Archive for Digital Comic News
Marvel AR is an augmented e-reading app that gives you a multimedia experience based on the comic you are reading. The premise of the app is to be a second screen to the traditional comic book. You get interviews with the artists and writers and even fight scenes. The new Marvel AR update is going to be jam packed with new enhancements.
The last time Marvel AR was updated was July 11 2013, which makes it fairly outdated. At the South by Southwest event in Texas, Marvel has confirmed that a big update will be released in April. “It was just time,” John Cerilli, VP of Content & Programming, said. “After concentrating on the actual content going into the app and pumping it full for nearly two years, we realized the app itself may not be giving users the best experience it can.”
Marvel has promised that the app will load up faster and give you all of the AR features faster then before. “We promise more 3D!” Cerilli said. “One of the finest executions we’ve done to date was seeing Cap fight Wolverine in our AVENGERS VS X-MEN Hardcover. Fans really loved it. We really loved it. So we’ve figured out a way to budget for them and when fans see what we have in store with some of the new 3D executions, they’re going to love it. We’re also really fond of our Marvel Science series and have a great relationship with some world class thinkers, so you’ll see a lot more of that, too
The SXSW Trade Show this year will see the launch of two new web comics platform, TappyToon and Amootoon. Those behind the new medium stated they wish to innovate the segment by ‘breathing new life into the medium’. The way this is achieved is by integrating aspects of film making, comics, and web development into a single medium which they claim will make things simple for the content creators. What this means for the comic readers is that they will get to experience sound, special effects and animation in what otherwise has only been a static medium so far. Readers will also be able to interact with the characters ‘for a more immersive experience’.
The Korean start-up also stated the new TappyToon and Amootoon format has been optimized for viewing on smartphone and tablet devices and are designed to make the most of the digital rendering capabilities of these new age mobile devices. TappyToon will be available for free on iOS devices from May 2014 while making its Android debut in June. Those eager to know more will be able to experience TappyToon first hand at the SXSW Trade Show at booth no. 1206.
Amootoon, on the other hand will launch in beta form on April 2014 and can be previewed at booth no. 1111 at the SXSW Trade Show that runs from 9 – 12 March.
Comixology is the largest digital distributor in the world for digital comics. This often puts them in the media limelight and paints a big target on their back. The company has acknowledged that they have suffered a major data breach today with usernames, passwords and email accounts were accessed by a rogue denizen of the internet.
In a letter sent out to anyone who has ever registered an account with Comixology, the company is encouraging people to change their passwords. Although no credit card or financial data was stolen, it is only a matter of time before all of your data is sold to companies that buy customer information in bulk.
The Comixology servers are currently overwhelmed with password changing requests and it is currently impossible to actually change your user information. This may change in the next few days, but it is unlikely.
Breaching databases and stealing customer data is nothing new. Its been happening more often with companies such as Adobe, that handle the bulk of eBook encryption technology. It looks like hackers are now targeting companies that readers cluster to.
Marvel is endeavoring to focus almost exclusively on digital distribution to maximize revenue. In the past few months the company has pulled their comics from bookstores all over the world. You would be hard-pressed to find anything but the odd graphic novel in your favorite bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble.
Marvel is finding that they are selling more comics online, than they are in the retail environment. Comixology is their main partner in the digital sphere and they have dedicated reading apps on every major platform. They have sold over 125,000,000 comics since 2009, most of them from Marvel.
Selling digitally obviously has its merits. Marvel does not have to worry about printing as many comics anymore and having them shipped back to the supplier if they don’t sell. This is more or less how bookstores handle books, magazines, newspapers and comics. If they don’t sell before they become irrelevant they get cash back from the supplier from the inventory that is unsold. Comic shops on the other hand, are normally stuck with whatever inventory they purchase. If single issues go unsold, they go right into the bargain bins.
