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King Features Launches Zits Audio Comics

King Features has unveiled their official Zits Motion Comics. From Comics Kingdom:

Comics Kingdom™ now showcases the hilarious, first-of-its-kind Zits Motion Comics, based on the widely-popular comic strip, Zits. These 30-second motion comics are a cross between the beloved print newspaper comic strip and animated comics.”

A channel for “Jeremy” has been set up on YouTube as well.

Here’s a sample:

Community Comments

#1 Stacy Curtis
April/8/2009
@ 10:14 am

Isn’t it funny the voices never match up with what you have in your head when you read the comics?

The animation is great, nice work!

#2 Larry Levine
April/8/2009
@ 10:49 am

Two big thumbs up!!!

#3 Rich Diesslin
April/8/2009
@ 12:02 pm

Much as I love Zits (and I do … BIG fan), this doesn’t work at all for me. I remember this same Sunday cartoon from a while back, and it’s a hoot.

Taking a serial cartoon and adding some motion (not even movement) and sound really adds nothing. Either animate it or leave it as a comic strip. (IMO)

This make Hanna-Barabara cartoons look movie quality … and Clutch Cargo (anyone remember those) and South Park like real animation. It reminds me of the New Yorker Animations. Just a waste of time.

Sorry to be so negative … just my first impression. This particular cartoon strip is a good story board for an animation (or a segway animation in a larger plot), but the YouTube version of it is, by no stretch of the imagination, an animation.

#4 Anne Hambrock
April/8/2009
@ 12:08 pm

I’m not sure how I feel about having it narrated out loud – as Stacy says the voices almost never match up to your internal expectations. That said, I do like the pacing and the way the words enter the dialogue box sort of one phrase at a time.

#5 Stacy Curtis
April/8/2009
@ 12:37 pm

I will say I like the static version of the strips is better than these animated versions. I think that has to do with the way the drawings were intended to be read by the eye and absorbed as you’re ready for them. Here, it’s all kinda hand-fed to you in a blur.

I really like Jeremy with his guitar at the end of each animation. That’s pretty darn cool.

Anything to bring “Zits” to the internet is fine by me. I have always thought Jeremy, Sarah, Pierce, Hector and the gang should have their own blogs, Twitters, Facebook pages, etc. It goes hand-in-hand with the strip.

I can’t imagine having to do all that work (and keep the gang ‘in character’ on their pages) and create the strip at the same time. It would fry my brain.

#6 David Emerson
April/8/2009
@ 1:01 pm

DC did something very similar with Watchmen to coincide with the release of the movie. They were a little better, than this, but still, robbing you of the actual reading seems to be a step back for the art.

In the case of Watchmen, it’s conceivable that the motion comic could drive someone to buy the collection or go see the movie. I can’t see a Zits motion comic as a promotion for the print version, and I can’t see a Zits motion comic as something that many people would make a part of their day as well.

#7 Charles Brubaker
April/8/2009
@ 1:31 pm

I can see why this is called “motion comics”. There’s no animation to it.

And yeah, I agree about Jeremy’s voice.

#8 Larry Levine
April/8/2009
@ 1:48 pm

I think it’s a fun concept & applaud King for exploring new web-friendly formats. With the print media market shrinking the syndicates need to explore new venues for their strips.

PS: I always imagined Jeremy sounding like a young Gilbert Gottfried.

#9 Mike Cope
April/8/2009
@ 2:33 pm

However you feel about the animation, you’ve got to admit that this is a pretty fine online ad for a pretty fine strip.

In the higher definition versions, you can see that they’ve tried to maintain the texture of a newspaper comic — scary and funny at the same time.

#10 Rich Diesslin
April/8/2009
@ 6:42 pm

I dunno, I just don’t see the point. I agree with you guys that experimentation with media formats is a good idea. It’s important to know what doesn’t work and hope to find what does. Oddly the media that may be booming is cell/pda devices … which either get need bigger screens or print of any kind will continue to be a tough sell.

The syndicates lost me (in terms of understanding what they are trying to accomplish) when they went online with syndicated strips for free (and/or allowed newspapers to do so).

It really makes my interest in a newspaper drop to about zero further hurting the newspaper industry. I can get most syndicated cartoons from online newspapers and everyone loses (but me) in that deal … AND I still don’t have to read the newspaper. ;)

I think the motion comic idea will either evolve into animation or devolve back to serial panel presentation. I could be way off though, since YouTube isn’t something I spend much time with.

#11 Alex Hallatt
April/8/2009
@ 7:33 pm

We are comic geeks who love comic strips and their nuances. What matters is what regular readers think.

We take time to read them and savour our favourites. But how do you get new fans? How do you reach out to kids who have never read comics, but have had a mobile phone since the age of eight?

Hopefully this is an evolutionary starting point to the new species of comic strip, adapted to an online environment.

#12 Garey Mckee
April/8/2009
@ 7:45 pm

I don’t think the answer to these questions about the evolution of the comic strip on new media technology is one that can be readily answered. If only because the technology itself is evolving so fast.

How can we know what the comic strip format will be if we don’t even know what the technology will be?

And you can try to predict that all you want but the end product might be something completely different than what we forsee now. It kind of reminds me of those “failed icons of the future” like hover cars, moon colonies and personal rocket ships. There were those that were so sure of that future, but I’m still waiting for it.

#13 Mike Cope
April/8/2009
@ 7:48 pm

@Garey: The future technology will be cerebral implants that allow us to enjoy comics internally as humorous illusions.

You can read all about it here.

#14 RS Davis
April/8/2009
@ 7:54 pm

I kind of liked it, although the voice was waaaaaaaay off what I imagined. Its interesting to see folks pushing out of the envelope to try to evolve print comics.

On a related note, I have really enjoyed ‘The Doozies’ by Tom Gammill – his YouTube videos made to accompany his strips are a novel ‘mixed media’ package that I was reminded of by the Zits video above. Although I’d have to argue some of his vids are better than a lot of his strips….

#15 Garey Mckee
April/8/2009
@ 8:01 pm

Internally humorous illusions? I’m on psych drugs to suppress those. I do, however, like playing with the ink pen pointer on your website.

#16 A. Bensen
April/8/2009
@ 8:15 pm

This is absolutely the worst trend in comics. I love to READ Zits, and I don’t need anyone to read it for me. Either make a real animated cartoon or just print the strips. I don’t see how anyone can find cheap flash animation and bad acting better than just reading the strip themselves.

#17 Jason Boneasaurus
April/9/2009
@ 5:33 am

I think the ultimate goal should be to get a smile out of someone – should it matter if the format transcends traditional boundaries?

I enjoyed the “motion comic,” but I also agree with everyone else about Jeremy’s voice.

#18 The Sonion
April/13/2009
@ 2:53 pm

It’s cute but it detracts from the original pacing set up by the cartoonist. It’s like adding 3-D glasses to movies. It doesn’t improve the medium. Just makes it cute and gimmicky. Otherwise all movies would be 3-D.

#19 woody
April/27/2009
@ 11:41 pm

I have to disagree with those who don’t feel that jeremy doesn’t match his voice. Watching the audio toons was effortless and enjoyable. Spot on!! Without understanding the finer nuances you can’t enjoy the humor. I will say that the strips seemed to be rushed a bit. The strips are too short to be flashed so rapidly.

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