Digital Comics Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
This year’s Eisner Awards nominations were dominated by two publishers, Fantagraphics and Image Comics, with the former earning 18 and the latter 17 (plus three shared). To celebrate the occasion, Image is holding a 50 percent-off sale on digital editions of all 10 nominated titles, for a limited time. That means you’re getting single issues for just 99 cents each.
Whether you’ve fallen behind on some of the series or want to see what all the hubbub is about, now is pretty good time to check out East of West, Lazarus, The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Outlaw Territory, Pretty Deadly, Rat Queens, Saga, Sex Criminals and Zero.
Dark Horse Comics is the highest-profile publisher whose digital releases are not available on comiXology, opting instead to use their own platform, Dark Horse Digital. Following Thursday’s news that Amazon has reached an agreement to purchase comiXology for an undisclosed amount, ROBOT 6 reached out to Dark Horse president and founder Mike Richardson for his thoughts on the matter:
“Companies outside our industry have been paying increasing attention to comics in recent years. New technology has offered a variety of new opportunities in both content creation and content delivery. It is not surprising that Amazon and Comixology would come together considering this environment. The comics industry, despite periods of lull, has always been an evolving and changing business, and this move is consistent with that history.”
Last year Caleb Goellner, Buster Moody and Ryan Hill combined their love for things like Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into a comic about friendship, alien monsters and giant robots. But the second issue of Task Force Rad Squad has something the first issue didn’t — kitties. Giant mutant killer kitties.
Goellner and Moody — who are flying without Hill this issue because he’s busy with IDW’s Judge Dredd: Mega City 2 miniseries — are once again offering the digital comic using a “pay what you want” model. You can download it from Gumroad right now, along with the first issue if you missed it. Goellner told me they’ll have print copies of the issue available at C2E2 in a couple of weeks. (His Mermaid: Evolution comic is also available as a “pay what you want” digital comic as well).
To mark the digital debut of Peter Bagge’s Hate and Dame Darcy’s Meat Cake, Fantagraphics Books and comiXology are offering the first issues of both series for free for a limited time.
First published in 1990, Hate chronicles the life of Bagge’s longtime protagonist Buddy Bradley, a malcontent who comes of age in the Seattle grunge scene before moving back to suburban New Jersey and his dysfunctional family. One of the bestselling alternative comics of the ’90s, Hate ran for 30 issues; Bagge resurrected the title in 2000 for a series of Hate Annuals. A Hate follow-up, Buddy Buys a Dump, is planned for release in June.
Published by Fantagraphics since 1993, Darcy’s Meat Cake delves into a neo-Victorian world of humor, romance and frequently tragic fairy tales featuring such characters as Effluvia the Mermaid, the roguish roué Wax Wolf, Igpay the Pig-Latin pig and Stregapez, who speaks by dispensing Pez-like tablets through a hole in her throat.
“Debuting Hate and Meat Cake digitally on comiXology marks a new era for these historic Fantagraphics titles,” Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds said in a statement. “Although the trade paperbacks collecting these works are perennial classics, this marks the first time that the single issues of these generation-defining classics have been widely available in well over a decade. Now with comiXology’s help, readers around the world will be able to experience them anew and discover just what makes these books so timelessly great.”
When the announcement was made this week that DC Comics has started selling single issues in the Google Play Books store, my reaction was surprise — that the publisher wasn’t doing it already. Unlike Marvel, which has an exclusive agreement with comiXology for single-issue sales, DC takes a broader approach, offering comics through Kindle, Nook, iBooks and, of course, comiXology. There’s a lot of redundancy there: You can read DC comics on your Kindle as straight e-books or via the comiXology Kindle Fire app, on your iPad via iBooks or the comiXology iOS app or the Kindle or Nook iOS apps, and now, on your Android device via Google Play Books or the comiXology Android app.
Why choose one over the other? Actually, the question really is, why something other than comiXology? For regular comics readers, comiXology offers a more organized storefront and bookshelf area; e-book vendors just give you lists, while comiXology groups comics by publisher, by series and by creator. The other bonus for comiXology users is their Guided View panel-by-panel view system, which flows really well and makes it easier to read comics on an iPhone. On the other hand, Amazon is where the casual customers are, people who just read books but might pick up a comic from time to time.
