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[Digital Comics] Funny Books On Your Phones and Tablets! Check OP For Retailers

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Posts

  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Rantz (the main guy behind Longbox) says they have seven more publishers whose identities they plan to roll out over the weeks leading up to SDCC. He also said that their business plan is set up to make sure that everyone makes money, even if the big 2 don't participate. Honestly, if they got every publisher except Marvel and the DC lines, they'd still be in pretty good position.

    Does anyone know of other comics download services?

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    It might be better if the Big Two don't initially participate, as it'll allow a lot of the smaller publishers some time at the head of the scene before being smothered by the deluge of more established and popular books.

    On that note, one thing I wonder is how digital comics will affect the role of the publisher. Currently, Brubaker has to approach Marvel about getting Criminal and Incognito published because he isn't in a position to publish the book himself and get it out to as many stores. If Criminal and Incognito were digital comics, however, the huge investment needed to get the title off the ground is no longer a factor and Brubaker could potentially just put the book online himself, either by approaching Longbox independently or simply starting his own website. In both cases, he streamlines the process of getting his work out there and increases his total earnings from each issue.

    That's not to say Marvel and DC and other publishers cease to be, of course. They still have their own properties, which people will pay to read, and they still serve as a great way to raise a person's profile. That said, they'll have to offer established talent a lot more if they want them on their payroll. I'm hoping that this will mean better contracts with better benefits.

  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Haven't seen the particulars yet, but Rantz did mention that their business model is made to work with individual creators as well as bigger publishers. Big publishers will have a place still because they have marketing departments that can promote their books way better than random guy publishing his book through Longbox. Established creators with name recognition stand to gain the most because their fan base will follow them.

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Well, personally I think comics are currently very poorly marketed. Apart from the fact that you'll never see an ad for a comic outside of another comic, most of the ads are focused on major events at the expense of titles that genuinely need promotion. It gets to the point where fans feel like they need to market books like Blue Beetle and Manhunter to each other, because even publishers with real money behind them aren't doing the job themselves.

    Given that, what's the value of a marketing team to a creator, especially when teaming up with a publisher means that they'll also be able to kill your book and hang onto the rights to your original characters? It seems like a pretty shit deal unless your book is so bad that nobody will buy it, in which case you're just thankful for receiving money up front.

    Frankly, I think the only real value would be in having the imprint of a publisher on your book, and if that's the case then it reduces the role of publishers to little more than expensive logos.

  • FaynorFaynor Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    To further your point, I never saw ads for Captain Britain until the hammer had already dropped.

    do you wanna see me eat a hotdog
  • TexiKenTexiKen it's a one way street, whichever way I go Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Comics do have shit marketing, and it pisses me off. And I agree that we have to tell other readers to check out a book, that's kind of why I post things from stuff like Fables or Captain Britain because no one in Marvel is really going to push it, just say "you should read it it's really good," while at the same time also saying "you should read Ultimatum, it's really good."

    The marketing department at Marvel is also used every now and then as an excuse for things like the Ultimatum delay or other things the publishing division screws up, like the way their digital comics system was when first launched.

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  • RaykefireRaykefire Devil by the Deed Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Well other than a release schedule that seems hell bent on leaving gaps I have really enjoyed the Marvel Digital thing. I have read alot of books I would never have picked up, and am stil lfinding random runs and minis that are taking up some free time. For the price of the 4-5 trades I would have gotten for $55 I have blown through alot of content. I even for to re-read some stuff I have trades of at home but didnt bring with me on deployment. That being said there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the library of older arcs they have loaded up, I just don't understand the thought process of missing random issues or not finishing some minis. I have read people feel it's an effort to get people to buy the trades, but I am talking about alot of things that aren't even in trade print anymore. Digital access to some books has made me buy more trades to own books I liked, like Runaways and Deadpool/Cable, that I probably wouldn't have bought before, but the gaps are frustrating.

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  • TexiKenTexiKen it's a one way street, whichever way I go Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Since you subscribe to it Raykefire, does there seem to be a way they upload based on creators?

    I just wonder if Marvel is trying to fill the gaps on their digital comics by trying to get to some middle ground with the creators regarding digital distribution rights.

