A motion comic maybe considered to be something that lies half way between an actual comic book and an animated cartoon of the same. The biggest advantage in using such an animation style is the relatively low cost and production time frame. And one must not discount the size of database of stories available.
The comic panels are first vectorized to give the animator freedom to apply minimum animations such as the movement of an arm or the batting of an eyelid. The panels are zoomed and panned to provide an illusion of expansive on-screen activity. Often-times speech balloons and thought bubbles are incorporated in the frames. This serves no apparent purpose other than animation style, as the whole comic contains voice acting and background scores.
Motion comics have online potential written all over. They have already been used as online promotional tools for off line activities. Stephen King's 'N' can be cited as a popular example. It is basically a motion comic precursor to Stephen King's new book of short stories, of which N is a part of.
A complete series of the Watchmen comic has been released by Warner Bros. in the wake of the film's release in 2009.There also exists an animated prequel to Will Smith's 'I am Legend'.
Warner Bros. has realized the potential offered by motion comics and have taken the right steps forward. Marvel, with its vast comic book database has wasted no time in making new additions. Multiple X-Men comics are already under production.
Nobody expects motion comics to make big bucks. But there is no denying the vantage point it offers in terms of marketing online, in an era where viral advertising campaigns have become all too common.