For some, last weekend was Easter weekend, which meant a day of reflection at church, hiding Easter eggs for the kids, and/or gorging on marshmallow peeps. For others, it was the day of the iPad.
Comics Beat reports that somewhere between 600K to 700K iPads were sold this weekend to hungry early adopters. What does this mean in terms of digital comics you ask? Well, it looks like some folks, like New York Times‘ Dave Itzkoff, are salivating over the digital library.
On Friday, Marvel Comics, the publishing home of heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men, said it was introducing a free application for the iPad that will give readers access to a digital library of more than 500 comics from its 70-year history. The software program, Marvel Comics App, developed by the digital comics distributor comiXology, offers free access to the first issues of titles like New Avengers and The Invincible Iron Man. Other recent and vintage issues can be downloaded for $1.99 each. Marvel says it sees the app as being complementary to the experience of buying and reading physical comics, not supplanting it.
More on the Marvel app here.
Also, on the Zuda side of things, Zuda mentions that “webcomics”, as a term, has been trending quite nicely since 2007.
It seems that since October 2007, webcomics have gained greater presence in the minds of Web-surfing comic readers and appear to be on the rise for 2010.
Of course, we at Zuda knew that already. We might even like to think we helped webcomics a little bit on the above 2007-2008 bump with titles like BAYOU, HIGH MOON and THE NIGHT OWLS.
Maybe so, Zuda… but you know what also started on 2007? That’s right: the Webcomic Overlook. *air guitar* (h/t Artpatient.)
Abraham Lincoln. Whether or not you agree with his policies, Barack Obama made the right choice when he chose Abraham Lincoln as his role model. You can’t really say anything bad about a man who stuck by his principles so closely that he died for his country. Unless you’re some sort of Johnny Reb, you’d be hard-pressed to name anyone else who’d be regarded as the Greatest US President. The thing that doesn’t get mentioned often enough is that Mr. Lincoln was a wiry guy who, in his younger days, liked to wrestle on his free time. I’d like to think that the classic debates with Stephen Douglas were punctuated by an impromptu no-holds barred match.
Spider-Man. Peter Parker by day, crime-fighter by night. Friendly. Neighborhood. Friend of his Aunt May, Gwen Stacy, and the Human Torch. Enemy of Norman Osborn, The Shocker, and J. Jonah Jameson. Radioactive bug bites turn him into a superhero. Alien symbiotes turn him into a super emo. Recently, a deal with the devil effectively dissolved his marriage to wife Mary Jane, much to the confusion of everyone following along in the newspaper funnies section.
These two heroes, along with Captain America, are finally united in the Amazing Spider-Man: President’s Day Special. (Interestingly, this looks to be the Steve Rogers Captain America, who’s technically still dead. But then again, so is Lincoln, so who am I to talk?) In celebration of President’s Day, the comic is available free online at the Marvel Unlimited site. Yeah, it’s only a six page long story. The rest is a reprint of that over-hyped “Spider-Man meets President Obama” comic. From a comic standpoint, this is the equivalent of those cavity-fighter pamphlets you get at your dentist’s office. So why in the heck should I even give it a look?
Read the rest of this entry
Happy Valentine’s Day!/200th Birthday of Lincoln/200th Birthday of Charles Darwin/Friday the 13th/my brother-in-law’s birthday. I’m pretty sure the sheer confluence of events have somehow caused the world to end, and I am typing this entry from a pocket dimension somewhere in the recesses of inner space. I mean, everything around me still looks the same … look, there’s my favorite mug! … but that’s how those higher-dimensional beings getcha. So it’s time to switch things up a bit. With the New York Comic Con going on, everyone’s talking superheroes.
- First up is a blog where comic artists draw alternate versions of superhero covers. Why not browse these sites tomorrow instead of moping around all day about how you don’t have a date? Of these, Eric Skillman’s Superman is my favorite. Very retro 70′s, And is it fair to include Fred Hembeck in these things? Drawing alternate superhero covers is practically his day job. (h/t to The Beat)
- Speaking of alternate versions of superheroes, now’s a good time as any to point you to Project: Rooftop, a site dedicated to drawing superheroes in new costumes. One of the editors of the site is Dean Trippe, creator of the aesthetically pleasing Butterfly webcomic (reviewed here). My favorite is probably the Wonder Woman collection. You’ve lassoed by my heart, Valentine!
- Continuing on the superhero theme, the Switched site reports that Marvel Comics announced, at the New York Comic Con, that it comics will be available for download at the iTunes store. They’re going to be in a format called “In-Motion,” which means that the panels will be animated. Plus, there’s going to be voice-over work from “popular actors” (whatever that means). I share my pessimism with the article: can the “In-Motion” comics, which you have to pay for, compete with the free comics available on the web? Especially since it’s geared toward the iPhone and iPod Touch, two devices that can hook up to the internet. I’m leaning toward no — but mainly because I think comics with voice-overs are uber-cheesy.
Still, it makes you wonder: where will readers of print comics go to when they start looking for content on the internet? The fans of current webcomics and fans of superheroes are not one and the same. (The Big Two faced a similar revelation not too long ago when they discovered that the fans of the red hot manga books weren’t necessarily fans of superheroes.)
- While we’re on the subject of Comic Con, The Wall Street Journal looks at why comics are still popular despite the rough economy. And why are newspapers reporting over lesbian Batwoman now? I thought that was old news. I happen to think most of the confusion is that folks think Batwoman is either Batgirl or Catwoman. (She’s neither, though you just know DC is exploiting the confusion.) Also, when my wife e-mailed me the story, she claimed that Batwoman was the first gay superhero. I had to shamefacedly tell her, “No. Actually, it was Northstar. From Marvel.” She smiled and said, “I just knew you’d know if this story was real or not.” That’s my Valentine! Beauty and the geek, we are. (And no, I’m not going to repeat Jack Nicholson’s line from the 1989 Batman movie. It was awesome and all, but Mrs. Santo will kill me.)
- And since yesterday was the 200th Birthday for both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, why not party with the two righteous dudes down at Thinkin’ Lincoln (reviewed here)?
I don’t know how I managed to miss this, but a couple of days ago PW Beat mentioned that Marvel was going to produce their own original webcomics (here too). These include two rather lightweight-sounding titles with obvious ties to this year’s blockbusters: “Iron Man: Fast Friends” and “Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files” (with the Sam Jackson Nick Fury).
This comes on the heels of PW Beat’s previous report that periodical sales have been declining for the 7th month in a row. This is not new news, by the way. Print comic readership has been on a steady decline for a long, long time. I remember reading an interview with Spawn‘s Todd McFarlane in the 90′s mentioning that there was nothing that could be done to stop comics’ spin into irrelevancy. (This was before he went full-throttle on his admittedly successful toy business.) Some blame the ghettoization of comics to comic book shops (i.e., the direct market). Others blame the extremely lax publishing schedule as of late, as comics tend to never meet their publication dates. (The theory here is that once the comics get collected in trade paperbacks, no one will care when the single issues came out.)
Read the rest of this entry