    For instance, Bendis and Fraction books probably get updated all the time because they have newer contracts that probably do something regarding royalties for online books. But if they try to, say, update the site with all of Kirkman's Marvel Team Up (don't know if they have it), there is probably some pissing match to go along with it because Kirkman now works at Image.

    I know these are work for hire contracts, but I don't know what is stipulated regarding uploading to a system that probably didn't even appear in contracts 2 years ago.

    wowsmm_zps1010c3b6.jpg
  • RaykefireRaykefire Devil by the Deed Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    The rights form the creators might be a reason why they have gaps, but I sent a feedback to ask if there was a plan on digitising older stuff to fill in gaps they created, and they responded (fairly quickly) :
    "At this time, we are unable to
    specify which titles will be available to read on Digital Comics
    Unlimited further ahead than the "coming soon" box on the DCU page.
    However, we are constantly updating the site and there will be a variety
    of classic and new titles added to the site every week. We are aware
    that there are gaps in the series and we want to make sure that we offer
    a satisfying reader experience to our subscribers, so this is an issue
    we are bearing in mind as we make improvements to Digital Comics
    Unlimited."

    So that at least give me hope that if the service continues it may fill in alot of the holes.
    There is little infomation about the service or vision for it (such as Amazon's digital vision for the Kindle) so it's hard to say what "classics" they will be adding. They do have all of the Kirkman volume of Marvel Team up on the site, it's one of the complete runs (I myself only read the Leage of Losers arc). I assume they dont have to worry about royalties and rights on most stuff, I know I haven't been paying attention for a long time, but I thought that was why Image and alot of the independant houses were formed, because Marvel/DC just owned everything they did.

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  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    as long as the format is clean, readable, and at a high enough res to appreciate the art, I'm all for a digital service. I'd subscribe, read issues monthly, and then if I really dug something buy it when it gets an HC release or whatever. But there's a lot of stuff I don't read now because I don't think it justifies a trade or HC purchase and because I don't buy floppies for multiple reasons.

  • numpty1979numpty1979 Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Well I think Longbox sounds great. Living in the UK makes it a) harder to get hold of comics, and b) much more expensive to get hold of them - the exchnage rate is bad enough but then there's the premium for importing them.

    If Longbox is accessible from the UK I am all for it.

  • DelduwathDelduwath Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I can think up a ton of arguments both for and against digital distribution of comics (mind you, most of these arguments are only applicable to me), but I think that at the end it comes down to this: is it goods, or is it a service?

    If I can take my digital comics, load them up onto my computer, back them up as I want to, and view them when and where I want to (independent of Internet connection, for example, and independent of which computer I originally bought them on), I'm pretty sure that I'd be totally down for digitally distributed comics.

    If I have to maintain an internet connection to access my library, can only view it from a limited number of devices, or lose access to said library if I stop paying a monthly fee, then I have absolutely zero interest in the service. Essentially, I want to buy things, not rent them.

    Mind you, I'm not saying they shouldn't provide some all-you-can-read monthly subscription, or whatever. That would be a great option for hooking people on comics, I imagine. I just wouldn't go for it, myself.

    weapon_rex.jpg
  • DrakeonDrakeon Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Yea, I'm all for this. I'm most definitely running out of room to store my comics (also, I've realized I spend way too much on them and probably get a few books I could easily drop) and I have so many (and didn't keep them organized) that now it's nigh-impossible to organize them without at least a week-long effort and tons and tons of time to devote to it. I'd be all for a digital distribution model myself, much as I like my LCS, it's kind of out of the way and DD would just be so much more convenient. I mean, imagine waking up on wednesday and just being able to read through a few comics before going to work/school, without having to go anywhere.

    PSN: Drakieon XBL: Drakieon Steam: TheDrakeon
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Yeah, it would be nice if they'd do that, but I imagine that the big 2 would probably delay digital release a week or two so you'd have an incentive to go buy the floppy. That'd be pretty dumb, but I can see with Marvel's DCU that delayed release of new material is probably going to stick around.

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Delaying the digital release makes sense if you're talking about uploading comics to a subscription service, but if you're selling comics individually and the profit margin for the digital release is the same then there's no reason to delay.

  • WildcatWildcat Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Except for not wanting to piss off Diamond or the comic shops.

