Last week, we noted that comiXology had added a major French publisher, Glénat, to its lineup. The other shoe drops today with the news that the digital-comics giant has signed 12 more French publishers: Aelement Comics, Akileos, Ankama, Éditions Ça et Là, I Can Fly, Indeez Urban Éditions, Los Brignolès Éditions, Panini Comics, Sandawe, Soleil Productions, Wanga Comics and WEBellipses.
Together with Delcourt, which comiXology brought aboard in January, this group represents 40 percent of the French comics market and more than 400 titles. You can find the French-language comics here; if you were thinking it might be a little classier to read Kick-Ass in French, well, here’s your chance. All the French comics released today are available in French-speaking European countries, and most of them are available in the United States as well.
This is a logical move for comiXology; as CEO David Steinberger observed at SXSW, 40 percent of the company’s sales are outside the United States, and this expands the market even further. In keeping with this, comiXology has included a French-language navigation option in the latest release of its iOS app, version 3.3, and Android users will soon get that option as well.
DC Comics announced a new digital storefront in Apple’s iBookstore this week, and for now, it’s filled with Batman graphic novels. The graphic novels were already available in iBooks, but the storefront pulls them all together in one place. Of course, you can also buy DC’s digital graphic novels via comiXology or DC’s comiXology storefront, or from DC’s Amazon storefront.
You might want to shop around a bit, though, because several of those books are cheaper on Amazon than in the iBookstore: Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin, Vol. 1, is $9.68 on the Kindle, $11.99 on iBooks. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight Strikes Again are $9.99 on Kindle versus $12.99 in the iBookstore. There are a couple of more, and in each case that I saw, Kindle beat Apple, at least on price, and all were readable using the Kindle apps on the iPad and Android devices, so these digital versions are in direct competition with each other.
What’s going on here? My understanding was that Apple’s agreement with publishers who use iBooks is that they won’t sell them at a lower price elsewhere. Of course, they may be easing back on that since the U.S. Department of Justice sued them, alleging price-fixing. Or maybe it’s just a glitch.
Crime | A trailer filled with convention set-up and inventory of Avatar Press was stolen from the parking lot of Corner Store Comics in Anaheim, California, on Tuesday as the publisher prepared to head to Seattle for the Emerald City Comicon. The trailer contained cases of several graphic novels, including Neonomicon, Crossed, Freakangels, Night of the Living Dead and Fevre Dream, as well as limited-edition copies created specifically for conventions and large quantities of books by author Max Brooks. Avatar founder William Christensen asked West Coast retailers to keep an eye out for anyone looking to sell large quantities of Avatar books as they continue to work with local law enforcement. “Needless to say, this is a significant setback for us in terms of lost inventory, but I want to assure everyone that we have additional inventory of the graphic novels warehoused and available for restock to comic retailers and bookstores. As word of this has spread and people have been asking me what they could do to help, the other thing I’ve been mentioning is to simply keep asking your local retailer for books from Avatar Press. As for upcoming conventions, we will still be attending every con on our schedule, so we hope to see you at upcoming shows as well.” Any information on the stolen books can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. [Bleeding Cool] Continue Reading »
Launching on iPad, iPhone, Android and Flash — presumably, the latter means Facebook and Google+ — the story-driven game will feature “all the classic and iconic elements of Archie’s world, from Riverdale High to his two love interests, Betty and Veronica — not to mention friends and foes like Reggie, Jughead and more.”
“We’re excited and honored to be partnering with Gogii Games,” Archie Co-CEO Jon Goldwater said in a statement. “They came up with a way to really bring the comics to life and to engage an entirely new and fervent fan base. We can’t wait for this game to go live across all platforms and countries.”
Although the announcement notes that development is already under way, no release date has been made public.
Based in New Brunswick, Canada, Gogii boasts a catalog of more than 30 games, including Princess Isabella, White Haven Mysteries and Escape the Museum.
Digital comics were the big story of 2011, and there is no question that comiXology dominated the field. CEO David Steinberger and his crew realized the potential of digital media to transform comics back in 2007, but they didn’t start on the iPhone. What comiXology did first was put comics solicitations online (as opposed to trapping them in a paper catalog, as Previews does) and set up a system for digital pull lists that users could tie in to participating retailers or simply print out and bring to the store.
Now the comiXology brand means much, much more. They were among the first digital comics distributors on the iPhone and then on the iPad, and their digital comics app, simply titled Comics, is one of the top grossing apps in the iTunes store. They also have their own web store as well as an Android app. ComiXology is also behind almost every comics publisher app, including Marvel, DC, Image, IDW (a recent addition), Dynamite and BOOM! Studios, as well as single-property apps such as Scott Pilgrim, The Walking Dead, and Star Trek.
A blog called Welcome Datacomp has translated a discussion of manga piracy between manga creators Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima), Minako Uchida, and Kazumi Tojo that took place on the Japanese social media site Togetter about the prevalence of scanned and fan-translated manga on the internet. Akamatsu is experimenting with his own free manga site, but even so, he sounds pessimistic: “Am I too late? I get the feeling that [my project to release free manga PDFs] won’t be enough at this point.” He goes on to say
Hasn’t illegally scanned manga, propagated so casually like this, fallen into the category of “property of the Internet”? You won’t be able to eliminate it. The only thing we can do at this point is [launch our own free websites with the] “advertising model”. (Because charging people would be difficult.)
