Digital Comic News

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Archie has been chasing Betty and Veronica through the halls of Riverdale High school since 1941. Not much has changed over the years, but starting in 2015 the entire Archie comic book line will be rebooted.

Jon Goldwater took over as chief executive and publisher of Archie Comics five years ago, from his father that founded the company in 1939. He has been evaluating the entire Archie line of comics, digital comics and graphic novels to get a sense on what the public wanted.

Afterlife with Archie was very dark in its overtones and capitalized on the obsession with zombies in our culture. Life with Archie also was more mature, as it featured Archie in his later life and much publicized death. These comics sold very well, bookstore sales have increased 736%, and direct-market sales, which include those in specialty stores like comic book shops, rose 226%

Starting in early 2015 the entire Archie comic book series will be rebooted with a new creative team, featuring Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Mr. Waid said his primary goal was to return Archie to a modern audience, which included restoring the contemporary attitudes that the teenagers of Riverdale had lost.

Not much is known yet on the exact formula that Archie will employ. The only hints that were dropped was that it would be fresh, modern and the teens would face most of the same issues as they face nowadays. The traditional Archie digests will still be published, but the company priority right now is on the reboot and making it more modern.

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Marvel is rebooting the Secret Wars into a new project called Battleworld, which will launch in May 2015 and continue well into the summer.

In the original Secret Wars, the villain known as The Beyonder took pieces from various planets and combined them to create Battleworld where he forced the heroes and villains of Earth to fight each other. This new Secret Wars seems to be taking that basic concept but using pieces from Earths of different realities. This trailer shows that each reality has their own separate region on Battleworld. Given the name of this planet, it’s safe to assume that the heroes and villains of these worlds will have to battle one another.

This event will hopefully be a do over from the original Secret Wars, which had a high concept but terrible execution. I am hoping this is going to be better than Age of Ultron or AVX, which has been fairly lackluster.

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Wacom is employed by serious art creators in the comic and gaming industry, everyday thousands of artists are penciling, inking, coloring, lettering or simply cleaning up traditionally illustrated scanned artwork. In order to broaden their customer base and really show what their technology can do for digital comics, Wacom is partnering with a ton of great artists to release a 32 page digital anthology.

Pressure/Sensitivity is the name of the new comic and it will feature original, creator-owned short stories by Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie, Marceline and the Scream Queens), Ming Doyle (The Kitchen, Mara), Giannis Milonogiannis (Old City Blues, Prophet, All-New Ultimates) and one more still-to-be announced. All of the interior comics goodness comes wrapped in a cover by artist Ulises Farinas (Gamma, Judge Dredd: Mega City Two) and colorist Ryan Hill (Terrible Lizard, Stumptown).

The comic anthology will be available in early 2015 and  Wacom is going to be teasing its community with behind the scenes looks at the creation process.

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Kobo has reached an agreement with Marvel to sell over 250 graphic novels on their global online bookstore. The new comics can be purchased using any of the official Kobo tablets, their main website or bought in one of their many apps for Android, Blackberry or Windows.

The inclusion of Marvel graphic novels joins Archie, DC and Dark Horse on the Kobo ecosystem. With so many Marvel movies on the horizon like X-Men Apocalypse, Ant-Man and Avengers 2, and the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, readers will want to become familiar with the source properties.

“For more than 75 years, Marvel has been transporting comic fans to exciting new galaxies,” says Santiago Melo, Merchandiser, Kobo. “Tackling big issues with larger than life characters, these stories continue to be a constant source of enrichment in our popular culture and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the Kobo family.”

“Marvel is excited about our partnership with Kobo and happy to have the opportunity to provide fans, new and existing, another great way to experience our legendary content,” says David Gabriel, SVP Sales and Marketing for Marvel Entertainment.

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Frozen by Disney has become the 5th highest grossing movie of all time After sweeping theaters worldwide like a snowstorm for over half a year, Frozen has grossed a whopping $1.219 billion at the box office! According to Variety, the film raked in $400 million-plus in the U.S. alone and $194 million in Japan. Frozen has also become the top-grossing animated flick ever. This has promoted a new graphic novel to be commissioned and will come out November 29th.

The graphic novel costs $14.99 and will run a staggering 394 pages. Over 100,000 have been sold so far on a pre-order basis from customers on Amazon and comic book stores.

The graphic novel is basically retelling the same story that occured in the movie. “Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf along the way, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. Audiences who thrilled to the adventures of Anna and Elsa on the big screen can relive their favorite moments in this oversized graphic novel keepsake featuring an introduction by Leonard Maltin. With hundreds of movie stills and over 300 pages of adventure and laughs, the Frozen Cinestory will transport fans back to Arendelle time and time again!”

