The first version of Planetwide Games' Comic Book Creator was a little limited, considering that there was not involvement from major comic company powerhouses such as Marvel Comics. But the two companies announced a few days ago at the 2006 San Diego Comic Con that Marvel will be a part of an upcoming version of the software.
In David Radd's piece on Game Daily, based on the press release, both representatives with Marvel and with Planetwide emphasized the amount of narrative potential this puts in the hands of users to be able to have another tool to make Marvel heroes and villains their own.
The software allows users to use their own screenshots from video games, movies or other digital visual conten tto create comic books and comic strips. The company's plans are to build a business around user-generated comic books, with fans having a social network to come and share and compete with their own comic books. As a kid who spent a lot of time trying to write comic book stories when I was younger and get my friend to illustrate them, it was just the kind of thing that beat the PrintShop creations I was making with clip art and text back in 1995. I still think "The Chain" could have been one of the greatest comic book characters of all-time. And I still have the 33-page manuscript for the story arc of The Stroke of Death for anyone who's interested.
The first version of the Marvel Heroes version of the software will include three characters: Elektra, Spider-Man and Wolverine, with booster backs being released at later dates containing the art for more characters. However, McCarthy writes that "The Marvel version and the booster packs won't be compatible with either the original comic software or the Nacho Libre version."
While this may only be a limited beginning, Marvel's opening the doors to fan-storytellers a little bit more really empowers fans to be able to engage with the superheroes and tell stories of their own in a way never before possible. The storyteller and comic book fan in me is excited about future possibilities, when Marvel, for instance, might be willing to look at the stories told in these fan versions of their comics for possibilities for future storylines...or future talent. All-in-all, with copyright issues behind them, it could be a real win/win situation for Marvel, Planetwide, and fans.
Thanks to David Edery for passing this along.