August 13, 2013

NARR8 Leverages HTML5 to Bring Interactive Comics to Windows Mobile Devices

As the resident expert on all things geek for the in-house editorial team at TMC (NewsAlert), I occasionally cherry-pick some choice assignments. It’s one of the benefits of being the managing editor, after all. So, when a chance to review the NARR8 motion comics app, I jumped at it like Batroc the Leaper (forgive the obscure comic book puns, folks). I have used Comixology for years, and I had a chance to speak with comics legend and Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons about the Madefire app at New York Comic Con last year, so I was anxious to give NARR8 a spin.

I’ll review the app itself in a separate story, but for now, let me tell you all about the company, its position in the space and its differentiators, as explained to me by Rebecca Buttle, a PR associate at NARR8.

NARR8 is a digital publisher of comics and motion graphic novels, striving for a level of interactivity that goes far beyond just “click here to turn the page.” Buttle stated that some of their comics have point-and-shoot games in the middle, or “Choose Your Own Adventure” type features (and, as someone who nearly wore out his Cave of Time paperback as a kid, I find that appealing).

The company does not just repackage old comics, however. All of its content is original. Most of it is developed by in house studios, but some of it is currently being created using NARR8’s Story Builder feature, which debuted in June. This is a Web-based tool that allows indie comics artists to build their interactive works, using ready-made templates, and adding graphics, text and sound effects. Once the complete comic is done, creators can upload it to the platform, which is currently available to 800,000 users. After 1000 downloads of a particular work, NARR8 reaches out to that creator to talk about licensing.

Buttle states that NARR8’s platform is a bit like Netflix, offering content from everyone age 2-95. Users can make personal channels for themselves, downloading whatever content they want in genres ranging from horror to pre-school learning.

The app is based on HTML5, and NARR8 is available for iPad, Kindle and Android (NewsAlert) devices, and was recently launched for Windows devices as well. In fact, NARR8 SVP Darya Trushinka sees a bright future for Windows devices, and is excited to get in on what she sees as the ground floor, noting that Microsoft (News Alert) is willing to help app developers with advertisements and more in order to get a strong foothold. NARR8 already has 350,000 users in Windows, and the platform is doing quite well in Asia.

I’ve been taking NARR8 and its content for a test drive, so check out my review of the app and its comics, coming soon!

Edited by Rich Steeves


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