Startups of the week #23.1

Tablets and smartphones have become fantastic platforms for Earth's mightiest heroes, but they have yet to fill their great power. Never fear true believers, Madefire are accepting the great responsibility of taking digital comics to the next level.

1. Madefire

Digital comics have been around for years and apps such as Comixology have made them a joy to read by re-purposing illustrated stories on an interactive screen and, with the latest iPad, it can look even better than it does in print (Marvel's Infinite series looks particularly good). However, with few exceptions, comics are mostly print first and digital second but Madefire want to change all that.


Madefire's [iTunes] digital comics are a reading experience and - even if that word is being thrown around far too much these days - it's hard to disagree as each comic is made for the digital world first, introducing sound, animation and engagement like never before. Reading a Madefire comic on a dark night could actually be quite intense.

Taking on the heavy-weights of Marvel and Comixology may seem like a lost battle already but Madefire have assembled a team that could change the face of the format with both comic book legends and tech experts on board. They have also secured more than $2million from True Ventures and angels - including Sina Tamaddon, former SVP of applications at Apple.

In fact, the team boasts Toni Schneider (True, Automattic) Mike McCue (Flipboard CEO), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra) and Mike Carey, writer of the critically acclaimed The Unwritten - a lineup that could make them the best at what they do.

Currently available only on iOS devices, Madefire is the jump digital comics need as it changes the way we will view comics and it appears to be implementing sequential art with the digital world. I look forward to the major companies following suit soon. 'Nuff said.