Soon joining the army of cat videos, movie trailers and short films currently populating the ranks of YouTube will be a new brand of motion comics courtesy of Dark Horse Comics and actress Felicia Day. As part of the news coming out of WonderCon 2012, Day announced the creation of her Geek and Sundry YouTube channel. Designed to launch and promote new works made by her “The Guild” collaborators, as part of the programming for the channel, a new slate of motion comics produced by Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson and directed by Erik Bruhwiler will debut starting on April 2 with a version of Richardson’s “The Secret” horror graphic novel.
“I think people will be surprised by what we’ve done,” Richardson told CBR News of the launch. “I’ve been working with Erik for several years, and there’s been a lot of hard work done on his part. After creating these motion comics, the big question was how to get them in front of people, and YouTube is a very excellent way to get them seen by the largest audience possible.
“We’ve been experimenting with motion comics for some time,” the publisher added. “We’ve got some ideas on how to present them, and we’ve been partnered with a company that’s state of the art which is run by Erik Bruhwiler. Erik is a genius at this, and the motion comics he’s come up with are beyond anything that you’ve seen. They’re very engaging, and we’re very excited about it. It’s an extension of our business.”
Once the channel launches on April 2, Dark Horse will bring more adaptations of its classic comics to YouTube, with new installments debuting weekly. “We were working with Felicia already, and this opportunity came up,” Richardson explained. “The fact was, we were looking to expand these motion comics into some other areas, and this was the perfect opportunity. So we’ve taken some of our best comics, and we’ve put them together sort of like a YouTube ‘Dark Horse Presents,’ only with motion comics. It’s all good. The stories have turned out great, and we’ve got a lot of great creators involved.”
Richardson noted that, particularly with a project like “The Secret,” the opportunities to expand upon the effects of the horror story’s core. “Erik and I did a little test on a Conan piece some time ago. That’s when I first saw his work,” Richardson said. “From there, I worked with him on this graphic novel that I’d created called ‘The Secret,’ and I was very pleased with how it turned out. We worked with Jason Alexander on the book, who was the artist. Jason approaches comics with a painterly style, so it wasn’t the easiest comic to turn into a motion comic, which was part of the test. Erik was very happy with how the results came out, and we were talking with some of the studios about sharing it until we got hooked up with Felicia’s new site.
“You’ve got some music in there, and Erik is working on these with a director’s eye. He’s got some camera movement in there and is able to get some impact that you’d like to see. Obviously, the advantage of sound and motion allows for some additional scares. The book on its own has some creepy moments in it, though it leaves a lot of it to your imagination. It gives you the great things a book can offer. But motion comics give you some additional opportunities to scare the viewer. I think people will be surprised watching these.”
And audience is Dark Horse’s biggest concern in teaming with the Geek And Sundry channel. “I think any opportunity to get our comics out to a new audience is an opportunity we want to take advantage of,” Richardson told CBR. “YouTube certainly has that reach. With Felicia’s name, we’re hoping a lot of people will take the time to look at these little episodes. They’re very engaging. I just went over, yesterday, some of the final work on the individual projects. They’re fun to watch, entertaining and very different from what people would expect from motion comics up to this point.”
With new, regular releases to start, the motion comics will present some names fans are already familiar with from the publisher’s ranks. Asked whether any brand-new content will be produced for the channel, Richardson responded, “We’ll see as we go. It’s motion comics, so we’ve got a certain budget to do some very good existing material translated through and hopefully bring some new readers into our corner of the comics world.”