Marvel has trained their audience to buy digitally. Whether you have an iPad, Android, Windows or a myriad of others, you can buy comics in the comfort of your own home and get them the second the clock hits midnight on comic book Wednesdays. The process is simplified and digital comics don’t take up as much room as the physical thing.
Bookstores in the US and Canada are still carrying graphic novels by Marvel. This is primarily due to the fact they are being sourced by Hachette, instead of Diamond Comic Distributors. Diamond is still the ones who are selling individual comics and graphic novels to comic shops, but for how long?
What are Marvels plans for the future? The company is trying to be less reliant on Comixology and develop their own digital infrastructure. They have been hiring developers, designers and coders to make their own comic selling app. They hope to incorporate Marvel Unlimited, Marvel AR, Marvel Events and their new comic store into a singular experience. They basically realize that digital is their future and they don’t want to have all of their eggs in one basket with Comixology.
Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service, in which customers can get access to over 15,000 digital comics for $9.99 a month. The company has announced today a new promotion, where you can buy into the ecosystem for only .99 and download as many comics as you would like.
When you buy into Marvel Unlimited you are mainly getting classic comic books. Marvel basically can’t publish new content until six months after it first hits the comic shops or first party release services, such as Comixology. Still, readers will be able to check out the entire Age of Ultron and Marvel NOW!
Last year around this time Marvel and Comixology teamed up to give 700 first issues away for free and it destroyed Comixology’s servers. This time around Marvel is going to handle the web and app traffic themselves
ComiXology has had close to 220 million downloads since the New York based company burst onto the scene in 2009. Every year at the South by Southwest festival in Texas they tend to announce massive promotions. Last year, they gave 700 first issues away for free, which promptly killed their servers and no one could connect for days. Now, they have another promotion which will give $150,000 in free comics away.
This March, ComiXology dominates SXSW Interactive with a whole host of activities including: sponsoring the SXSW Geek Stage; a special panel; happy hour; free comics offered throughout the event; and handing out $150,000 worth of $5 Amazon Appstore credits toward comiXology content at comiXology’s SXSW Gaming Expo booth #125 & 127.
Marvel has released a new digital comic app for the iPhone and iPad that is aimed at an international audience. The development of the app was made in conjunction with iVerse and there is over 100 comics available out of the gate.
Digital Comics right now are not very accessible if you are not a native English speaker. If you look at distribution platforms such as Comixology, DC, Dark Horse, or Image, all of the text is baked into the art frames. This is why it is essential that you pinch and zoom to be able to read small text on a large screen.
This very issue is prompting Marvel to look at the way text is done digitally. The app offers comics in Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, German, Italian, Portuguese and Hebrew. Currently, the Marvel Global Comics App is ranked the number one eBook app for downloads in Russia and South Korea, while peaking at #4 in France and Italy.
Marvel is enjoying tremendous box office revenue overseas and this new deal seeks to capitalize on it. Unfortunately, this app is an afterthought with Marvel and not a priority for the ‘same day digital’ agreements Marvel has with Comixology.
Archie has close to 70 years of stories under their belt and it is time to make a change. In a similar vein as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the inaugural book from Archie will follow Riverdales favorite blond in a title called Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty.
The new title will be out in digital format on July 16th and will see future titles released during the rest of the year. The Story follows Betty as a Riverdale freshman, her strained relationship with Veronica and her new crush Archie. The book is designed to be reminiscent of diary entries, complete with text and pictures.
The book features art by Bill Galvan, Bob Smith and Jack Morelli. While the story is being penned by Tania del Rio, who said she’s filling the book with humorous entries focusing on all the drama of being a teen: “Academic pressure, the highs and lows of unrequited crushes, ‘frenemies’ and trying to balance growing up with keeping childlike interests.”
Diamond Comics has been maintaining a digital distribution system in partnership with iVerse since 2012. This gave comic stores a competitive advantage of being able to monetize their customers going digital. Sadly, Diamond had too many factors going against it and will be suspending the service at the end of February.
