From DC's re-envisioned "Watchmen" to Stan Lee's original series "Time Jumper," everyone's been getting in on the "motion comic" trend these days. Now, Marvel Comics is testing the waters with its own Marvel Motion Comics line that kicks off today with the first episode of "Spider-Woman" on iTunes.
Featuring a story by Brian Bendis and art by Alex Maleev, the "Spider-Woman" motion comic promises to explore the recent return of the character's alter ego, Jessica Drew, to the Marvel Universe after being kidnapped, cloned and impersonated by shape-shifting aliens. In the hope of reclaiming some of the life she lost during Marvel's "Secret Invasion" event, she finds herself back in the spy game and getting back in touch with some old friends—and enemies.
MTV News picked Bendis' brain about the debut of "Spider-Woman" in motion comics, and received an exclusive peek at some never-before-seen art from the series.
"It's a necessary road—not to replace printed comics, but create another gateway situation for people to discover the comics and mosey over to their comic book store," Bendis told MTV News of the reasons behind Marvel's decision to try their hand at the burgeoning animated format for comics.
"In some of the other motion comics, they're pretty intriguing and amazing, but many of them weren't supposed to be [motion comics]," he explained. "They're taking something that wasn't created to be a motion comic and wiggling it until it becomes a motion comic. ... Wouldn't it be great if we created material specifically for this and see what kind of emotional response we get."
While many of the existing motion comics on the market re-envision existing material with animation, voice acting and sound effects, "Spider-Woman" is scripted as an original, ongoing series set within the continuity of the Marvel Universe. New episodes will be released just ahead of the "Spider-Woman" print comic—which will also feature stories and art by Bendis and Maleev, respectively.
While Bendis shied away from giving too much of the story away, he did confirm that S.W.O.R.D., the government task force originally introduced in Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men" series, will factor prominently in the motion comic. According to the writer, Spider-Woman will be offered the chance to become one of the organization's Earth-bound agents "acting as judge, jury and executioner, if necessary" to the alien threats to world security.
"Joss Whedon came up with this great idea for S.W.O.R.D., and now we're going to see a lot more of them in Jessica's life," said Bendis. The writer added that the character's sudden return to the Marvel Universe and unfamiliarity with her role in it—and its major players—should make for a great jumping-on point for new readers.
"Her point of view wouldn't be too different from yours as a new reader, because she has no idea what's going on and she has to dig out of her relationships and figure out where she fits," he explained.
No stranger to motion comics, Maleev previously provided the art for a motion comic based on the Stephen King story "N," and is a frequent collaborator on Bendis' projects.
"[Maleev] is one of the artists who is a bridge from where we were to where we're going," said Bendis. "He was working digitally years before anyone else. People didn't know that most of 'Daredevil' was done digitally. ... So when this came up, I said it had to be Alex."
Those interested in checking out the "Spider-Woman" motion comic might want to act fast, as the first episode will debut on iTunes for $1—but only for the first two weeks. After that, all episodes will be $2. Marvel has provided Splash Page readers with an exclusive peek at some of the art from the series below:
What do you think of the "Spider-Woman" motion comic? Planning to buy it? Sticking to print comics? Sound off in the comment section or on Twitter!