ago.

    There’s potential but I don’t think people know how to use the medium besides making pop-up comics. It really reminds me of Max Payne cutscenes.

    It needs more fiddling around with and see what works and sticks. The medium deserves the benefit of the doubt.  

  31. Ugh

    The story seems interesting and Maleev is always awesome but I wish this was just a regular comic instead of a cheap gimmick that I will probably forget to watch.

  32. Seems ok, I guess I’d just like to see Maleev’s art fully animated.

  33. TheEvilCory  – It’s still going to be a regular comic available in your store. I think it comes out a week after the iTunes motion one.

    odare77 – Bendis and Maleev have been working on this for months, if not longer, so I suspect they already have a number of issues in the bag. I hope so anyway. I hate me some late comics!

  34. @Garrett I was unaware. Thank you for the info.

  35. hmmm idk. not really looking good.

  36. Not really interested in this. Either do a comic book or an animated film/short/etc. Motion comics are not my bag. I understand this will be out as a regular comic too, which is how I’ll choose to experience it. Don’t know why, but I’m just not into motion comics.

  37. Is there a noir motion comic? It seems perfect for it. It’s interesting trying to figure out what you can play with. Making characters’ hair move, change lighting, voice over and sound effects of course, weird panel transitions – to illustrate what’s between the panels like when moving from a dark panel to a light panel to have a burst of light, zooming in on panels, dictating the viewer’s point of view, starting very zoomed-in into a panel and slowly zooming out like Alan Moore likes to do, showing multiple panels and having a character move through them etc.

    It would be nice to experiment with it. A lot of comics this days already shoot for the cinematic and fluid look.

  38. I’ve been crazy excited for the Spider-Woman mini and motion comic ever since it was announced and I still am. I expect big things following up from Origins.

  39. Every medium has its strengths. And while this looks intriguing, I have to wonder, what advantage does this medium have over any other? From what I can see, it doesn’t play to a comic book’s strengths as well as a comic book, and it doesn’t play to an animated series’ strengths as well as an animated series. It seems like a case where one plus one equals less than one.

     But, I’ll watch with an open mind, and maybe I’ll be proven wrong. Hell, considering the talent involved, make that almost certainly I’ll be proven wrong.

  40. I didn’t realize it, but this is available via Hulu.com.

    So far there are 5 episodes listed, and you can check it out for free at: 


  41. I know! That was super exciting to see, three weeks after I paid full price for them.

  42. @Jimski: I imagine you twitching at that last comment. Also crushing a paper cup as well. 🙂

  43. Just watch the whole thing. Man do I feel bad for someone who paid for that (the Hulu versions didn’t even have ads in them!)

  44. And hey, Hulu lists these as never expiring too!! (No joke, there is no expiration date set.)

    Don’t feel too bad, Jimski. We’ll be in that boat with you soon, since it was annouced that Hulu would probably start charging for content quite possibly starting early 2010. 

    News Corp. exec sees Hulu charging fees for access

  45. @powerdad

    Actually, recently they confirmed that they wouldn’t. 

  46. @miyamotofreak

    Oh man, don’t get my hopes up here. I’m going to need proof. Hard evidence!  A body, possibly. Maybe two. 

  47. Good work! Next, locate Jimmy Hoffa.