A frozen graphic novel will likely sell like gangbusters once it comes out in late November and many parents will be purchasing it for their little kids for the upcoming holiday season. A standalone comic is also planned by Disney for January 2015, and will clock in at 48 pages. No word yet if a digital edition will be available.

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The Spider-Man  newspaper strip debuted in 1977 and was drawn by master Spider-artist John Romita Sr. and written by none other than Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee. IDW Publishing has announced that the first three years of the strip will get the graphic novel treatment in early 2015 and will likely be available digitally.

Newspaper Spider-Man is quite possibly the worst version of the character ever made. Newspaper Spidey is never quite that offensively terrible, but he also has a pretty dismal track record from when it comes to actual superheroism. He’s generally pretty cowardly, gets conked on the head a lot, and doesn’t actually seem all that concerned about this whole using-great-power-with-great-responsibility thing, instead preferring to just sort of lay around waiting for things to sort themselves out.

Early story arcs in the newspaper strip were paced much like a comic book, and a complete story unfolded in about 2 months of Sunday and daily strips. While the strip and the comic book feature the same characters, they do not share the same continuity. The strip differs from the established story lines of the comic books, most notably in the villains who Spider-Man fights and the women who Peter Parker dates. Many villains were introduced that have never appeared in other media, including the Rattler, a man who acquired snakelike characteristics. A rare exception was the 1987 wedding of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson which occurred in both the comic book and the comic strip.

The comic strip rebooted in 2008 and is still going strong today. The early days are really good for a laugh due to the cheesiness of the story-lines.



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Gone are the days

Gone are the days

Trajectory started in 2011 and their core business model is assisting publishers in converting their comics and graphic novels to the digital arena. They also formulated their own fledgling distribution network and marketed the content overseas, where many people were curious about the west. In order to gain more traction in the industry the company signed agreements with Diamond Distributors earlier this year, to basically provide conversion services for their entire list of contacts. This relationship has paid off, as Trajectory just announced a new movement to bring digital comics and graphic novels to libraries.

At the New York Comic Con 2014, Trajectory announced that it has signed an agreement with Ingram Content Group and Follett School Solutions. Over 10,000 comics and graphic novels will now be available for schools and libraries to purchase through their existing relationship with either Ingram or Follett.

Diamond Comic Distributors v-p of purchasing John Wurzer said, “Schools and libraries can be incubators for the future appreciation of comic books and graphic novels and we are happy to be working with Trajectory to foster that.”

Kelly Gallagher, v-p content acquisition, Ingram Content Group, said, “Comic and graphic novel content is in demand by readers.” He added that “Ingram is excited about our collaborative work with Trajectory to be providing comics and graphic novel content to the library market through our leading MyiLibrary e-book platform.”

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Archie Comics has been undergoing a renaissance the last few years, as the comic company tries to diversify its target audience. They introduced the openly gay character Keven Keller and tapped into our infatuation with Zomibes with Afterlife with Archie. What would happen if Archie married Betty or Veronica? Life with Archie chronicles the quintessential What If scenario. The next chapter in Archie comics has just been announced and it involves the Predator.

Jesse ‘the body’ Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger famously battled the Predator in the 1980’s classic. Since then, the franchise has spawned many sequels, mash-ups and comic books. The next comic book hero to take on the Predator is Riverdales favorite son.

Dark Horse Comics and Archie Comics are combining two popular franchises for Archie Meets Predator, a four-issue series coming in spring 2015 by writer Alex de Campi, that puts Archie and the gang in the alien hunter’s sights while they’re on spring break in Costa Rica.

It all starts with Jughead winning a vacation prize from a lucky bag of chips and hi-jinks start to ensue when Betty runs off into the Jungle after losing a “Best Dressed” contest with Veronica.

In an interview with the USA Today de Campi said “Let’s take this gentle, beloved, classic teen cast and hunt them down and slaughter them one by one. Seriously, if you wouldn’t jump at the chance to write something like this, you need your head examined.”

Archie meeting other entertainment properties is nothing new. It all started with 1994’s “Archie Meets the Punisher” crossover with Marvel Comics, and continued in 2011’s “Archie Meets KISS.”

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Dynamite Entertainment has just signed a new deal with Ian Fleming Publications. Starting in 2015 Dynamite will publish comic books, digital comics and graphic novels starring 007. Readers will be able to re-live the exploits that have thrilled and captivated fans for over half a century in fresh visual adaptations of the classic Bond stories.

Dynamite plans to create a series of brand new adventures unveiling the defining – and largely undocumented – early years of Bond’s career. These new stories will draw inspiration from the Fleming canon to explore Bond’s ‘origins’: his raw early years before he gambled with his life in the first novel, Casino Royale. Some other familiar faces from the expansive 007 mythos will also make appearances in this series – criminal masterminds, hired henchmen, glamorous Bond Girls and secret service allies – alongside all-new characters.

