Tagged: Digital Comics

Marc Alan Fishman: Paper Is Dead!

For those uninitiated to my writing process, allow me to be transparent: I write my column Tuesday evening. This is helpful for many reasons – mostly all revolving around having a full-time day job, a family, and Unshaven Comics. With that being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t come clean.

Today, I’m sure there were a bevy of topics I had on my mind (whether the Sonic Screwdriver is really just a magic wand, the appeal of Attack on Titan, or why fantasy football renders my mind numb)… and then I watched Apple’s keynote. With the unveiling of the Apple Watch (sans i?!) and the new iPhone 6, I am sadly forced to deal with my Mac-ness once again.

It’s a terrible disease, kiddos. One that strikes me every few years. There was a time, in the long-long ago, when I was stronger. I was raised on a Compaq Presario, and the PC age. I openly mocked Appleites with aplomb. “My mouse has two buttons! I can upgrade my computer without voiding the warranty! And it’s so much cheaper!” I’d yell at them. And always, they would snicker, look me right in the eyes, and whisper “You’re right, and I still don’t care.” Not a semester into college, and I buckled. That is to say I forced my parents to buckle. Don’t worry. I paid them back. And funny enough, that first iMac I own still works, and still lives in my house. Natch. But I digress. Apple is great, and I love them, blah blah blah.

After seeing the debut of the iPhone Phablet (or 6 Plus if you’re being obvious) the never-ending death of paper consumed me. With each passing generation of digital technology being released to the public,  tangible media and products continue to become more artifacts of history. Even a decade ago, the notion that we’d be able to call up one of a million movies and beam it to our television instead of renting or purchasing the special edition DVD was somehow laughable. And even five years ago, could you honestly convince Johnny Average that he could cut the cord on his local cable provider and his home phone and just exist with amazingly cheap subscription services and a hefty data plan instead? I doubt it.

With each of these arguments, the last bastion of the printed form – the comic book – continues to hide in the dark recesses of specialty shops and tiny convention halls (stop snickering).

For those ready to flame me for forgetting books, just look at the sales figures for all digital publications, and count how many Barnes and Nobles still exist. You’re welcome. As screens become permanently affixed to our wrists, hands, and eye-wear, the notion of a printed piece is truly novel. As with all digital distribution models, eventually a price and delivery system becomes ubiquitous to the public at large, and eventually, the physical media is reduced to the collector’s market alone.

DC, Marvel, and the lot of mainstay publishers have all adopted digital practices. Readers of Mike Gold here on ComicMix no doubt know about how certain digital only pieces are trumping the quality of their printed brethren. As with everything else, it’s only a matter of time until our medium at large is thought of as digital first. Scary, no?

No, in fact it isn’t. With the eventual death of paper comics – aside from the collectors market (akin to how the music industry is moving back to vinyl) we’ll soon be privy to something new and amazing. Instead of odd motion-comics, or narrated comics, we’ll soon be able to purchase truly interactive comics.

Think of it. A cover with a well-rendered animation to draw you in <http://www.buzzfeed.com/adamclement1/30-animated-comic-book-covers-that-are-downright-h-il8v>. Single panels on a page being able to be instantly full-screen-zoomed so you can relish in the artwork. Interactive commentary on particular moments. Editorial annotations that actually call up the other issue in question. The possibilities are endless (and yes, some of them are potentially true now, and I don’t know it). And all of it could eventually be monetized in such a fashion that a subscription-based model could provide an unwieldy catalog of back issues for a price that feels like stealing. The best part of all, all of this could happen in another five years or less. The future is here, and its battery life mostly sucks.

Suffice to say, I’m a bit of an early adopter. But I also see the forest for the trees. Those trees needn’t be cut down en masse to make way for new comics. As I’ve explored in the recent past (Freakanomics, anyone?), we know the major publishers are likely not sweating over per-issue sales so much as potential licensing opportunities. As the appeal of moving away from ink, paper, bricks and mortar… so too will our industry look more like the music and television models.

Paper is dead my friends. And you can pay for that on your iPhone too.


Marc Alan Fishman: Cutting the Cord, and Shredding the Book

The other day Mike Gold shot me a quick e-mail about the WWE Network making its way to Apple TV. I should take this time to note that Mike likes me more than Michael Davis because I give him my articles on Tuesday evening, and they don’t post until Saturday… allowing him optimal time to source images at his leisure. Suffice to say, nya nya nya boo boo. Maybe that’s mean of me, it is Black History Month, after all. According to Jay Pharoah, I should opt to hug MOTU, not take pot shots at his obviously racial laziness. Damn, I’m punchy tonight. But I digress.

