EXCL. PREVIEW: Marvel's "Darth Vader" #9 Puts the Sith Lord at a Crossroads
Webcomics | Corinna Bechko, one of the co-creators of The Crooked Man, says that she and artist Gabriel Hardman are working to turn their Zuda submission into a graphic novel. They placed fifth in the July 2008 Zuda competition. (Thanks David!)
Webcomics | Warren Pleece’s Montague Terrace has started running on the ACTIVATE website. You can also find all the pages at his blog. In other ACTIVATE news, the site also now includes a column by Tim Hall.
e-Devices | The full audio of the South by Southwest interactive panel “Comics on Handhelds: Taking Webcomics Mobile” is now online. The panel features Dan Goldman, Rich Stevens, Douglas Edwards, Molly Crabapple, Dave Bort and Rantz Hoseley “in a let’s-sketch-out-solutions talk for transitioning webcomics to a variety of new petri dishes,” Goldman said.
Webcomics | Karl Kerschl says his webcomic The Abominable Charles Christopher could be coming to print this year. “I’m looking at printing quotes and schedules, and I hope to have something available by mid-summer,” he wrote on the comic’s blog.
Webcomics | MTV has started a new feature where they “take a look at comics that merit attention from filmmakers.” The first one focuses on the webcomic The Adventures Of Dr. McNinja By Chris Hastings.
Webcomics | Starting this Sunday, the webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE will run The Iraq War Stories Anthology, edited by Nick Bertozzi. Per the press release, Bertozzi asked the students in his Comic Book Storytelling Workshop at The School of Visual Arts to adapt stories that took place in Iraq during the War.
“The majority of the stories were found on blogs, a few were adapted from stories told to the students by friends, and one student, himself a veteran of the Iraq War, wrote and drew a story based on his own experience,” the release says. One story will appear each Sunday for the next 13 weeks.
e-Devices & Webcomics | Here’s a fun case of sibling rivalry — Peter Timony has released The Complete Sir Roland, previously available on the web, as a comic for Amazon’s Kindle device. Not to be outdone, his twin brother Bobby has released a 24-Hour Comic, The Ballad of Basil the Bunny, for the Kindle.
Webcomics | Daryl Cagle discusses the pluses and minuses of allowing other sites to easily embed political cartoons from his site — something that’s becoming the norm in the world of Web 2.0 and YouTube. [Hat tip: The Comics Reporter]
e-Publishing | Range Murata, the creator of anime like Last Exile and Shangri-La, has released his self-published magazine Throw Line dōjin on iTunes.
Webcomics | The long-running Split Lip horror webcomic is now available in print. Split Lip Vol. 1 is a 158-page trade paperback collecting 11 horror comics, all written by Sam Costello and drawn by artists such as John Bivens, Jason Ho and Sami Makkonen.
Costello is selling copies on the Split Lip website and will sell them at conventions as well.
E-devices | BoingBoing points to an announcement from Gamma Dynamics that they’ve developed “a new electrofluidic reflective display” that uses colored pigments. Mark Frauenfelder wonders if this could lead to a color version of Amazon’s Kindle device. Matt Maxwell says, “And you will end up reading your comics on it, sooner or later.”
Webcomics | French cartoonist Raphael B. uses the scroll bar to his advantage in this very cool Spider-Man webcomic that transcends any language barriers. [Hat tip: Laura Hudson, at the relaunched Comics Alliance blog]
Humor | Meet the world’s first Post-Paper Evolution Consultant. “I’m 29. I was practically raised by an original Nintendo, so I was there the first time a video game (Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest) showed a richness of characterization, lyrical language, and elegant plotting that rivaled the finest novels. I was blogging by ’02, Facebooking by ’04, bored of Facebook by ’06, thinking it was lame how thirty-five year olds got super in to Facebook in ’08. Like it or not, I’m the future.”
Digital comics | The Baltimore Sun spotlights Time Jumper, Stan Lee’s multimedia collaboration with Walt Disney Home Entertainment.
The article quotes Steve Geppi, president of Diamond Comic Distributors, who praises innovations like Time Jumper but stresses they won’t supplant the traditional comic book: “There’s a certain thing about picking up that book, about touching it and smelling it and reading it. … There’s just something about that experience you can’t replace.”
Digital publishing | Sean Kleefeld ponders why many publishers are reluctant to explore digital distribution.
Digital comics | Chris Williams considers what moves by publishers into the digital realm might mean to comic-book stores: “Are digital comics inevitable? Yes. Is it doom and gloom for your favorite local comic shop? Maybe.”
Piracy | Wired’s Gadget Lab reports that pirates have illegally cracked about 20 percent of the paid applications sold by Apple’s App Store.
