The Dark Horse iPad app and online store, which launch today, start off with a good selection of comics, mostly from the publisher’s extensive backlist: Hellboy, Conan, The Umbrella Academy, Serenity, Lone Wolf and Cub, among others. Dark Horse launches their digital store with over 300 comics and plans to add more at a pretty fast clip: 45 to 60 titles a month, according to Matt Parkinson, director of online marketing. The emphasis is definitely on the classics at the moment, but Parkinson said newer comics are coming.
Dark Horse Digital works on two platforms, iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch), and the web. This basically means it works on all platforms, because any device with a web browser, including Android devices, can access the online store. Both the iOS version and the web version offer a panel-by-panel view, which seems to be pretty standard by now. The app and store come pre-loaded with two free comics, but to access anything more, users have to create an account. That account allows users to access their comics and also sync apps across devices and the web.
The iPad app works about like all other iPad apps: Open to a catalog, tap an icon to learn more, buy the comics through the iTunes store, swipe to turn pages, etc. However, Dark Horse’s developers have introduced a few interesting wrinkles that make it run a little more smoothly. One is that their digital store organizes comics by series and story arc, which makes for a more pleasant browsing experience—and allows them to get a bigger variety onto the front page. Open the Marvel App to the “Featured” screen, and you get a bunch of individual issues—four Thors and four Wolverines at the moment. Wolverine #26, #27, #28, and #29 are given equal space. Dark Horse puts eight different series in that very first screen; scrolling down quickly brings you through all series in the library, rather than a host of single issues. This cuts the signal-to-noise ratio and makes browsing a lot more pleasant; you can quickly find the series you want rather than wading through a sea of stuff you don’t care about.
Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X for $2.99! Brubaker, Epting and Perkins’s The Death of Captain America for $2.99! Millar & Hitch’s Ultimates Vol. 1 for $1.99! And so much more, from 30 Days of Night to Megatokyo to Bacchus to The Little Man to Speed Racer for less than the cost of a $5 footlong — that’s what you can find listed among Barnes & Noble’s Bargain Graphic Novels right this very moment. Go, shop!
(Via Fred Van Lente)
I usually don’t try to plug online shops and sales too often, but this struck me as rather interesting and worthy of note: Comics scholar Rick Marschall and Jonathan Barli have set up Rosebud Archives, an online shop where you can buy prints, books, stationary and portfolios of early 20th century cartoonists and illustrators like Winsor McCay, George McManus, George Herriman, Milt Gross and many more. The site draws upon the pair’s huge collection of art work, so it’s safe to assume there will be a lot more available in the months to come. (via)