I’m punchy, in part, because Mike’s friendly e-mail reminded me that in my own laziness, I’d allowed a whole new technological break-through to settle into near-mainstream amongst my peers without me even considering it. For a good long time  ‘cutting the cord’ on traditional cable was more a signifier of pro-active TV consumption than I cared to debate mentally. With new technology emerging, I simply didn’t ‘buy’ that I could enjoy all that I do via my traditional cable/DVR combo. I should note though that I grew up in a home without cable. When I made my way to college, faced with the sudden luxury of dozens of channels churning out reruns and crappy original programming I’d never been previously accustomed to led me down a dark and slovenly path. Frankly, it’s been the drug I couldn’t quit ever since. Well, that and carbohydrates.

I’d like to think it was my generation that started a small march towards technological freedom. I recall fondly upon signing my first lease for an apartment declaring no need to own a home phone. My parents gawked at the notion. “How will we get a hold of you?!” they’d scream. “Oh, I don’t know, you could call my cell phone, which is literally on my person at all times I’m not otherwise sleeping?” I’d retort like a hipster ordering a Miller Lite. And thus, did me and my kin take our first awkward steps from out of the cave. Soon, we were graduating from MySpace to Facebook, and getting real jobs. City-dwelling friends of mine ditched cars in lieu of state-of-the-art (smells a bit, but it’s cheaper than gas!) public transportation. And now, those who share in muh-muh-my generation are shunning Xfinity, Uverse and Ycable for a whole new shebang.

The future is now, and we better start dealing with it.

I turn back to the argument I started a few weeks prior. I postulated that if someone could figure a way to Netflix up a comic book database, it might very well be the way to take the leap into the next generation. Screw the motion comics, augmented reality links, and ultimate experiences. Deliver me a litany of comic book content on-demand, for a monthly fee so low I can’t possibly deny myself access. If my dream for ComicFlix were to come true… how long would it take to see the death of the local comic shop?

That is to say, the death of what few comic shops still are in business and making enough money to stay in business beyond the calendar year with sincerity.

Let’s ask the tough questions then. Did we all mourn the loss of Blockbusters around the country? When you go to the Comic Con and snag that graphic novel you really wanted for 50% off cover price, do you hide it under your jacket, and leave yourself a reminder to never bring it up at the comic shop for fear the counter jockey will shame you to tears as he eats his last bowl of cup-a-noodles? Doubtful on both counts. Do we come to grips with the moral dilemma of watching our medium take the necessary steps to grow… or do we cling to the past in hopes that somehow everything will just get better though sheer will power? I mean, all those successful movies will get the masses over to invest in pull boxes at some point, right? Right?

Sean Parker and the late Steve Jobs used technology to upend the music industry… services like Spotify, Pandora, and the like are set to revolutionize it. Google, Roku, Hulu, and Netflix are on their way to evolving television. All content delivery is evolving at a rapid pace. The antiquated world of comics is not an uncrackable nut. There’s money to be made, content to be shared, and new fans to convert. If we build it, they will come. It won’t be pretty. But what matters now more than ever is that we find a way to adapt. Pulp and paper can be as good as bytes and pixels. It’s time to put the books down, and flip the tablets on.

That being said, I have a review to do, and I need to crack open my copy of Avengers World. I know, I know… But I have an excuse. My wife has the iPad. Cheers to the future kiddos. Hop on the band wagon before it starts to pick up speed. Lest you have a man a decade or two older making you feel like a luddite. Natch.

Sony closing PSP Comic Store at end of October

Sony shuts down PSP Comic Store after October 30th, leaves North Americans in the lurch

Sony is telling PSP owners that its comic book portal is shutting down after October 30th. Users will then be unable to download the necessary app or buy additional titles. Any currently owned comics will be available to download again until mid-January, but readers will be on their own to preserve existing comic collections after that. According to Engadget:

Outside of Japan, that creates significant problems for literary PlayStation fans: while PS Vita owners in Sony’s home country will get a Manga store and reader in October, there’s no equivalent crutch for other countries (or any PSP owners) at this stage. The console maker is non-committal and says there’s nothing it can discuss “at the moment,” which to us is a hint that we shouldn’t plan our reading hours around a PSP or PS Vita in the near future.

Of course, those of us old enough to remember Sony’s Bookman and Reader, or those of us who saw royalty statements for the PSP platform, aren’t surprised by this in the least. Just remember Sony’s current slogan: Make. Believe.

