Android TV makes is easy to pull all of your digital content into a single place, but in the list of things most folks would consider watching on the TV it's a safe bet comic books aren't usually high up there. Now there is Madefire Comics & Motion Books on Android TV to get you your comic fix through Google's Leanback UI, with an added twist. Watch your comics come to life on the "page", along with sound effects and animation.
Madefire Comics & Motion books brings comics into the digital age, and puts a new spin on them. There are comics from DC Universe, Dark Horse, Valiant, IBW, and Oni Press. There are also plenty of indie comics, as well as original comics from Madefire. There is an option between print comics and their new motion books, but the motion stuff is mostly what you'll want on the television. If you're not interested in browsing you can search by voice, or by using an in app keyboard. On the left of the screen is the catalogue of books and comics. There are over a dozen categories like publisher, genre, and free books just to name a few. You'll also find a category with the books that you've already purchased so that they are easy to find.
The motion books are honestly the biggest draw with this app. These comics bring their stories to life with slick animations, revealing the page one frame at a time. There are sound effects for some pages, which adds to the overall atmosphere of what you're seeing. The story won't progress until you turn the page, by hitting the arrow on the right of the screen - it'll light up red when the next page has loaded up for you.
There are a few pitfalls when using Madefire Comics & Motion Books right now. Where other apps will sprinkle new things into your recommendation feed, Madefire seems to flood it. After you install the app, it populates your feed with 6-8 different items. Most recently it appears to be A TMNT issue, followed by six separate issues of 'The Last Ship'. Considering it does that whether or not you plan on reading any of these, it's certainly an agitation.
The other problem to be found is while you are in the middle of reading and watching your comic. Every so often the comic will fail to load the next page, it seems to happen most often at the 'save' points throughout the comic. It happens often enough that you sometimes need to back out of the comic and reload it from it's last save. It isn't a huge issue so much as it is irritating, and breaks the flow of reading your comic.
Overall this app is pretty awesome already, and definitely has the potential to turn into something even cooler. The motion books bring a fresh look to comics which is well executed for the most part. It doesn't hurt that there's a healthy selection of free comics to go with the regularly priced stuff, so you can try it before installing the app on your phone as well. Madefire is doing their best to make sure comics are well supported in our digital lives, and so far they're doing a damn good job of it.
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