– ComiXology has revealed their third incarnation of their award winning digital comics reading and downloading application, COMIXOLOGY 3.0, on August 25th. It is an upgrade of the app that has been available for iPhone, iPad, and iPad Touch in some fashion since 2007. It has a new interface with a sleek new store, as well as faster speeds. It’s library has been expanded with over 12,000 copies to buy and download – as well as at least 600 free comics offered by Marvel and DC but also Image Comics and other third party publishers. Users can pause and prioritize downloads, be notified of releases weekly, and other upgrades that CEO David Steinberger claims were inspired by “user feedback” (http://blog.comixology.com/2011/08/25/comixology-launches-comics-by-comixology-3-0/). While many comic book publishers now have their own digital store (including Dark Horse Comics and Marvel Comics), ComiXology was one of the first to create an app that it seems many creators and readers can enjoy. Given that Wednesday, August 31st, will be the day that DC Comics sells their comics in print and online across their ENTIRE LINE, this upgrade was likely needed to keep the ComiXology app fresh and reliable for users. Just after last week’s article, ComiXology also announced uniting with ICv2 and launching their Retailer Digital Storefronts program, with over 100 retailers participating so far (http://blog.comixology.com/2011/08/23/comixology-goes-live-with-over-100-comics-stores-through-their-retailer-digital-storefronts-program/). It enables any retailer with a website to adapt ComiXology’s store to their own and sell comics via ComiXology to customers; left unsaid is that ComiXology sets the percentage of the cut that the retailer gets in this sale, and may even court some customers behind the scenes. Two retailers, who run COMICS & MORE and WONDERLAND COMICS, have addressed their displeasure, to put it mildly, with ComiXology’s program last week on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_66EyCZYc4A). However, given that their video has averaged under 150 views (or 20% of the readership of JONAH HEX), it isn’t exactly going viral. This program already will leave out retailers who do not own a website either due to being unfamiliar with computers, unable to afford a domain, or both, while favoring bigger chain shops who can. However, given that when big publishers decide to go day-and-date with print and digital comics such as ARCHIE and DC are, they make zero provisions for retailers to get at least something in digital sales, at the very least ComiXology is trying – and making a better effort than Diamond Distribution – to cut “brick and mortar” retailers a cut of the pie. Digital comics remain a minor option in an already niche direct market, with digital sales representing 1% of the comics industry up until this point. Why? Not everyone owns an iPad/iPod/iPhone in a down economy, and most of the 300,000 readers who propel the direct market prefer physical comics. Whether this changes due to ComiXology’s increased efforts or DC Comics entering the digital game is unknown.
– SHOWTIME has expressed interest in adapting the Oni Press series THE DAMNED as a TV show, and has tapped David Hayter – writer of “X-MEN”, “X-MEN 2” and “WATCHMEN”, as well as voice of Solid Snake from the “METAL GEAR SOLID” games and star of “GUYVER 2: DARK HERO” from the 90’s – to draft it (http://www.deadline.com/2011/08/showtime-developing-drama-series-based-on-comic-book-the-damned/). The comic book series was created by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt and was set in Prohibition era Chicago. It featured a cursed man named Eddie caught between the city’s demon gangs. The TV series will be set in modern times, but little concrete information is known about it. Naturally, the success of AMC’s adaptation of Image Comics’ “THE WALKING DEAD” has inspired other cable networks to try a hand at non big two, spandex comic TV shows.
– Speaking of which, AMC has released four teasers for “THE WALKING DEAD” Season 2, which debuts on October 16th (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/168267-four-teaser-clips-from-the-walking-dead-season-2).
– Universal continues with casting announcements for their upcoming film adaptation of “R.I.P.D.” – this time, Marisa Miller, a model for VICTORIA’S SECRET and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has been cast in the film, which already will feature Ryan “Franchise Killer” Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon and Mary Louise Parker (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/marisa-miller-joins-ryan-reynolds-227344). The film is based on the comic and features a tale about the ghosts of dead cops who police the underworld. Given the ease that models can “slide” into acting, it says a lot about the casting decisions made by directors in the biz, eh?
– While Hurricane Irene ravaged the east coast on Sunday – this humble examiner’s borough of Brooklyn was mostly spared – it was also READ COMICS IN PUBLIC DAY. The official website (http://readcomicsinpublic.com/) has all sorts of pictures here. The day is to showcase that “normal” people read comics and to not be ashamed to do so in public. I never have, and often read comics during a commute by bus or train. If there is anything to be embarrassed about in reading comics in public, it is due to covers which are either disturbingly violent and/or offer cheesecake artwork that borders on softcore porn – crimes more attributed to Marvel and DC (and Top Cow) than the rest.
– The Charles Schultz Library, part of the Center For Cartoon Studies campus in Vermont, was near a river and thus prone to flooding due to Hurricane Irene. Thankfully, while the building itself was flooded and may be lost, the library and museum’s founder noted that not one book was lost, thanks to some quick thinking and acting by his staff and some Good Samaritans (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/08/29/ccs-library-saved-from-hurricane/).
– Oscar winning writer William Monahan (“THE DEPARTED”) has been tasked with working on the script for the much delayed “SIN CITY 2” by creator Frank Miller and direct Robert Rodriguez (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/sin-city-2-enlists-oscar-228761). Little is known about the progress of the script other than “it’s going good”. Based on the Dark Horse Comics franchise of the same name, “SIN CITY” was a big hit in 2005, grossing $158 million worldwide from a budget of $40 million (not including marketing costs). The biggest question marks is which actors from the hit film would be available to return to a sequel, especially after over six years. Still, such gaps between sequels are no longer uncommon in Hollywood; “BAD BOYZ 2” came out 8 years after the original, and that’s hardly the worst offender.
Last Week’s Indie Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comic-book-news-8-22-11-dynamite-pulp-heroes-skybound-expands-hellboy
Last Week’s DC Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-8-23-11-midnight-madess-midtown-comics-new-52-promotion
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-8-23-11-avengers-footage-ghost-rider-2-trailer-thor-dies