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3 YEARS

DC and USA Launch 'Burn Notice' Digital Comic

The second volume of the comic series based on the spy drama is available Thursday.

Burn Notice Comic Split - H 2011
"Burn Notice" comic

The second volume of the Burn Notice comic catches fire today, marking a unique collaboration between USA Network and DC Entertainment, as well as show creator Matt Nix.

The 12-issue weekly comic doesn’t hit comic book stores, however, but is only availably digitally, through Facebook and usanetwork.com, and on a Apple and Android devices.

A first 12-issue edition appeared earlier this year and was a surprise hit: the comic registered 160,000 unique visitors and generated 1.7 million page views.

“That’s a lot of dedicated fans,” said Jesse Redniss, vp of digital for USA. “For us, it was fantastic and we want to engage with that rabid fanbase, so we’ve enhanced the functionality with the second volume.”

This time around, the two companies have brought on board a sponsor – Hyundai – to help offset the cost and are upping the interactive components of the comic, including making this one a motion comic. Readers will be able to go behind-the-scenes on pages to see how the artist worked on them from the penciling, inking and coloring stages; share the comic by being able to tweet panels and pages or put them on Facebook; and play Burn Notice games. (The motion aspects don’t go live until about week four as the comic leads into the new season.)

Panelfly and Glow Interactive were the companies involved in building the mobile and interactive gizmos for the comic.

Burn Notice follows a discredited operative Michael Westen (played by Jeffrey Donavan) and his work as a private investigator in Miami. Last season ended with Westen finding a list of the people who burned him, intelligence parlance for being a persona non grata. The rest of Season 5, which returns Nov. 3, begins with Michael having already gone through most of people on the list.

The story in the new comic bridges the two seasons and tells the story of what Westen did with the list of people.

Nix and other show writers wrote the comic while Tony Shasteen handled art duties.

DC already publishes a line of licensed comics, most notably comics based on video games such as World of Warcraft, and today’s Burn Notice launch follows yesterday’s take off a Fringe comic written by the star of the supernatural Fox show Joshua Jackson.

Comics based on TV shows date back to almost the beginning of the small-screen, but involving those working on them is a fairly recent thing. Having show creators or actors not only ups the profile of the endeavor but also helps legitimize the comics.

“By having someone like Matt board, you can’t say ‘Oh this just happened in the comics so it doesn’t count,” says Hank Kanalz, senior vp of digital, DCE. “If he’s taking a story in a certain direction, then that’s the direction the story is going.”