You might not have a Kobo e-reader, but if you’re reading Robot 6, you probably do have some sort of tablet, iOS or Android, or maybe a smartphone, yes? Well, here’s some good news: Kobo is having a half-price sale on graphic novels, and you can get its iOS and Android apps for free. So if you have been holding off on something, and you don’t mind having it in a different app than everything else, this is your lucky day.
Of course, much depends on what you like to read. There are no Marvel or DC Comics to be found, but if you’re a Walking Dead, Star Wars, Doctor Who or Buffy fan, Kobo has you covered. Lots of good indy stuff, too: Adam Warren’s Empowered, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan’s Channel Zero, and the superb action comic Kill Shakespeare. The publishers most prominently represented seem to be Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Digital Manga (which publishes mainly yaoi manga but also Vampire Hunter D), Top Cow and Devil’s Due.
Before you pay full price for your second graphic novel, though, you might want to do a little comparison shopping; several of the Dark Horse books I checked were much cheaper on the publisher’s own digital app than in the Kobo store, and the Parker book below is only $7.99 at comiXology. Also, the Kobo store carries both single-issue comics and graphic novels, and it’s a bit pricey for the single issues, most of which seem to go for $4.99; Archie comics seem to be the exception to that.
With those caveats, here are a couple of books that I would recommend:
Indy publisher Drawn and Quarterly is making its first foray into digital media—and it’s on the Kobo Vox tablet, which has not been a big comics platform up till now. D+Q is are starting slow with just two books, Chester Brown’s Paying for It and Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, and the deal is nonexclusive, meaning the books could pop up on other platforms as well.
Both Kobo and D+Q are headquartered in Canada, which may or may not be a coincidence, but this was an interesting part of the PW story:
D&Q publisher and editor-in-chief Chris Oliveros said that e-book proceeds will be split 50/50 between its authors and the publisher, citing rights recommendations from the Writers Union of Canada. “D+Q has always been an author-centric company, it is this ethos that has shaped us into who we are today,” Oliveros said, “it only seemed natural to offer the fairest proposition to our authors.”
Of course, that’s after Kobo takes its share.
I was curious as to what other graphic novels are available on Kobo; their store lists 515 books in the graphic novel category, including Cowboys & Aliens; a selection of manga from Digital Manga, Yen Press, Manga University, and the long-defunct Comics One; Italian translations of Peanuts; and a number of graphic novels that were new to me. It’s an odd assortment, but Kobo was recently acquired by the Japanese company Rakuten so big things may be in its future.