The most recent illegal scans are very high quality, and the translations are exceedingly accurate. (^^;) If there’s no respect for original authors on the net, then obviously the official versions will lose out.
The creators express dismay that people who would not shoplift from a physical store have no compunction about reading pirated manga; as Tojo says, “It seems like people will pay for things they can touch like vegetables, but they think it’s a waste to pay for intangible data.”
It seems like the creators are talking about both scans in Japanese, which are read locally, and fan-translated manga for other markets; they cite one example of a publisher being told by fans to change a name to the one selected by a scanlator. And there’s an interesting side discussion on the decline of the cell phone, which was once a popular platform for yaoi and erotic manga. As people switch to smart phones, the options dwindle: Apple doesn’t allow adult manga in the iTunes store, and Akamatsu says Kindle doesn’t either (I’m not so sure about that), but the fans reassure him that Android allows it, making that the platform of choice for ero manga fans.
Starting today, Graphic.ly becomes the latest digital comics service to launch an app for Android devices. With about 2,000 comics from 150 publishers, Graphic.ly is one of the smaller digital distributors, but they are the only distributor of Marvel comics on the Android platform, and their lineup also includes Archaia, Archie, Boom! Studios, IDW, and Top Cow. Last week, Graphic.ly announced that beginning in April, they will be carrying Archie comics on the same day they are released in print.
The Android app, which is free, includes a full storefront so users can buy comics via their Android phones, and they can also sync their Android app with their Graphic.ly account on other platforms, so you can, for instance, buy a comic via their web app and read it on your Android phone. In the official press release, Graphic.ly CEO Micah Baldwin says “This application is only the beginning of the expansion of our relationship with Google, which began as a launch partner with the Chrome Application Store.” That opens up some interesting horizons, as Apple begins to enforce its iTunes restrictions and publishers start to wonder about alternatives. With its web and Air apps (which allow you to buy comics through their own store) and now the Android app, Graphic.ly is definitely diversifying.
Until recently, Android users haven’t had many comics to choose from. Robot Comics has been publishing comics as single apps for Android phones for the past few years, but for a long time they had the platform to themselves. ComiXology announced an Android app in December, and Graphic.ly is only the second multi-comics app to make the leap to the Android.
Full press release and more screenshots after the jump.
The big news in the e-book world this week was the Digital Book World convention in New York, and the big news for Robot 6 is that Robot 13 (no relation) won the Publishing Innovation Award in the comics category.
If there was every any doubt that comics have arrived, brush it away: There were only five awards categories, and comics made the cut alongside fiction, non-fiction, children’s, and reference. And the list of nominees was quite diverse:
- Clown Commandos #1 (Big Red Boot Entertainment)
- Disney Epic Mickey Digicomics (Disney Publishing Worldwide)
- Motion Comic SUPERARE (Amo Tarzi)
- Operation Ajax (Tall Chair, Inc.)
- Robot 13 (Robot Comics)
- Tumor (Archaia Studios Press)
- Valentine (Robot Comics)
The nominating judges clearly favorited individual comics over publishers: comiXology, iVerse, and Graphicly are all absent from this list, despite the fact that they have been doing quite a bit of genuine innovation. And it’s worth noting that for the judges, iTunes isn’t king. The finalists for the awards were Robot 13, Operation Ajax and Tumor, and two out of these three are not iPad comics: Robot 13 is available for iPhone but was originally developed for Android, while Tumor is distributed via Kindle. In the eyes of these judges, at least, there’s still quite a bit of diversity in the digital world.
The Register is a UK newspaper that that makes tech and business news a lot less boring by cloaking it in cheeky slang. An item that popped up today, iPad media apps: Stealthed hobbits thwart Google’s flaming Eye, caught my attention because it relates to the changing landscape of comics.
The point of the article is that iPad and iPhone apps are not accessible to Google and other internet search engines. This may not seem like a big deal, but in January, Apple will unveil the Mac Apps Store, and more and more content will be walled off in separate applications. I already use comiXology’s web app and the Mac version of the Kindle reader, so a Mac app is only a small step away from what I’m doing now.
It’s time for comics publishers and app developers to devote some serious thought to the question of how readers are going to find comics on their mobile devices. Already I have a hard time finding things in the app store, and the lack of a dedicated comics section makes it even worse. Unlike Google’s robust search engine (if I search for “Joseph Smith,” it knows to give me hits for “Joe Smith” as well, and it will ask me if I’m really looking for “Jo Smyth” if there are more hits for that), the iTunes store only responds to a handful of exact keywords.
comiXology, who currently sell digital comics through various applications on the iPhone and iPad, as well as through their own website, released a “beta” comics application for the Android mobile operating system today. Per the release, the Comics by comiXology Android beta app will include comics from many of the publishers comiXology works with on the various Apple devices, including DC Comics, Image, Dynamite and BOOM! — but no Marvel, it seems.
Honestly I’m not real familiar with what comics are available already in the Android marketplace, since I don’t have an Android phone. Earlier this year Graphic.ly announced they’d be selling Marvel titles on the Android, while I know iVerse and Robot Comics also sell comics on it. But this is the first time DC Comics, at least, will be available on the Android, which should please its users.
You can read the entire press release after the jump, which includes a list of publishers they’ll have available.