Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 22, 2013

Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital


By Tom Spurgeon

* Vertical moves into digital publishing with multiple-device books being made available. The initial titles are Twin Spica (Kou Yaginuma), The Drops Of God (Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto) and 7 Billion Needles (Nobuaki Tadano). I've only read the first of those, but I found it a solid, generally charming, specific-milieu soap opera of the kind I would have consumed like chocolate cheesecake at a certain age.

image* the writer Brian K Vaughan and the artists Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente released the first installment of a comics story called The Private Eye for on-line consumption on a "pay what you like" model. Warren Ellis has the most cogent commentary, if nothing else for the reason that he's Warren Ellis and practically invented established comics pros taking to the Internet and trying out serialization models. I would disagree with Ellis that this particular model is something a publisher might have easily presented to a cartoonist -- I don't think that publishers can slip as seamlessly into the "pay what you like" model or even the "suggested minimum price" model as easily as an artist or artists working on their own behalf. I do agree that there's been a significant lack of movement from publishers in presenting models to creators. Also: it's good to have a comic from those creators, even if they were using a model of shaving it into dudes' backs at conventions and selling tickets.

* there's a digital comics sale on the Hellblazer title, if you're interested in maybe seeing some of those comics. Hellblazer was a longtime super-steady performer for DC Comics and ended at its 300th issue as the character of John Constantine was merged into the standard superhero universe. If I recall that title correctly, and I was not a reader past the early issues, it would be #27 (a Neil Gaiman stand-alone) and #41-46 (a well-regarded Garth Ennis story) that would probably be good sampling points for you. I wonder if we won't look back at comics like that and not see anything like them being done currently, perhaps sooner than we think.

* here's a great thing: the Derby Dugan trilogy is available in digital form now. That's Funny Papers, Derby Dugan's Depression Funnies and Dugan Under Ground. I enjoyed them all on paper.

* count Keith Brown's The Wages of Sin among those webcomics with a print-comics iteration.

* here's the link from another press release that looks potentially interesting, someone presenting the reader-manipulation aspects of a project in the context of a very seriously illustrated science-fiction work, which isn't always a pairing of intent one gets.

* Tim Kreider has updated his site to about 2009 or so. That sounds mean, but I'm clearly stuck in 2004 so it kind of isn't.

* finally, I almost missed this in terms of getting it into this column, but here are a bunch of Robot 6 contributors talking about Marvel's streaming service, which gives you unlimited access to a bunch of different comic books all at once. It's an interesting model in that most of the movie options have this kind of bifurcated approach now.

posted 5:00 am PST | Permalink

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