Digital comics | Cartoonist Dan Hipp, whose Gyakushu! was among the titles caught up last year in Tokyopop’s seismic restructuring, has announced the third volume is complete and apparently will appear online: “So, will you get to see it? The answer is yes, but not as originally intended, as the plan is STILL to put it online. Apologies to anyone assuming otherwise, because naturally I’d love to see it in print someday, in its full 600-page horrific glory. Don’t hold your breath, but who knows what the future will bring.”
Talk of Tokyopop moving the bulk of its “OEL books” online began in June as soon as the company announced its shakeup. However, no official announcement has been made.
Digital comics | In this week’s “MyCup o’ Joe” Q&A, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada touches upon the uncertainties of the digital “format”: “I think the next big commercial format will be the digital format. It’s paradoxical, because I think we all ‘know that,’ but we don’t know what form it will take. Thousands of people are experimenting with different formats and different techniques in digital. And I’m sure we’ll all continue experimenting for the next few years until the apple falls on someone’s head and they figure it out.”
E-devices | Michael Fitzpatrick reports that Fujitsu plans to ship 50,000 units of its color FLEPia e-book reader by the end of 2010. The devices sells for about $1,000.
E-devices | Sean Kleefeld considers the drawbacks to reading comics on a smart phone: “How long does it take you to read a comic panel? One or two seconds? Then what? You’d have to scroll/click/slide/whatever to the next panel. Then you spend another second or two reading that panel, and then you’d have to scroll/click/slide/whatever to the third one. You’d end up spending as much time navigating the document as you would reading.”
Applications | Brendan Wilhide reviews the ComicZeal comic-book viewer/storage app for iPhone.
Digital comics | CBR covers the “Comics on Handhelds” panel at South by Southwest Interactive, which tackled, among other things, issues of lettering and format. “What we need to concentrate on is making the comic an enjoyable experience for the reader and not just a compromise that people are willing to make just so they can read comics on the iPhone,” said Rantz Hosley, CEO of the Longbox Group.
Digital comics | At Salon.com, Olly Farshi looks at the James Patterson graphic novel Daniel X: Alien Hunter on iTunes.
“You still represent the dominant sales force of graphic fiction,” Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley told members of the direct-market trade organization.
Webcomics | Chickenhare creator Chris Grine has decided that since Dark Horse isn’t interested in publishing a third graphic novel, he’ll take the series online beginning this fall.
Digital publishing | Marvel has announced it will launch The Spectacular Spider-Girl as a digital comic beginning April 15. The initial story will debut at the Marvel Digital Comics website, and then appear in print two weeks later in Amazing Spider-Man Family #5.
E-devices | Fujitsu has unveiled Japan’s first full-color e-book reader, the FLEPia.
It would seem like a major leap forward for comics, but CNET UK points out that the FLEPia only supports XMDF and .book format e-books. Plus, the device is now only available in Japan, where it sells for ¥99,750 — or a little over $1,000.
Publishing | At ICv2.com, retailer Steve Bennett returns to the “collectibility” well to argue that the urge to bag, board and sort will save the printed comic from being replaced by the digital version.
E-devices | At Publishers Weekly, Ada Price talks with a handful of publishers about their early experience converting titles to Amazon’s Kindle.
Copyright | At Reason Online, Henry Jenkins examines how illegal copying and distribution helped anime to succeed in the United States.
E-publishing | IDW Publishing has made available the first two issues of its sold-out Star Trek: Countdown at the iTunes app store.
E-publishing | Uclick and Tokyopop are making the first volume of Svetlana Chmakova’s Dramacon available as a free app on Apple’s app store.
Webcomics | Joey Manley looks at the use of webcomics as promotional tools for TV shows and print comics.
Multimedia | From SXSW, Wired.com considers the “deep media” approach Electronic Arts used for marketing the video game Dead Space, an effort that included comics, animation and interactive web features.
Blogosphere | David Brothers talks e-devices, webcomics, digital comics, and more.
Publishing | Louis Holt argues that “collectibility” will save the printed comic from being replaced by the digital version.
“The fallacy of thinking that digital comic books will kill print comic books is that it ignores the collectible value of comic books,” Holt writes. “There is no telling how many comic books sold today aren’t even read but are immediately slid into protective sleeves with backing boards. People can’t trade or wrap digital comic books in plastic.”
I suspect Holt creates a flaw of his own by overstating the hold collectibility has on readers. Handling monthly comics like 1,000-year-old parchments before sealing them away in Mylar bags may be common practice among a segment of the audience (particularly those of a certain age). However, I don’t believe “collectibility” is a driving force — the driving force? — for the readership at large. The increasing popularity of trade paperbacks, the whole wait-for-the-trade “movement,” and, yes, webcomics would seem enough to cast Holt’s notion into doubt.
