Amazon Publishing has entered the world of comic books with Jet City Comics, which aims to publish titles digitally and in print, and distribute them through Kindle, the online storefront and comic shops. Now the comics industry can fret over unfair competition and business practices just like the book industry. Still, it’s a sign of the strength of the comics market that Amazon felt confident enough to launch the imprint.
As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon deserves scrutiny. Is this new venture good for comics? Will the comics be any good? Let’s take a look at what we know so far and what’s to come.
Jet City Comics is a great name, and according to the imprint’s minisite, it’s borrowed from one of Seattle’s nicknames. Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, and the city skyline is even incorporated into the imprint’s logo. It’s such a great name, in fact, that the Jet City Comic Show has been using it since 2010. It seems like a potential for brand confusion, but I guess the mammoth Amazon doesn’t have to worry about competing with a local one-day convention. Best of all, however, the two entities seem friendly with each other: Jet City Comics was announced as a major sponsor for the show, which takes place Nov. 2 in Tacoma. The show endorsed Jet City Comics Senior Editor Alex Carr as a “huge comic book fan” and Amazon gifted a Kindle Fire HD as a raffle prize for pre-purchased tickets to the event. That kind of community support says a lot about the people running Jet City Comics and the leeway they’ve been given. A company the size of Amazon could’ve easily ignored the show, purchased the name or bullied them right out of the picture. That wins some big first-impression points from me.
Amazon Publishing launched its Kindle Worlds store this morning with more than 50 works, including Shadowman: Salvation Sally by Tom King, X-O Manowar: Noughts and Crosses by Stuart Moore, and Harbinger: Slow Burn by Jason Star, all inspired by the Valiant Entertainment properties. In addition, the Self-Service Submission Platform is now open, allowing writers to publish stories based on certain licensed properties and earn royalties in the process.
Billed as the first commercial publishing platform for fan fiction, Kindle Worlds was announced last month as “a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games.”
When Amazon Publishing unveiled Kindle Worlds last month, one of the first questions in comics circles was which publisher would be the first to sign on to the program, which allows fan-fic writers to earn royalties for certain corporate-approved stories. Now we know the answer: Valiant Entertainment.
The recently revived publisher was announced this morning as part of the second wave of licensors, alongside bestselling authors Hugh Howey (Silo Saga), Barry Eisler (John Rain novels), Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines) and Neal Stephenson (Foreworld Saga). Under the agreement, writers will be able to create and sell stories inspired by Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger and Shadowman, with more properties expected to be added later.
In addition, the Kindle Worlds Store will launch later this month with more than 50 commissioned works, including “Valiant-branded” short stories by Jason Starr, Robert Rodi, Stuart Moore and others. The Kindle Worlds self-service submission platform will open at the same time.
A week that began with Yahoo’s $1.1 billion deal for Tumblr got even stranger this morning with Amazon Publishing’s announcement of Kindle Worlds, billed as the first commercial publishing platform for fan fiction. In short, fanfic writers can now earn royalties for certain corporate-sanctioned stories.
For the launch, Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Alloy Entertainment, the book-packaging division of Warner Bros. Television, for Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl, Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars and L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries — all bestselling young-adult series that have spawned hit television shows. More licenses are expected to be announced soon.