The essence of the Diamond Digital system was to allow comic shop owners who opted into the program could generate redemption codes. The codes can be used in their stores by fans on Wednesdays to purchase digital comics, either as a digital editions priced the same as the print edition, or as a special digital “Plus” edition, which will sell for 99 cents with the purchase of a physical copy of the comic. Users have a choice of redeeming the codes on their retailer’s website, or the various apps that iVerse runs.
The suspension of the digital program was confirmed in an email to comic book stores that said “The closure was announced to retailers via email last week, with the reason given being that “18 months after its launch, results indicate that Diamond Digital has not gained enough traction in the marketplace to continue.”
The one thing Diamond had going against it, was the unavailability of titles from Marvel or DC. This is the bread and butter of Comixology, which has a stranglehold on the digital comic market. Instead, Diamond tried to hustle comics by Image, Boom! and IDW.
Any comics that have been purchased by the customer will be permanently available via the iVerse comic apps. So at least, as long as iVerse stays in business, your comics are safe.
Marvel Comics has done the unthinkable and released a new set of tools that will allow app and web developers to integrate their site with comic data. The new Marvel Comics API taps into Marvel’s vast library of comics—from what’s coming up, to 70 years ago. This represents the first API program by any major comic book publisher and provides an innovative way for fans to interact with Marvel Entertainment and Marvel’s digital content.
The Marvel Comics API is a set of web services that give fans access to Marvel’s rich repository of data about over 30,000 comics and 7,000 series. The API lets fans access information from Marvel’s 75-year publishing history, including cover art, characters and comic book crossover events. Developers will now have the opportunity to create personal applications and websites that express their individual appreciation and experiences with Marvel Comics. From feeds on blogs to mini-applications, developers everywhere can use the Marvel Comics API to create compelling digital experiences using Marvel’s treasure trove of data.
Developers can can access only six resource types using the API and all offer a wellspring of options, they are;
Comics: individual print and digital comic issues, collections and graphic novels. For example: Amazing Fantasy #15.
Comic series: sequentially numbered (well, mostly sequentially numbered) groups comics with the same title. For example, Uncanny X-Men.
Comic stories: indivisible, reusable components of comics. For example, the cover from Amazing Fantasy #15 or the origin of Spider-Man story from that comic.
Comic events and crossovers: big, universe-altering storylines. For example, Infinity Creators: women, men and organizations who create comics. For example, Jack Kirby. Characters: the women, men, organizations, alien species, deities, animals, non-corporeal entities, trans-dimensional manifestations, abstract personifications, and green amorphous blobs which occupy the Marvel Universe (and various alternate universes, timelines and altered realities therein). For example, Spider-Man.
Peter Olson, VP of Web & Application Development says, “Our API program is a cool new way to explore and interact with Marvel Comics. Unlike lists of books, movies, or news articles, our comics are an inter-connected web (no Spidey pun intended!) of data spanning 75 years. It’s the relationships between them that are fascinating. Everything is connected and continues to expand as more comics are released each week. With our API program, once again, Marvel is changing the comics and publishing technology landscape.”
Developers can create accounts, access the API, test drive queries in interactive forms, read documentation and ask questions at Marvel’s new Developer Portal at developer.marvel.com.
Marvel Comics bills this as a “stealth release,” but since they sent out a press release about it, it’s hardly on the down low. Anyway, this looks like a worthy comic: Available on the Marvel and comiXology platforms, it’s a digital prequel to the film Captain America: Winter Soldier, which is due out this summer. The comic is scripted by veteran writer Peter David and drawn by Rock-He Kim, and it uses Marvel’s Infinite Comics bag of tricks to fully exploit the possibilities of digital comics storytelling.
