DC's "Rebirth" Roster Could Look Very Familiar
In a potential challenge to comiXology’s market dominance, Google Play Books has unveiled several upgrades intended to make it easier to find and read comics on its digital platform.
The new features include vertical scrolling in landscape mode, so viewing comics in mobile devices isn’t quite as frustrating, and curated pages on the Google Play Store. As you can see, the upgrades are specifically designed for comics fans.
The latest Humble Bundle book bundle has been unveiled, and it’s a musical mix of novels and graphic novels that are either by or about musicians.
The Humble Bundle deal lasts for two weeks, and it works like this: For the first tier, you pay what you want — as little as a penny. This gets you seven items, including three graphic novels: The first volume of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s gods-as-rock-stars series The Wicked + The Divine, the first volume of Rick Spears and Chuck BB’s Black Metal and This Is a Souvenir: Songs of Spearmint & Shirley Lee, an anthology of short stories based on the songs of the British group Spearmint, plus three prose novels (two by Rush drummer Neil Peart) and an audio collection of Pete Seeger’s spoken-word pieces.
Gilbert Shelton, creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, recently turned 75, and the digital comics app Sequential is celebrating with a free collection of his work.
It includes some classic Freak Brothers strips, covers and a history of the comic, as well as a few interesting bits of ephemera such as the package design for the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers rolling papers and the label for Tall Toad ale, Fat Freddy’s favorite brew. The sampler is available for free through the end of June.
Shelton was one of the pillars of the underground comics movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, a co-founder of Rip Off Press as well as the creator of the Freak Brothers and Wonder Wart-Hog. He was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2012 (I was proud to be one of the judges that year).
About a year and a half ago, the founders of Medium did something that was both totally old-school and daringly novel: They set up a dedicated cartoon site, The Nib, hired editorial cartoonist Matt Bors to run it, and gave him a budget to pay the contributors. At a time when even venerable institutions like The Atlantic expect writers to pitch in their articles for free, this was a welcome sight — a publication with enough respect for its contributors to offer them paying work.
It showed, too; some of the most remarkable comics of the past year and a half have appeared on The Nib, including work by Leela Corman, Mike Dawson, Eleanor Davis, Shannon Wheeler and Sarah Glidden. Those are just the creators who appear on the front page today.
And now, just like that, it’s gone, to be replaced by … well, it’s not clear. Bors posted an announcement Friday that things would be different going forward:
Ahead of its launch of 24 new series, beginning this week with Batman Bey0nd, The Omega Man and Midnighter, DC Comics is kicking off a digital sale it calls its biggest ever.
Throughout June, the publisher will roll out more than 1,200 digital comics for 99 cents each as part of its “New DC Universe Sale.” It all starts Tuesday with Week 1, featuring more than 600 issues from the New 52, with titles ranging from Aquaman to Batgirl to Harley Quinn.
A U.K. publisher contends it was forced to redraw a character based on England’s famed Cerne Abbas Giant following objections by digital distributors to the figure’s erect penis.
Britain’s largest chalk hill figure, the mysterious 180-foot naked man overlooking Cerne Abbas in Dorset is widely known for his enormous erection, which has been called “Britain’s most famous phallus.”
And a new website is looking to bring together webcomic creators under one roof to build an audience and a business for them.
Describes as a “curated not-for-profit comic-sharing” website, Zco.mx was inspired by the community nature of artist-oriented conventions like the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Using a straightforward web design (both for readers and participating cartoonists), Zco.mx aims to provide a hassle-free, high-quality anthology-like approach to webcomics, in part by using file-sharing systems like BitTorrent.
The British sci-fi anthology 2000AD was one of the first publishers to offer digital comics, and it ofers readers a choice: They can buy single issues and graphic novels within their iOS and Android apps or as direct downloads from their web store.
The advantage to the latter has always been that direct downloads are free of digital rights management (DRM) — they are simply files that can be freely moved from device to device — while comics purchased within the apps can only be read within the apps. Each way of buying comics has its advantages; the apps allow the user to store comics in the cloud and keep them organized in a single place on their tablet or computer, while PDF and CBZ files come with no strings attached.
The tagline for one1990s wrestling promotion was “Where the Big Boys Play!” Wonder what they’d think of Archie Andrews?
Following a recent uptick in pro-wrestling appreciation by the comics industry, Archie Comics has released a digital collection of its wrestling-themed stories. Given the cover image and title, Archie & Friends Wrestle Maniacs, Archie gives a bit of a nod to WWE’s Wrestlemania and Hulk Hogan (whose fans are “Hulkamaniacs”).
Humble Bundle has rolled out the second Transformers bundle, with up to $155 worth of IDW Publishing’s comics starring the robots in disguise.
There’s a bit of a catch, however: The offer runs for just one week, ending Wednesday, March 11, at 11 a.m. PT.
Popular digital subscription service Scribd, often referred to as “Netflix for books,” this morning launched a comics section, giving users access to more than 10,000 titles from such publishers as Marvel, IDW Publishing, Archie Comics, Top Shelf, Top Cow, Valiant and Dynamite. The expansion brings the Scribd library to more than 1 million titles.
As part of the $8.99 flat monthly fee, users now can move beyond Scribd’s prose and audiobook offerings to read comics ranging from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and March: Book One to Afterlife With Archie and Ultimate Spider-Man.
Coinciding with the release of the landmark Spawn #250, the entire library of Spawn comics — including the 20-volume Spawn Origins Collection — is now available digitally for the first time on comiXology.
As Todd McFarlane breaks it down on his Facebook page, “That’s over 23 years (and more than 5,300 pages of story and art) of the Spawn mythology available with one swipe of your finger.”
High Moon artist Steve Ellis, who last year drew the comic prequel to AMC’s Revolutionary War thriller Turn, was called back to the stand for a tie-in to the cable channel’s Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul.
Although the TV series, which premieres on Sunday, is set before the events of the acclaimed crime drama, the new online comic, Better Call Saul: Client Development, actually spins out of the Season 2 episode of Breaking Bad that introduced Saul Goodman, the shady attorney played by Bob Odenkirk.
Developer 800 North has teamed with artist Tommy Lee Edwards and media company Spark and Roar to create a comic based on its first-person shooter video game Dino D-Day.
Debuting in 2011, the game is set in an alternate history where Adolf Hitler discovered a way to resurrect dinosaurs to create a massive army.
Titled Operation Genesis, the comic tells the origin stories of the game’s two lead characters — Colonel Nigel Blythe-Crossley and Captain Jack Hardgrave — through a unique collaboration: Spark and Roar’s Gregory R. Little wrote the story, for which Edwards created full-color layouts. Then 800 North’s Abe Scheuermann and Brian Ulrich used the game as “a virtual prop house” to create the necessary images.
Nobrow Press co-founder Sam Arthur once described the company’s mission as “to publish books that deserved to be printed — and by that I mean they needed to exist as tactile objects that people [can] collect and cherish.” This has been borne out over the years as Nobrow established itself as a publisher that paid painstaking attention to the production process.
Given that, it’s not surprising that it took Nobrow seven years to go digital, and when it did, it came up with a digital solution that addresses the physical aspects of its comics.