The first James Bond comic books will be published in 2015, soliciting periodical issues in Diamond Comic Distributors’ Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market. Digital and print editions will be available simultaneously through such platforms as Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital. Original graphic novels and collections will be released through the comic book specialty market, digital platforms, and numerous book market channels including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and more.

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The Fantastic Four is known as the First Family in comic book circles. The Fantastic Four was the first superhero team created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby back in 1961. FF4 has been experiencing dragging sales in the last few years, despite attempts to reboot the series.  We now have it on good authority that the series is coming to an end in June 2015.

Disney and FOX has been going head to head in the Marvel cinematic universe for quite awhile. FOX has the movie rights to X-Men, Deadpool and the word “mutants”, which is why your will never hear this uttered in any of the films Disney creates. FOX also has rights to the Fantastic Four and will be releasing a reboot of the series in mid 2015, and Marvel does not want to promote it at all. This has prompted the comic book company to suspend production of the Fantastic Four comic for over a year.

The destruction of the Fantastic Four to not promote the upcoming Fox movie is reverberating across the industry. Diamond Select Toys were told by Disney that they can’t make any new toys if they feature Mr Fantastic, the Invisible Women, Thing, the Human Torch, Doctor Doom, Galactus, Silver Surfer, the Watcher or Skrulls.

When it comes to bookstore distribution, this is primarily handled by Hachette.  They only handle graphic novels now and abandoned single issue distribution in 2013.  The last graphic novel will come out in June and is entitled Fantastic Four: The End Is Fourever. “THE END IS FOUREVER! Witness the closing act on the First Family of the Marvel Universe! THE INVADERS meet the FANTASTIC FOUR as the hunt for REED RICHARDS and the missing kids of the FUTURE FOUNDATION continues. Meanwhile the mastermind behind everything unveils his ultimate plan. But how does FRANKLIN RICHARDS factor in? And how does this all lead to…The END?! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #642-644 and the Triple Sized Final Issue 645!”

I think its very interesting that Marvel would rather give up one of their oldest ongoing franchises just to stick it to FOX. Likely, we will see no more comics featuring the FF4 to be produced until well after the DVD will be released sometime in 2016.

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Madefire is well known for their unique brand of motion comics and the company is hoping to be a solid number two behind Comixology. In order to accumulate more regular buyers into their ecosystem Madefire has announced that every Friday they will give away a free digital comic.

“Free Friday is all about discovery – being bold, checking out the possibilities, and being inspired with a creator-first approach to try something new,” said Madefire CCO and co-founder Liam Sharp.

In order to read the free comic book every Friday you need to download the official Madefire app for iOS or Android. Today’s first Free Friday offers copies of IDW’s The City on the Edge of Forever #1, adapting Harlan Ellison’s classic Star Trek episode.

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The second season of Sleepy Hollow is all set to debut on September 22nd and Boom! Studios is hoping to capitalize on the demand. The comic book company is releasing a series of digital shorts that focuses on the central characters prologues.

The first two prologues are already online, via the show’s Facebook page and BOOM!’s Tumblr page, and center around Ichabod Crane and Jenny Mills. Both shorts are written by Bad Robot’s Mike Johnson, with art by Matias Bergara, and take place prior to the first season — a long time prior, in Ichabod’s case.

There are five digital shorts planned and in the near future they will be repackaged and sold online in a graphic novel format. I think it is very interesting that Boom! decided to engage in digital comic shorts. Something like this is rarely done in the comic book industry, and most of the time they do full digital editions, that take longer to produce.

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When Comixology was purchased by Amazon, many digital comic fans thought that the service would drastically change. The acquisition has been a bit of a mixed blessing, as Apple users lost the ability to purchase content directly within the app, leading to a decrease in impulse purchases. One of the big upsides was the decision to offer publishers the ability to submit new issues with no encryption. Today, Comixology has announced a slew of new partners that will be offering their comics DRM-Free.

Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent and Top Shelf Productions are now joined in the program by IDW Publishing, Valiant Entertainment, Oni Press, Fantagraphics Books, Aspen Comics, Action Lab Entertainment, Th3rd World Studios, A Wave Blue World, Blind Ferret Entertainment, Caliber Comics, Creative Impulse Entertainment, Devil’s Due Entertainment, GT Labs Comics and Kingstone Media.

All of these publishers now offer their comics to be downloaded in PDF or CBZ formats and users can store them locally. Instead of being locked into the Comixology app, users can download their favorite 3rd reading app for Android, iOS or Windows.

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