Over the last couple of days BOOM! Studios has made two announcements related to digital distribution of their titles. Yesterday they launched their own iPad/iPhone application with some help from comiXology, and today they announced they plan to make their entire catalog of BOOM! Studios titles available via comiXology, iVerse, Graphic.ly and Panelfly.
I spoke with Chip Mosher, BOOM!’s director of marketing, about their digital plans, timing of releases, the customer base for their digital comics and more.
JK: Let’s talk timing, as that’s been a popular topic of late. How long will it take new BOOM! titles to reach the digital apps, compared to when books hit retail stores?
Chip: BOOM! really sees the digital comics market as its own animal. We were one of the first companies to have comics on the iPhone with iVerse back when they launched and have been watching the market place for a couple of years now. Having a consistent release schedule is important for that market segment, and what we are seeing is that the people who are reading digital comics are far and away removed from the rhythms of the direct market. A ton of what the release schedule depends on has to do with administrative things that are out of our control. Currently we have no plans on doing anything earlier than 30 days.
Following up on their announcement yesterday that they’d launched their own application for the iPad and iPhone, BOOM! Studios announced today via press release that they plan to make their entire back-catalog of BOOM! Studios titles available through several digital distributors by the end of the summer.
Per the release, comiXology, iVerse, Graphic.ly and Panelfly will offer BOOM!’s “frontlist and backlist for digital download spanning the mobile, portable and desktop space, including the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, laptop and desktop computers.” All BOOM! Studios single-issue digital comics are priced at $1.99 with the first half of each series’ first issue available to download for free from all four vendors.
Check out the complete press release after the jump, and check back shortly for my interview with Chip Mosher, BOOM!’s marketing director, about their digital strategy, release schedules and more.
Legal | Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane will return to court next month after more than seven years to hash out how much Gaiman is owed for his copyright interests in Medieval Spawn, Angela and Count Nicholas Cogliostro. Gaiman wants to learn how much money was generated by three other characters he claims are derivative of those he co-created with McFarlane: Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany.
McFarlane asked for another trial on the issue, but on Tuesday U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that Gaiman has a plausible claim, and ordered an evidentiary hearing to be held on June 14. [Wisconsin State Journal]
Conventions | As the bidding war for Comic-Con International continues, convention organizers have asked San Diego hotels to sign contracts guaranteeing room rates for the next five years. A decision on whether the four-day event will remain in the city after 2012 was expected weeks ago, but Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said that’s been delayed because the competing cities — Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego — continue to amend their offers. He now expects a decision within the next month. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]
Publishing | BusinessWeek looks at how companies like Marvel, Panelfly, ComiXology and Graphic.ly are promoting comics apps for Apple’s just-released iPad, and notes that a cautious DC Comics is still “assessing that tablet and other devices.” It’s a general overview, touching upon the “Is it a game-changer?” theme, but it offers one tidbit I don’t recall seeing previously: Apple takes 30 percent of sales, leaving publishers with — in the words of Panelfly’s Wade Slitkin — “the lion’s share” of revenues from comics purchased through iPhone apps.
The magazine also reports that Apple may have sold as many as 700,000 iPads in the debut weekend, more than double early estimates. In other iPad news: The Marvel Comics App, officially announced on Friday, is ranked at No. 14 on the list of free apps offered through Apple’s iTunes store. And on Saturday, IDW Publishing announced its entry into the iPad arena with four free apps. [BusinessWeek]
Legal | Bestselling Japanese author Manabu Miyazaki, son of a yakuza boss, last week sued police in Fukuoka prefecture for asking stores to remove underworld comics and magazines from their shelves. The police request was meant to enforce an ordinance designed to curtail the influence of the crime syndicates. [New Straits Times]
Per the press release, iFanboy’s founders will join Graphic.ly, as well as keep their responsibilities for the iFanboy site and community. Conor Kilpatrick and Josh Flanagan will lead content creation for iFanboy and overall publisher and creator relations, while Ron Richards will oversee product and business development for iFanboy. iFanboy’s content will be integrated into Graphic.ly’s website and digital comics software.
“As community and content become more and more entwined, Graphic.ly wants to be at the forefront of the new digital comic age. By acquiring iFanboy, we become part of one of the best communities in the industry,” said Micah Baldwin, CEO and co-founder of Graphic.ly. “Working with iFanboy, we are able to take our vision to the next level and fully integrate our product into the fandom community.”
“Graphic.ly has the future in mind, and that’s something iFanboy has always valued,” Flanagan wrote on iFanboy this morning. “Their first product is a digital comics reader and platform, a movement iFanboy have always supported. But in addition to that, Graphic.ly is very committed to being a part of the comics community at large, and to growing the comics audience. They expressed an interest in bringing some folks on who were respected in the comic book industry and had developed an awesome community of comic book lovers. Eventually when all those people turned them down, they were stuck with us.”
That post also includes a Q&A about the change, promising “more writing, more reviews, more features, more fun, more discussions, more creators, more anything we can think of to make iFanboy better for you. This development will finally give us the opportunity to improve iFanboy in all the ways we’ve wanted to, but haven’t been able to because we have lacked the time and the resources and the manpower that are needed to make our ideas a reality.”
The complete press release is available after the jump.