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Michael Jantze launches new Audio Comics feature

The Norm creator Michael Jantze has launched a new feature called “Audio Comics.” According to the Director of Animation at the Jantze Studio, Kelly McNutt, the emphasis of this new feature is the performance of the strip.

Michael has named them Audio Comicsâ?¢ because the emphasis is on the performance of the strip; using motion not for the sake of motion, but to use new media in an effort to capture the essence of the character and humor of a comic strip.

Here is the first one produced. More are in the works.

Earlier this year, Michael’s animation, Mr. Lux: At Your Service was accepted into the Cannes Film Festival and his studio created three animated versions of Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman’s Zits.

You can see all of the animations at The Norm web site.

Community Comments

#1 Norm Feuti
August/25/2008
@ 7:21 am

I find this very interesting.

I think Jantze has succeeded where a lot of the “animated comic strips” I’ve seen are failing. He uses the animation in a simple yet effective way, AND manages to preserve the feel of a traditional comic strip.

Well done.

#2 M. Holmes!
August/25/2008
@ 7:43 am

Hmm. The traditional strip is indeed preserved so well that it makes me wonder what the point of the audio/animation portion is.

I’m a huge fan of Jantze, but this looks like barking up the wrong tree, adding bells and whistles for the sake of “new media” cachet, but doing nothing to advance the art or justify the experiment’s novelty. Is there anything added to the humor of the strip by the narration or panning that wouldn’t be there in a flat strip? Not to my eye; in trying to split the difference between comic strip and cartoon, he misses both marks.

I would be delighted to see more strip work from Jantze (delighted, I say!), or more cartoons, but this hybrid doesn’t work for me.

#3 Kelly McNutt
August/28/2008
@ 10:42 am

Good to hear the comments – thanks for taking the time. Re: “adding bells and whistles for the sake of â??new mediaâ? cachet”
Thanks for the comment, Holmes, but we’re not adding things just for the sake of donning a specific mantle. In fact, we were very deliberate in the decisions made regarding timing and camera language. There are several outlets from which you can “read” comics and comic strips on your mobile device these days, and we thought that they hadn’t really hit the mark yet. In trying to translate the comic reading experience into a visual and audible experience, many of the things that make reading a comic book or a comic strip seemingly went by the board in favor of the “bells and whistles” you mentioned, merely for the sake of adding bells and whistles. If you’re going to take someone progressively through a comic book or comic strip, you automatically surrender the language of one format for another, and the problems we are attempting to tackle involve just that: timing, performance, and visual clarity of a “static” story told audibly, and make it something that people will want to see more of.

Meanwhile, Michael has all sorts of new things going on, all of which can be found at his site: http://thenorm.com/index.php – and we hope to see you there! Thanks again for the comments, guys!

#4 John Moore
October/19/2008
@ 7:32 am

I like it. Quick and fast. This is the same way many comics/graphic novels on youtube use animation. This is something that plays well on PCs as well as iphones. Good job!!!!!!!!

This is what newspapers should be having cartoonist do in 2008. Ideally a newspaper cartoonist should do 2 or 3 comics for the paper and spend 2 days animating 1 cartoon (like these Norm animations). That would be 3 to 4 “deliverables” from the artist. Put pre and post roll ads in the animation and you are $et.

Also the artist would have to be paid 80 to 100K+ with benefits to compensate for being an artist AND multimedia developer.

Artist = 40K, Multimedia Developer = 40 to 60+K with benefits or $70 to 100 per hour as a consultant.

This is where this whole “field” really needs to be in order to be a relavant “force” in the current and future media landscape. imho

#5 Liz Torrence
October/24/2008
@ 9:56 am

I am also confused by the audio animations. It just shows
impatience with a well loved and time tested art form. Also please call it animation – just like you would not say sheeps.

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