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Wowio was a pioneer in digital comics back in the olden days, when they offered free, ad-supported digital comics. The company has been through a lot of changes since then, and the comics aren’t free any more, although they do offer a free download every month (usually a pretty good one) to readers who “like” them on Facebook. And unlike other digital distributors, they offer books in PDF and ePub format, so they are portable and can be moved from one device to another. (In other words, you can actually own these digital comics.)
Spacedog Entertainment developed comics and graphic novels that were then published by other publishers and shopped around for film development. Their properties include The Covenant and Proximity Effect (published by Top Cow), The Gift (Image), and Helen Killer (Arcana).
Now Wowio has acquired Spacedog and is relaunching it as a graphic novel imprint, starting with four previously published titles: Helen Killer, Fiction Clemens, Death Comes to Dillinger, and M.I.T.H. The comics are priced at 99 cents each, and the plan is to publish an issue a week, starting in April, and to expand the line to include other Spacedog properties, including those mentioned above.
Of course, comics can’t just be comics any more, so part of the plan is to expand these properties into other media:
As part of its strategy to provide original digital entertainment, WOWIO will also produce exclusive new material based on the Spacedog Entertainment library for distribution across its family of sites, including eBook outlet WOWIO, social comics community DrunkDuck and pop culture video destination PopGalaxy. Original offerings will include bonus content, and the development of new formats incorporating video, prose and other blended media elements.
“The Spacedog library provides us with exciting new material to develop into digital and traditional entertainment properties,” said Linda Engelsiepen, WOWIO’s VP of Content Development. “This is the first step of many that will help us further generate audience awareness around Spacedog’s titles and build a strong platform to grow them into franchises.”
That’s a lot of words, but the concept is still pretty vague, and Wowio’s track record is mixed at best. On the other hand, they are offering 99-cent, platform-independent, almost DRM-free digital downloads, so if they just stick to comics, they might be on to something there.