The Longbox digital comics distribution system was first announced in June 2009 and was universally described as “iTunes for comics.” In fact, it is much more than that: A platform-independent application that allows the user to buy and read comics digitally and move them from one device to another. Unlike the iTunes store, Longbox won’t have strict content restrictions, but users can create subaccounts that will only allow browsing, purchase, and reading of comics below a given age rating. The public beta version becomes available today with a handful of titles, and developer and CEO Rantz Hoseley says new content will start appearing on a weekly basis beginning on June 29 and available at a discount “in recognition that we are still in beta.”
I tried out the private beta last weekend, and the experience was pretty seamless: You look at a display of covers, buy the ones you want, download them, and read them in a comics reader on the screen. Hoseley talked to me last week about how Longbox will evolve as a platform for readers and for publishers.
What devices will Longbox launch on?
The upcoming launch is Mac and PC. Tablets, both in terms of the Apple generated ones and the Android and Windows Mobile 7 powered ones, will be early fall. We hope to be able to announce the date on that by San Diego, but the contract negotiations are taking a little longer than we would prefer. At the very least, in a worst case scenario we will be having it installed on the devices in question by New York Comic-Con.
Publishing | Yen Press’ graphic-novel adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight debuts today in bookstores. With its staggering 350,000-copy first printing, the $19.99 hardcover likely will be the bestselling English-language comic this year (if not for some time afterward). But how will “possessive” Twilight fans — the same ones who have helped the YA series sell 53 million copies worldwide — react to artist Young Kim’s rendition of the characters after seeing them brought to life on the big screen? [USA Today]
Comics | Just weeks after Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 were bought at record prices of $1 million and $1.07 million, respectively, a near-mint copy of Flash Comics #1 has sold for $450,000. The 1940 comic features the first appearance of The Flash and Hawkman. [ArtsBeat]
Conventions | It looks as if Thursday memberships for Comic-Con International could sell out by the end of the day. That will leave only Sunday passes. [Comic-Con International]
Announced in June at HeroesCon, Longbox has been billed as “iTunes for comics.” It will feature 99-cent downloads of comics from such publishers as Archaia, BOOM! Studios and Top Cow Productions and creators like Richard Starkings, Ivan Brandon, Jonathan Hickman, Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen. Longbox is set to launch in October.