Tommorow only, Marvel gives $5 coupon for stores if you buy digital edition

Tommorow only, Marvel gives $5 coupon for stores if you buy digital edition

English: Logo of Marvel Comics

Well, this is an interesting way to support comic shops in the face of a digital onslaught. If you purchase* a comic on the Marvel Comics app on January 7th, between 12:01am EST and 11:59pm EST, you will be e-mailed a coupon (on January 8th)** valued at five dollars to be used for any Marvel comics purchase at your local comic store. Please note that only one coupon is available per user during this limited-time offer and may only be redeemed at select comic shops.***

“We’re big believers that everything we do with the Marvel Comics app brings new fans to our great medium and we want to make sure those same fans discover the  great comic book stores out there,” said David Gabriel, Senior Vice-President of Sales, Marvel Entertainment. “For our fans, this is a great chance to digitally try out a new series you’ve heard about—and get a great coupon to use on the Marvel comics you buy at your local shop each Wednesday!”

“As we continue to grow the digital comics world, we want to make sure it’s always to the benefit of the medium and our comic shop retail partners,” said Peter Phillips, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Marvel Digital Media Group. “This coupon is a great way for us to let more of our fans know about their local comic store and incentivize them to make the trip there. At the end of the day, our goals in the print and digital mediums are the same—bring more fans to comics.”

Of course, Marvel will also get a LOT of demographic information out of this offer, which hopefully will get them a much better snapshot on the comics industry as a whole.

* To receive this coupon you must be logged in with a Marvel account. If you don’t have an account, go register for free in the ‘My Comics’ section of the Marvel Comics app or at Marvel.com.
** This coupon expires on February 6th,  2012 at 11:59PM EST.
*** Fans: The e-mail containing your coupon will also include a link to help you find the closest qualifying store(s).

Holiday Comic Gift Guide For Video Gamers

Holiday Comic Gift Guide For Video Gamers

Are you shopping for gamers this holiday season? If so, there are a lot of great comics based on some of today’s most popular video games.  Here’s just a few comic gift ideas that are perfect for gamers:

BATMAN: ARKHAM UNHINGED — Go deeper into the world of ARKHAM CITY with BATMAN: ARKHAM UNHINGED. A weekly, original digital series based on the video games BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM and [[[BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY]]], each 10-page chapter ties directly in to the continuity of the game and follows your favorite characters through the bedlam.  And don’t forget that the first ARKHAM digital comic series –BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY – is now available as a collected hard cover.

UNCHARTED — The critically acclaimed and best-selling PlayStation 3 video game jumps onto the comic page, featuring an all-new action-packed story written by Joshua Williamson (SUPERMAN/BATMAN) with fantastic covers by the legendary Tony Harris. It’s just in time for the newly released [[[Uncharted #3: Drake’s Deception]]]. (more…)

IDW offers graphic novels on Barnes & Noble Nook

IDW offers graphic novels on Barnes & Noble Nook

201112011152 IDW offers graphic novels on NOOK

DC isn’t the only publisher betting big on the new generation of tablets — IDW has made more than 30 of their GNs available for the NOOK, including Darwyn Cooke’s Parker adaptations, and works by Joe Hill, Max Brooks, Anne Rice, and Eric Shanower. Unlike DC’s exclusive with Amazon, this doesn’t seem to have pissed off any retail partners…yet.

Continuing to lead the charge of digital comics, IDW Publishing proudly debuted a collection of graphic novels for the new Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet, the company’s fastest and lightest tablet with the best in HD entertainment. IDW’s initial NOOK entrée features over thirty complete graphic novels, including award-winning books and works by bestselling authors.

“We’re excited to partner with Barnes & Noble to bring IDW graphic novels line to NOOK,” stated Jeff Webber, IDW’s director of ePublishing.

Marvel updates iPhone reader app to 3.0

Marvel updates iPhone reader app to 3.0

marvel3.0 Marvel updates app to 3.0 but you must redownload all your purchases

Marvel has updated its iOS app with a bunch of new features — however, the App store tells me that you will have to restore all your purchases after the upgrade. The new features sound worth it, however. What could go wrong?

To entice you, Marvel is running a big sale on stuff like SCHISM, ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN, and other recent releases. That’s a nice way to get people up to speed with the current goings-on for future print or digital purchases.


Cover: James Burns

The Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!” comic book by Bobby Nash and James Burns is now available for digital download at DriveThru Comics. http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=96166.

About Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!”
November, 1941. Ace Air Adventurer Lance Star accepts a dangerous mission into an enemy stronghold to stop the Nazi’s from uncovering plans for a weapon long believed destroyed. Lance flies a solo mission to Kiev where he is to plant explosives and destroy a weapons facility when he runs into an old enemy. Now, Lance is faced with a choice. Complete the mission? Or take down the Sky Ranger’s greatest adversary? He’s only going to get one shot at this. Will he choose the mission or revenge?

Featuring high-flying adventure, aerial dog fights, explosive action, and stunning artwork, Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!” is pure pulp fun from start to finish.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger
“One Shot!”
Written by Bobby Nash
Art/Letters/Colors by James Burns
28 page DriveThru Comics Digital Edition

Page 1.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!” is now available for digital download at DriveThru Comics. http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=96166.

Learn more about DriveThru Comics at http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger pulp anthology volumes 1, 2, and 3 and “One Shot!” are also available in print and digital editions. Visit http://www.lance-star.com/, http://ben-books.blogspot.com/, and http://www.bobbynash.com/ for more information and updates on future Lance Star: Sky Ranger projects.

MARTHA THOMASES: Confessions of an iPad Comics Virgin

Is that all there is?

I finally downloaded a few comics onto my iPad using the updated Comixology app. I mean, I’m on record as being a lover of comics on paper, as well as the comic book shops that sell them. However, I’m also a big fan of prose on paper, as well as the bookstores that sell them, and I love my Kindle, so I thought I should give the new delivery system a try.

Previously, I’d noticed a flaw in the iPad design as far as visual entertainment goes. The screen is too shiny. Reading a book on the iBook app is more difficult for me than reading a book on the Kindle because of the glare (the Kindle has a matte finish). It’s even more distracting when watching a movie. However, I enjoy having a movie downloaded if I’m flying somewhere, and I might also enjoy having a virtual stack of comics.

I started by scouting out the free comics, because what if I didn’t like it? And I wanted something I hadn’t read already, so my previous opinion wouldn’t influence me. My son loves Robert Kirkman, and I was a fan of the TV show, so I downloaded the first issue of The Walking Dead.

It was a good choice. The app was easy to use, even for an old fart like myself, and I enjoyed my experience.

So last week, when there was a shipment glitch at New York comic shops, and I couldn’t get two of the books I wanted at any of my local stores by Saturday, I went online and paid for content. Reading Detective Comics and Stormwatch was, oddly, more difficult than reading the indie comic with lower production values. The lettering was hard to read, too small, and when I made the image bigger, I lost the flow of the page.

Did I lose some strength in my optic nerves? I went back to read Walking Dead again (and why can’t you go back to the beginning with one touch?), and that still worked well for me.

Still the color of the DC books was brilliant, and there were no ads. There were also no letters pages or other DC editorial material. For my $2.99, I got my story, and that’s it.

As it happens those two books have a reasonable amount of story. If I’d read Justice League #1 in that format, I would have been irked.

Will I buy more? Maybe back issues, because I’d rather have the stuff on my computer than in storage. Or if I’m away on a long trip, where I’m unfamiliar with the local comic book shops. Or if it’s the middle of the night and I don’t want to get dressed and go walking the streets, looking for Superman (or, I suppose, Mr. Goodbar).

But otherwise? I’m sticking with paper, at least for the near term. I like my comics with some social interaction. I like folding back the cover – and watching the true collectors freak out.

There aren’t that many occasions when I can feel eight years old again, and reading comics lets me do it once a week. So I’ll stay with the format from last century for as long as I can.

Martha Thomases, Dominoed Daredoll, really really really liked the new Animal Man.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Digital Comic Book Now Available At Graphic.ly!

BEN Books is proud to announce that the Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!” comic book by New Pulp Creators Bobby Nash and James Burns is now available in digital format at Graphic.ly for only $1.99.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!”

November, 1941. Ace Air Adventurer Lance Star accepts a dangerous mission into an enemy stronghold to stop the Nazi’s from uncovering plans for a weapon long believed destroyed. Lance flies a solo mission to Kiev where he is to plant explosives and destroy a weapons facility when he runs into an old enemy. Now, Lance is faced with a choice. Complete the mission? Or take down the Sky Ranger’s greatest adversary? He’s only going to get one shot at this. Will he choose the mission or revenge?

Featuring high-flying adventure, aerial dog fights, explosive action, and stunning artwork, Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!” is pure New Pulp fun from start to finish.

Learn more about Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!” and the Graphic.ly edition at http://www.lance-star.com/.