  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    You piss off Diamond and the shops simply by having a digital service.

  • WildcatWildcat Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    To an extent, yes, but not half as much as you would by synchronising the digital versions with the street release dates.

  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I'd say the extent is great and that synchronizing the release is just rubbing salt in the wound.

    In any case, why should Marvel or DC be worried about pissing off Diamond or the shops? Diamond can just go fuck themselves, and the shops aren't about to boycott Marvel or DC when doing so will just drive them out of business faster.

  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    So, after it came up in the Bad Comics Thread, Geebs directed me to toss this over here to possibly spur some discussion.
    Munch wrote:
    I'd like to see Marvel offer a few niche books as digital downloads alongside the physical copies, just to see how they'd fare. I mean, look at Fred Van Lente's Savage She-Hulk; solid, talented writer, good art, solid concept, and it's smack dab in the middle of Dark Reign, but right out of the gate it only sells 24k issues, which is just above cancellation levels. So why not make a digital version available for download on the same day the first issue launches, just to see how it does?

    Opinions? I honestly feel like, as the retailers and direct market seem uninterested in supporting or pushing books like Blue Beetle, She-Hulk, Booster Gold, or Captain Britain, DC and Marvel both need to begin looking into digital distribution for their low tier titles.

    Honestly, don't you, as a reader, look at upcoming books and immediately wonder how long they're going to last? Did anyone not predict that The Order, Pet Avengers, Runaways, Blue Beetle, Breach, Firestorm, or Exiles were going to struggle right out of the gate, and ultimately face early cancellation, poor sales, or both? So why do Marvel and DC keep throwing these books into a market that can't support them at any sustainable level? As far as I can see, the pros of going digital on low-tier books far outweigh the cons.

    First, the publisher's overhead costs aren't as high, as the printer, distributor, and retailer don't get a cut of the book's sale. That allows the publisher to pass the savings onto the customer, while still making a healthy profit. Even the retailers benefit, as they no longer have to order books that they're expected to stock, only to have them sit on their shelves, eventually making their way into discount bins. Everyone saves money.

    Plus, while a book selling 20k to readers through the direct market may be unprofitable, if it can pull in the same numbers through digital distribution, then it could, from everything I've read, actually be pretty profitable.

    That's not even touching on the other benefits of digital distribution, like the fact that you can keep a backlog of single issues available for years, while physical single issues only have a shelf life of a few weeks before they become all but impossible to sell. Or that books that may not sell well in the direct market have the potential to do well when marketed to demographics that don't frequent comic shops. Red 5's Atomic Robo only sells a few thousand copies in the direct market, but several issues have placed in the top 20 of e-books for iTunes.

    But, as long as DC and Marvel are afraid of stepping on the toes of Diamond and the retailers, I'm afraid we won't see any serious movement in the digital comic area. Though I will say that Marvel's Spider-Woman motion comic is a step in the right direction, combining top tier talent with a B-list character that has struggled to maintain sales in the past. I just wish they would have released it as an actual comic, rather than some weird, movie/comic lovechild.

  • The Geebs That Got BigtimedThe Geebs That Got Bigtimed Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2009
    Digital delivery seems like it'd be a godsend for lower selling comics like that. Put them online, wait a couple months, and collect them in a trade. That way comic shops don't have to eat the costs of low-selling books like that, but still have the option to sell the collected story to those interested.

  • Calamity JaneCalamity Jane That Wrong Love Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    it'd also solve the problem of no new original content

    it's a lot less risky for new characters to be introduced in an environment where there are say four or so bat family or wolverine books respectively

    it's cool, it's an online exclusive!

  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Agreed on all points above. I think Digital is going to take off once one service shows that its profitable. We're already seeing Marvel dipping its toe into the water, so to speak, with original digital content being collected for print. If the industry contracts enough so that any sub-30k books are infeasible, I could see Marvel or DC trying it. I just wish someone would explain to them that lowering overhead costs while simultaneiously increasing their customers' buying power are good things.

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    wwtMask wrote: »
    I just wish someone would explain to them that lowering overhead costs while simultaneiously increasing their customers' buying power are good things.

