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ComiXology has unveiled its own version of an Advent calendar with a countdown called the “12 Days of Free Comics.”
The promotion is exactly what it sounds like: Each day between today and Dec. 20 (alas, not Christmas), the company is offering a different digital comic for free. To kick things off, there’s Batman #13, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV and Jock, the first issue in the “Death of the Family” storyline. Day 2 is … well, you’ll have to check back with comiXology to find out.
“Over the course of these 12 days we’re making holiday giving easier than it’s ever been,” comiXology co-founder John D. Roberts said in a statement. “These twelve days aren’t just to give back to the fans that have made comiXology so great but also to let those fans share the love of comics with everyone they know.”
Fair warning, though: Readers have just 24 hours to claim their free comic; by the time Day 2 of the promotion arrives, Batman #13 will no longer be available (for free, at any rate; it’ll regularly cost you $2.99).
Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out on Wednesday.
So without further ado, let’s get to it …
ComiXology has branched out into yet another arena with the launch of eBay Digital Comics, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a dedicated digital-comics marketplace for users of the auction and shopping website. It’s now in limited beta test in the United States.
TechCrunch reports that while eBay previously permitted merchants to offer some digital items, with this expansion the website is actually involved in curating and selling content.
The new storefront essentially serves as a display window — for now, at least — allowing eBay users to browse the collection by character. Once a title is selected, buyers are taken to its page on comiXology, where they have to have an account to actually make a purchase. The FAQ at eBay Digital Comics indicates that, “We are working to provide you with the ability to purchase digital comics on eBay with your eBay account.”
Three years ago, the folks at Act-i-vate kicked off Panels for Primates, a webcomic anthology in which various writers and artists created comics about monkeys, apes and other primates. The comic was free, but readers were encouraged to donate to the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholsville, Kentucky. The roster of contributors to the comic is impressive, with such creators as David Petersen, Rick Geary and Fred Van Lente involved.
Now the comics have been collected into a digital anthology on comiXology, published, appropriately, by Monkeybrain. Actually, two anthologies: Panels for Primates Junior is suitable for all ages, while Panels for Primates is rated 15+. The kids’ version looks very cute and has some good creators on board, including Rich Clabaugh, Mike Maihack, and J. Bone, but the lineup for the 15+ version is irresistible: Stan Lee, Paul Kupperberg (writer of Life with Archie and a former writer for the tabloid Weekly World News), Faith Erin Hicks, Colleen Coover, Molly Crabapple and ROBOT 6 contributor Michael May — just imagine what these people can do with monkeys!
The kids’ book is $8.99 and the adult anthology is $9.99, and once again, proceeds from both will go to the Primate Rescue Center.
(via Pop Candy)
Thursday at this time, many Americans will be digging in to their bountiful Thanksgiving dinner or, depending upon the time zone, blissfully enjoying a tryptophan coma. Feasting isn’t the only tradition, however: There’s also the custom of giving thanks, hence the holiday’s name.
With the end of the year approaching, it seems like a good opportunity to reflect on the state of comics, and celebrate what’s working. Sure, this crazy industry can be frustrating at times, but it also gets a lot of things right. So in keeping with the numerical motif of our namesake, here are six things in comics for which I’m thankful.
1. Image Comics is killing it
There are a lot of fantastic comics today. It’s been said a number of times by myself and others but it’s so fun to repeat: We are living in a new renaissance period for comics. I don’t think there’s ever before been such a sustained output of quality books. You can’t reasonably give credit for that to one publisher, but if we’re just looking at the major players in the direct market, Image Comics is just killing it this year. I don’t think they’ve ever had such a stellar line-up of quality creators putting out books that look fantastic, have great hooks to them, and stand on their own as solid entertainment.
BOOM! Studios will make all of its collected editions and graphic novels available on comiXology beginning today, with the digital debuts of volumes of Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors, Irredeemable, 2 Guns and others. The publisher’s entire back catalog will be available soon on comiXology for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 and the web.
“We’ve been talking about making our backlist catalog available digitally in collected form for some time and it’s a great way to help cap the amazing year BOOM! has been having,” BOOM! CEO Ross Richie said in a statement. “With new fans discovering our brand every day through series like Adventure Time, Day Men, Suicide Risk and Herobear and the Kid, what better time to make everything available? I’m really excited about all of the co-promotions we have planned with comiXology as we roll out new editions!”
The full list of the publisher’s collected editions available today can be found below:
ComiXology, which already permits users to “gift” purchases, is now offering an “eGift Card” to make holiday shopping a heck of a lot easier. They’re available in amounts ranging from $10 to $500, with no extra fees and, best of all, no expiration dates.
“Shopping for friends, family and loved ones is hard, especially if they’re comic fans, so the comiXology eGift Card takes out the guess work and makes it easy to be a comics gifting hero,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “The comiXology eGift Card is another way we’re making it easy for comics fans to get and give the comics they love.”
There’s a handy eGift Cards FAQ on the comiXology website covering everything from setting a date for the card to arrive to how to check your card balance. Read the full press release below.