Here’s the setup:
In downtown Chicago, a dangerous weapon called The Zodiac has fallen into enemy hands. Now, it’s up to Captain America, along with guest stars Black Widow and Brock Rumlow, to race against time to stop a mysterious terrorist group before it’s too late. All leading up to an action packed confrontation atop Chicago’s tallest skyscraper! But is there more here than meets the eye? What secrets is S.H.I.E.L.D. keeping? Are there enemies on both sides?
The comic will feature Captain America’s new stealth suit (aha!) and his team will include Black Widow and Brock Rumlow. Sounds like fun!
Image Comics, which has made a strong showing in recent years with such creator-owned titles as The Walking Dead and Saga, was named the Publisher of the Year in the Diamond Gem Awards, sponsored by Diamond Comics Distributors. BOOM! Studios took the Publisher of the Year award for publishers with a market share of less than 4%. The awards were chosen by a vote of comics retailers.
While Marvel and DC continue to focus on legacy properties that cater to a fairly narrow range of genre fans and are produced by artists who don’t own the characters they work on, Image has gone in a different direction with an array of creator-owned comics that include superhero, science fiction, and other types of stories. Their other innovations include holding their own event, Image Expo, at which they announced a number of new titles this year, and selling DRM-free digital comics directly via their website.
While Image and BOOM! took the top honors, DC led the pack in terms of numbers, with six awards, including Top Dollar Publisher of the Year (for Superman Unchained #1), Backlist Publisher of the Year, and Reprint TP (trade paperback) or HC (hardcover) of the Year (Batman: Death of the Family, vol. 3). Dark Horse took five awards, including Licensed Comic of the Year (The Star Wars: Lucas Draft #1), Original Graphic Novel of the Year (Hellboy: Midnight Circle), and Manga of the Year (Lone Wolf and Cub omnibus, vol. 1). Marvel was named the Top Dollar Publisher of the Year and their Superior Spider-Man #1 NOW! was named the Comic of the Year in the over $3 category; Archie’s zombie comic Afterlife With Archie was the Comic of the Year in the under $3 category.
Here’s what’s looking good at the (digital) comics shop this week:
All-New X-Men #22.NOW: Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Stuart Immonen, this issue kicks off a six-issue crossover that brings the Guardians of the Galaxy into the world of the X-Men. The continuity folds over in a weird sort of way when a young Jean Grey, who has traveled through time to the present along with her original X-Men cohort of Cyclops, Angel, Beast, and Iceman, is forced to stand trial for the crimes committed by her other self. Bendis talked about this storyline in an interview with USA Today, saying it will raise some interesting issues of power and responsibility: “I’m always looking for that new angle on that power-and-responsibility jag after 200-some issues of Spider-Man. It’s always fun to find one.”
Animal Man #27: This issue launches the final arc of Jeff Lemire’s run as the writer on the New 52 version of Animal Man, and the stakes are high: Buddy Baker (Animal Man) must save his daughter Maxine from their enemy, The Rot, which is trying to kill her. Lemire also brings in Buddy’s wife Ellen and shows the effects of the struggle on her. Rafael Albuquerque’s art seals the deal.
Black Widow #2: Writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Phil Noto are getting a lot of critical praise for this new Black Widow series, which has Natasha trying to redeem herself by righting the wrongs of her past as an assassin. Writing at Comicosity, reviewer Roderick Ruth says “Edmondson and Noto are building a great foundation for Natasha Romanov to boastfully stand upon, and one which can only lead to better stories for the Black Widow. This is the most genuine version of Black Widow that I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read more.”
The Walking Dead #120: The zombie saga continues with a struggle between Rick and Negan; there’s plenty of action in this issue as the two go head to head.
Elfquest: The Final Quest #1: This is a historic issue as Wendy and Richard Pini’s long-running saga heads into its final arc. There’s also a prequel, available for just 99 cents, to get you started. Elfquest, which has been running since 1987, is one of the most influential fantasy tales ever; if you’re just getting started, you can read the whole rest of the series for free on the Elfquest website.