SAN DIEGO, DAY TWO: CrossGen rolls out comics on DVD

"This is the future of comics," was Mark Alessi's claim Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, as he and his team demonstrated the results of CrossGen's comics-to-DVD program.

There are five CrossGen titles getting the DVD treatment: "Meridian," "Scion," "Sojourn," "Way Of The Rat," and "Negation." Each title will get two DVD's each, ten in all, with an individual DVD holding the equivalent of a trade paperback collection's worth of content.

There are also extras, as Alessi and his team demonstrated -- trailers for the other DVD's in the collection, a making-of-the-comics featurette with interviews with CrossGen creators, and a commentary audio track from the artist and writer that worked on that particular title.

The comics themselves are presented with music and audio, and though they are not fully animated, the panels do move across the screen as the DVD is playing. Dialogue is voiced by actors and there is also a music score, similar to a movie. As part of CrossGen's "Bridges" program there will be special classroom versions of the DVD's as well, with questions for students appearing onscreen at intervals about areas ranging from history to science to vocabulary, tying in to different parts of the story being shown. There is also a teacher's edition with a guide to possible classroom strategies for using the DVDs.

"The world is discovering that comics are cool," said Alessi. "Now we need to take the next step and move them into the future."

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