That said, the band shouldn’t start the funeral dirge for the printed comic anytime soon (whatever “soon” means). Any sort of seismic shift by the industry toward digital comics still faces numerous obstacles — e-device quality and affordability, and the necessity of new business models, among them. I just don’t think “collectibility” is one of the more worrisome ones.
Matt Maxwell also weighs in: “Well, pulp novels are collectable, so are wax cylinders. So are vinyl records. Anything can be made collectible. Collectibility doesn’t mean that a format survives or is necessarily a standard currency any longer. It just means that someone wants the artifact and is willing to pay for it.”
Copyright | Although manga publishers have yet to clamp down on scanlators — fans who translate Japanese comics and post them online — a University of London professor thinks conflicts could arise as the global market becomes more lucrative. She estimates there are more than 1,000 scanlation groups worldwide.
E-devices | Matt Springer sees Apple’s rumored touch-screen Netbook as a contender for “ultimate eComics reader.”
Social media | Advertising Age reports that Facebook is driving more traffic than Google to some large websites.
What’s Webcomics Weekend? It’s not really a convention, organizers say; it’s more a gathering — a free one, at that. It will feature panels, livedraw events, book signings, and guests such as Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes (Unshelved), Danielle Corsetto (Girls With Slingshots), Rene Engstrom (Anders Loves Maria), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Scott Kurtz (PvP), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) and R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties).
E-devices | At Gearlog, Brian Heater tries out Bone, Jimmy Corrigan, New X-Men and Watchmen on Amazon’s new Kindle: “In my humble opinion, the best device for reading comics at the moment (besides, you know, old-timey comics themselves) is the iPhone.”
Webcomics | The Floating Lightbulb and The Comic Chronicles’ John Jackson Miller try to figure out what to make of GoogleTrends data showing a steady decline of unique visitors for many of the most-popular webcomics.
E-devices | Jason Ankeny lays out why mobile devices are the future of comic strips: “Few forms of creative expression are better suited to that kind of brief consumer engagement than comic strips. Life in Hell — a crudely illustrated but consistently sharp and insightful black-and-white strip — would seem like a natural on a Kindle or on an iPhone, as would any number of classic daily efforts including Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, Krazy Kat or Doonesbury.”
Podcasting | The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles local comics podcasters.
Scans Daily | Glenn Hauman chats with a couple of moderators from Scans Daily about LiveJournal’s closing of the community, copyright, fair use, and whether the site helped or harmed comics.
In related news: “Hand of God Suspends Homoerotic Scans Daily Comic Book Community.” (via Christopher Bird)
Social media | iFanboy has begun compiling a list of Twitter accounts of comics publishers and creators.
Social media | Someone has formed a webcomics Twitter group.
This morning a Morgan Stanley analyst predicted Amazon will sell 1 million Kindles by Thanksgiving.
E-publishing | Barnes & Noble has acquired Fictionwise, one of the largest independent e-book retailers. Although Fictionwise will operate as a separate business unit, B&N makes it clear the retailer is part of its larger digital strategy, which includes launching an e-bookstore later this year.
There’s a rapidly increasing amount of coverage devoted to digital issues, from piracy to webcomics to alternate distribution to social media, that it only makes sense to place them under one umbrella. If anyone has a better name for the feature than “Slash Print” — which has at least three conotations — I’m all ears.
Scans Daily | While there aren’t any hard numbers to demonstrate whether Scans Daily harmed or helped the sales of comics that were excerpted on the site, Glenn Hauman offers some anecdotal evidence: He posted seven pages on Jan. 19 from the ComicMix webcomic The Original Johnson, but received just 50 click-throughs from Scans Daily. Hauman concludes that the community wasn’t a good promotional platform.
However, Johanna Draper Carlson points out some problems with Hauman’s experiment, and with his conclusion. I think she’s right on both points, namely that a community like Scans Daily isn’t likely to react as positively to publisher self-promotion — Warren Ellis points out it’s actually frowned upon there — and that a biographical boxing comic probably wasn’t the best match for the audience.
The discussion continues in the comments sections of Hauman and Carlson’s posts.
Digital comics | Robot Comics (no relation), “the first publisher of comics for Android-powered mobiles,” is seeking submissions. Android is Google’s software platform for mobile devices. Comics, games and other applications can be downloaded at Android Market. Last month BOOM! Studios announced it had partnered with iVerse Media to offer Hexed #1 on Android. (via Johanna Draper Carlson)
Webcomics | At Mashable, Sean P. Aune runs down his list of the 20 best webcomics. It’s the usual suspects, mostly.