Marvel And Stephen King's 'N' Is Here -- Are You Catching It?

Marvel's 'N'“Monk” makes OCD seem quirky, even cute – Stephen King makes it scary. And because he’s released his short story “N” (from his upcoming short story collection “Just After Sunset”) as two-minute episodes, he’s making sure “N” spreads – just as his main character fears.

“I’m carrying a kind of infection, which I could pass on to you,” N. warns his shrink.

One of the top-downloaded video series on iTunes, the “N” series is a digital comic that was made specifically for the small screen -- to watch on your computer or phone in 25 installments. They’re free if you’re willing to take it one at a time, but if you need to start counting, touching, and placing like N. himself does, you’ll want the season pass, which comes five at a time (“Five, a bad number, but I didn’t know that yet,” N. says).

N. is seeking psychiatric help for insomnia and obsessive compulsive disorder, but he thinks those are just symptoms, resulting from seeing a strange set of stones in a field: seven by the naked eye, eight by his camera lens. He also thought he saw faces in the stones, faces of beasts, and if he doesn’t put the order of the world back right, they might come out (Check out art from the series after the jump!).

Watching the webisodes -- perhaps even reading the print version of the story, which comes out on the symmetrically pleasing date of November 11 -- and certainly even making them gives you a small case of what N has, and perhaps that’s the point.

“You definitely get a little OCD,” laughed Ruwan Jayatilleke, Marvel’s senior vice president of strategic development. “Everything has to line up just perfect. There was so much echoing from the story -- whether you’re counting brown and black shoes on the sidewalk, or the idea of odd numbers versus even -- that you get a little OCD about the content.” You have to, when your lead character is -- “one slip-up and the story doesn’t make sense,” Jayatilleke said. “Most people think this is a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to have small details slip by.”

The “N” project had lots of small details -- given that it was the first of its kind. No mere pan-and-scan comic retrofitted for a small screen, the serialized episodes were specifically made to be seen within small chunks, on a small screen, potentially by a consumer on the go. Instead of speech balloons, they used voice actors, and partial animation to bring some moments alive. (A print version of “N” as a comic will be released next year). And if you miss an episode, you’ll still be able to follow along, since there are really two main characters -- the patient and his doctor (although the doctor’s sister also appears).

“All the bells and whistles don’t matter, it’s the content that matters,” Jayatilleke said. “People get wrapped up in new mediums on what everyone else is doing, but it’s what you’re producing, the story you’re telling, that matters.”

Are you watching "N"? What do you think of it? If you watch "N" now, will you still want to read the print versions later? Do you think digital comics are the future?