In the build-up to Sunday’s premiere of Turn, the Revolutionary War thriller based on Alexander Rose’s fascinating 2007 book Washington’s Spies, AMC has released a beautifully illustrated online comic that details the backstories of the members of the Culper spy ring.
Turn: Origins is drawn by Steve Ellis, known for his work on High Moon, Box 13 and The Only Living Boy, and penned by Turn writer LaToya Morgan, whose credits include Shameless and Parenthood. Kevin Colden did the lettering.
Set in a dystopian future where drones fill the skies, The Key opens with the apparent government execution of a man in a straightjacket with a bag over his head (BBC News notes the similarity between the pointed corners of the bag and Batman’s mask).
The press release I received this morning from Titan Comics calls Martin Eden’s Spandex “the world’s first comic featuring gay superheroes,” which seems like the sort of claim that gets refuted as soon as you post it on the Internet. Still, Eden has taken the idea of, basically, an all-gay Justice League and really run with it.
Spandex was nominated for an Eagle Award, and Titan Books collected the first three issues into a trade edition a couple of years ago. Now it’s making the first two issues available on comiXology for $1.99 each.
Humanoids, the venerable publisher of The Incal and The Metabarons, has launched its own Humanoids Comics app for iOS and Android with more than 60 digital titles. With the debut comes the company’s move to same-day digital release.
Customers also will be given the option to get a free digital copy with each Humanoids graphic novel they purchase. Anyone who downloads the app during the first month will be given $25 credit toward the purchase of the first volume of any Humanoids series.
“This offer, which will be available for a month, will be a great opportunity for our readers to discover new titles, as well explore the Humanoids App as not just a graphic novel and comics reader, but also a useful and easy platform to browse the Humanoids catalog on the iPad, full of many exciting features and exclusive deals,” Humanoids Inc. Director Alex Donoghue said in a statement.
There’s one interesting wrinkle, however: Humanoids combines volumes into omnibus editions for its print releases, but it will sell the volumes individually on the digital app, with a price range of $2.99 to $5.99.
Now based in Los Angeles, Humanoids was founded in 1974 in Paris by Moebius, Jean-Pierre Dionnet, Philippe Druillet and Bernard Farkas in order to publish Métal Hurlant.
Russell Willis of Panel Nine has announced the iPad app Sequential will now carry a selection of titles from NBM Publishing, including Rick Geary’s Madison Square Tragedy, Margreet de Heer’s Science: A Discovery in Comics and Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics, and Renaud Dillies’ Abelard, Betty Blue, and Bubbles and Gondola.
Sequential began as a U.K. app and launched in August in the United States. With a strong focus on indie and underground graphic novels, it started out with titles from U.K. publishers like Blank Slate, Myriad Editions and Knockabout but has since added titles from U.S. publishers Fantagraphics and Secret Acres. While comiXology goes wide, with apps for every device and comics for every taste, Sequential has taken a different path, with a curated catalog of graphic novels for a particular audience and a sleek interface for a single device, the iPad.
It must be working: Sequential’s other announcement is that it will be a major sponsor of the MoCCA Arts Fest, together with the School of Visual Arts, Blue Sky Studios and Wacom. That sponsorship makes a lot of sense, as MoCCA features the sort of independent, literary comics and graphic novels that appeal to Sequential’s audience — including NBM.
Yen Press unveiled its digital distribution plans for Square Enix manga on Monday — and while the implementation is news, the basic concept isn’t; Yen announced at New York Comic Con 2012 that it would be the exclusive worldwide digital distributor for Square Enix. The digital manga model has shifted quite a bit since then, though, and what was announced yesterday was a bit different from what one would have expected a year and a half ago.
