VR comics stole at least some of the spotlight at NYCC (New York Comic Con) this weekend, despite a crowded field. Marvel, Netflix, DC Comics -- the big players in the comics world all saved a few splashy announcements for NYCC but it was Madefire's booth, an upstart startup company, that saw some of the biggest crowds.

VR Comics

The buzz came after Madefire, based in the Bay Area of California, presented its platform for comics in a virtual reality format. The Madefire model works on Facebook's Oculus or Samsung Gear VR equipment, both consisting of essentially a headset. Now fans can enter right into the pages of TMNT, Batman, and other comic book faves.

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The idea of combining comics seems like a natural and ultra cool idea in a world that is booming in 2016. However, there is still some resistance to using the headsets and the big question is, can it deliver the kind of experience that makes any equipment issues irrelevant?

The Madefire model is actually an open publishing platform that anyone can use to create a VR comic -- or "motion book" as the company calls them -- and it's available as a free download at the Oculus store. The process essentially layers the panels for the sense of being able to step inside the pages of a comic book. VR technology turns flat panels in a comic book into a three dimensional projection -- something like an IMAX theater experience. The panels can fill the whole screen, or wrap around for a panoramic view.

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Titles and dialog are layered on, with sound and musical effects.

The VR controversy

Some figures within the comics community object to the innovation. The idea is that the flat comic panel and its "limitations" create a simple appeal that needs no augmentation. However, the high definition VR approach lets viewers experience the hand drawn artwork of each comic panel in over-sized detail. The NYCC demo included a VR version of DC Comic's Injustice: Gods Among Us. Viewers look down on Gotham beside Batman as he introduces the story with a rant against Superman. An NYCC report in Forbes Magazine called the flow "smooth" and "intuitive".

According to Comicsbeat, Madefire just landed a cool $6.5 million in additional investment funding, with a list of investors that includes Drake and Kevin Spacey. The company plans on bringing a catalog of over 25,000 digital comics to the market by the holiday buying season. Along with DC's Batman franchise, releases include Star Trek and Revolution -- the new comic universe that brings the Transformers and G.I. Joe together – along with original material exclusive to Madefire. #VirtualReality #ComicBooks