Retailing | Fans of the Fall River, Massachusetts, retailer StillPoint Comics, Cards & Games kicked in $5,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to keep the store in business. The shop, which opened in 1997, had to close for 10 days last month after its power was shut off. [The Herald News]
Publishing | Following confirmation last month of a Space Mountain graphic novel series, Heidi MacDonald talks with executives from Disney Publishing Worldwide about the expansion of the new Disney Comics imprint. [Publishers Weekly]
Events | Sean Kleefeld reports on Day 1 of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art in Columbus, Ohio. [Kleefeld on Comics]
In addition to launching their first-ever linewide Kickstarter project this week, Fantagraphics announced another “first” for the company — their first digital-first comic. The 50-page, self-contained Violenzia by Richard Sala (Delphine, Cat Burgler Black) will be released on comiXology Nov. 20.
“A fast moving, self-contained story, Violenzia is a blast of pulpy fun, told in scenes of audacious action and splashes of rich watercolors,” said Fanta’s Jen Vaughn. “With elements of golden age comics and old movies mixed with Sala’s trademark humor and sense of the absurd, Violenzia is serious fun, a bloody enigma masked as eye candy, a puzzle box riddled with bullet holes.”
(Hmmm … it’s funny how we’ve never seen Violenzia and Jen Vaughn in the same room together …)
Check out some additional art from the comic below, and some additional thoughts on the project from Fanta’s Eric Reynolds at The Comics Reporter.
Called, fittingly enough, Action Presidents, the new title begins at the beginning, with a look at George Washington “in the hilarious-but-accurate manner of their previous works,” Action Philosophers and The Comic Book History of Comics.
“Long-announced, finally arrived, Action Presidents will profile a different chief executive in each issue,” Van Lente said in a statement, “at least until we start getting to the really lame ones.”
Each issue will be available for $1.99 on comiXology, “with a special dead tree edition available through distributor Tony Shenton and at conventions.” They plan to publish a collected edition once five or six issues have been released.
In a timely addendum, Evil Twin Comics confirmed in a press release its commitment to remaining in New York City, “specifically beneath a bridge spanning the Gowanus Canal.” Check out a preview of Action Presidents #1 below.
In celebration of Halloween, Dark Horse is offering 50 percent off more than 800 digital horror titles — for today only.
Given the publisher’s penchant for horror, the selection is pretty extensive, ranging from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Hellboy families to The Strain and The Goon. There’s even a bit of manga — they include MPD-Psycho, Hellsing and two of my favorites, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and Mail — in the mix. So prepare to browse and browse. No specific ending time is mentioned, but I’m guessing midnight Pacific.
In a similar seasonal vein, comiXology’s Halloween sales — with discounts on Marvel Zombies, Locke & Key Vol. 2, Tales From the Crypt and Afterlife With Archie #1 — end today.
Graphic novels | France 24 examines the Thursday release of Asterix and the Picts — the first album by new creative team Jean Yves-Ferri and Didier Conrad — from a political perspective, noting that the story, in which Asterix and Obelix journey from ancient Gaul to Iron Age Scotland, has already become part of the current debate about Scottish independence. [France 24]
Creators | Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who spent a night in police custody last week on charges of “suspicion of causing a disturbance,” spoke to the press this week. Liming, who has more than 300,000 followers on his microblog account, first ran into trouble two years ago for one of his cartoons, but police told him that China has freedom of speech and he could continue drawing. Nonetheless, another of his cartoons, depicting Winnie the Pooh (a frequent cartoon stand-in for Chinese President Xi Jinping) kicking a football was deleted and suppressed by censors. “For them, drawing leaders in cartoon form is a big taboo,” the cartoonist said. “I think the controls on the Internet are too harsh. They have no sense of humor. They can’t accept any ridicule.” [Reuters]
Amid a flurry of announcements at New York Comic Con, comiXology revealed it has signed a digital-distribution deal with Ape Entertainment, publisher of titles ranging from Poison Elves to Kung Fu Panda to Temple Run.
The news quickly follows announcements of an expanded deal with DC Comics to carry select collections and the addition of Avatar Press, and Viz Media Europe and its French subsidiary Kazé. ComiXology also released some of the findings from its readership survey, which indicated that 20 percent of its readers are women (up from just 5 percent six years ago).
To kick off the new agreement, the following Ape comics have debuted on the digital-comics platform:
Out of all of the comiXology announcements made in the past few days — and there have been few — this one stands to make the biggest impact: Female readership has increased dramatically since the digital-comics platform launched in 2007.
TechHive reports that six years ago, women represented less than 5 percent of comiXology users; now that figure has rocketed to 20 percent. What’s more, the company knows exactly who this reader is: “She’s 17-26 years old, college-educated, lives in the suburbs, and is new to comics. She prefers Tumblr to Reddit. She may have never even picked up a print comic.”
(Perhaps then it’s no coincidence that comiXology abandoned its long-running blog, and launched a very active one in July on Tumblr.)
Digital comics | Declaring that “the mainstreaming of digital publishing is nearly complete,” veteran technology writer Andy Ihnatko outlines three major steps the industry still needs to take: a move by Dark Horse to comiXology; the adoption of ePUB as an industry standard; and the abandonment of digital rights management. “We should be grateful to DRM,” Ihnatko writes. “‘What about piracy?’ wasn’t Marvel or DC’s only qualm about digital publishing, but it was a question that needed to be addressed before the major publishers could go all-in. But now that comiXology is up and running, and people have been ‘trained’ to use the new infrastructure, DRM is becoming less and less valuable with each passing quarter.” [Chicago Grid]
Digital comics | For readers only now discovering digital comics, Jeffrey L. Wilson provides a guide that covers the basics, from what they are to where they can be found and how much they cost. [PC Mag]