Here’s how it will work: Full volumes will be sold as e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google and Kobo, while individual chapters (some being published simultaneously with their release in Japan) will be available through those platforms and via the Yen Press iOS app, which is limited to North America, according to Kurt Hassler, Yen Press’ vice president and publishing director. “The Yen Plus magazine, our previous ‘streaming’ service, was closed following the December issue of the magazine to pave the way for individual chapter availability by virtue of these various platforms,” he said in an email to ROBOT 6.
The New York Times this week ran an article (accompanied by a video) titled “Comic Books Zap to Life” that recommends three digital comics apps: comiXology’s Comics, the Dark Horse app, and Manga Rock. That last one is problematic, although writer Kit Eaton gives it a rave review:
Manga Rock, free on iOS and Android, beats the competition. It has a list of more than 50,000 comics available, and though its reading system isn’t as sophisticated as the one in Comics, it is still smooth to use. It’s free, but to get access to all the comics you have to pay $4 for the full edition through an in-app upgrade.
Here’s why Manga Rock is such a good deal: It’s a reader that uses files from pirate manga sites. When you open the app, it allows you to choose three sources for your manga; all three are bootleg sites that host scanlations (fan translations) and sometimes scans of licensed books. I checked a couple of series that are licensed in the United States on both the app and one of the websites it’s pulling from. The manga isn’t actually available on the website (there’s a note saying that’s because it’s licensed), but many of these series are available via the app, so the files are still sitting on the server somewhere.
Eaton recommends two other manga apps, apparently without trying them; both are also bootleg apps that work in exactly the same way.
Anyone can be a hero, and in the independent comic series The Pride writer/creator Joe Glass has crafted a superhero supergroup made of LGTBQ characters. Debuting in 2012 in the United Kingdom with a six-issue series, which was followed by a spinoff called The Pride Adventures, the comic has been sold by Glass at conventions, by mail and via PDF. And this week it makes its debut on comXology.
“When I was growing up, and coming to terms with my sexuality, one of the things I always felt sad about was the fact there were no visible, openly gay superheroes I could relate to,” Glass wrote for an Indiegogo campaign for the series. “Sure, there were one or two, but they lived in the background or were poorly represented. Ever since then, I wanted to change that. And that’s what The Pride is all about.”
comiXology announced today that they will offer 100 self-published comics for $10, as they celebrate the “one-year anniversary of comiXology Submit at SXSW today.” The special deal is available through Monday at 11 p.m. Eastern.
comiXology Submit allows independent creators and cartoonists to upload their comic book and graphic novels into comiXology at no cost. The package of 100 comics includes some really good stuff, including The Bunker #1, Becky Cloonan’s The Mire, Moth City #2, The Deep: Here Be Dragons #1 and The Antler Boy and Other Stories, which alone costs $9.99.
The deal goes along with a whole week’s worth of comics that comiXology has been giving away at South by Southwest, which included the first Locke & Key trade paperback, issues of Smallville and XO Manowar, and more. Visit their Tumblr to get the redemption codes, as some of them expire tonight.
Check out the full press release after the jump
Steve Rude has debuted the painted cover for his upcoming collaboration with Jerry Ordway on DC Comics’ digital-first Adventures of Superman — a 10-page story featuring none other than OMAC.
In his fan newsletter, the veteran article explained that his editor offered him several scripts, “but it wasn’t until we settled on something specifically catered to ‘The Dude Mentality’ — with characters most memorable to the 60′s and 70′s – that things finally clicked. And what would fit the Dude mentality? How ’bout OMAC? Of the One Man Army Corps? As created by the great Jack Kirby back in ’75?”
But how did Rude connect with Ordway, well known for his runs as both an artist and a writer on DC’s The Adventures of Superman print series?
“Jerry submitted his script and we all loved it,” Rude said of his DC Digital First debut. “And after a hour or two of of finely tuned script discussion over the phone one afternoon, he and I were able to up the dramatics even further on the cool-meter.”
As for that cover: “Finally, I should mention that though DC’s budget didn’t permit the rates normally required by the Dude to paint this issues cover – I painted it anyway. Such sacrifices does one make in the name of proper presentation.”
Ordway and Rude’s Adventures of Superman story, “Seeds of Destruction,” is scheduled to premiere April 14 at DC Digital First.