    These are undoubtedly good things for DC and Marvel in the short term, but in the long-term I think the Big Two might find it much harder to dominate a market that requires less of an initial investment from a publisher or self-publisher to put out a book.

  • Unco-ordinatedUnco-ordinated Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    When Blue Beetle was cancelled, John Rogers mentioned that the book would've been profitable if they took out all the distribution and printing costs. So yeah, I think it's a no-brainer and the fact that DC/Marvel haven't done this yet makes me wonder what year DC/Marvel's management think they're living in.

    Steam ID - LiquidSolid170 | PSN ID - LiquidSolid
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    When Blue Beetle was cancelled, John Rogers mentioned that the book would've been profitable if they took out all the distribution and printing costs. So yeah, I think it's a no-brainer and the fact that DC/Marvel haven't done this yet makes me wonder what year DC/Marvel's management think they're living in.

    See Crimson's post. I think that the low cost of entry will mean that there will be far more material available. I think we may see a repeat of the initial popularity of comics, where there was a glut of material of varying quality. Unlike then, though, Marvel and DC control the rights to the most well known properties, so even though their market share in the digital space may not be as dominant as in print, they will still be the biggest players. Assuming they get with the program and fully commit to the medium.

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • DouglasDangerDouglasDanger Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    wwtMask wrote: »
    When Blue Beetle was cancelled, John Rogers mentioned that the book would've been profitable if they took out all the distribution and printing costs. So yeah, I think it's a no-brainer and the fact that DC/Marvel haven't done this yet makes me wonder what year DC/Marvel's management think they're living in.

    See Crimson's post. I think that the low cost of entry will mean that there will be far more material available. I think we may see a repeat of the initial popularity of comics, where there was a glut of material of varying quality. Unlike then, though, Marvel and DC control the rights to the most well known properties, so even though their market share in the digital space may not be as dominant as in print, they will still be the biggest players. Assuming they get with the program and fully commit to the medium.

    Webcomics are comics. This is kind of going on right now actually. Honestly, I can't believe the big comics companies don't have some kind of web comics thing going on.

    I play games on ps3 and ps4. My PSN is DouglasDanger.
  • The Geebs That Got BigtimedThe Geebs That Got Bigtimed Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2009
    Doesn't DC have that zuda comics thing?

  • DouglasDangerDouglasDanger Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Doesn't DC have that zuda comics thing?

    Yeah. DC is putting their toe in the pool, sort of. I don't understand why the big comics companies (DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse) don't have some kind of webcomics thing going on with their big properties. Dark Horse did (does?) have that Myspace Comics thing. It had Fear Agent and Umbrella Academy on it.

    I play games on ps3 and ps4. My PSN is DouglasDanger.
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    By "glut of comics" I mean to imply a glut of professionally created comics. Honestly, webcomics are a somewhat different animal than what comics publishers are putting out.

    The publishers aren't doing digital now because, like the music industry before them, they don't know how to maximize revenue from the medium (they don't believe that people will pay for something they can get for free) and they fear lack of control of the content. It's a stupid way to look at the issue because right now they're getting no money at all and have zero control over it. At least with a viable alternative out there they can gain some money and control, what little there is to be had at least.

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Video from SDCC of Longbox in action.

    A summary of the Longbox panel from SDCC.

    And a two part interview with Rantz Hoseley at Newsarama: Part 1 Part 2

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Anyone have good experiences with Marvel's service? I want to subscribe, as $60 for a whole year is a pretty good deal. Looking through the samples, however, it seems the scans are comparatively low-res. I can live with their bloated interface, but jaggy pages are less appealing - the recaps look like 8-bit writing.

    Does the quality vary at all? Honestly, Longbox looks cool, but I'd much prefer a subscription service.

    All creature will die and all the things will be broken. That's the law of samurai.
  • blanknogoblanknogo Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Digital distribution would provide many insane benefits, including the ability to instant purchase a related book and get recommendations. Making playlists to keep track of crossovers and such would be great too.

    But unless there is some type of tablet device, reading on a laptop just isn't the same thing.

  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Digital delivery seems like it'd be a godsend for lower selling comics like that. Put them online, wait a couple months, and collect them in a trade. That way comic shops don't have to eat the costs of low-selling books like that, but still have the option to sell the collected story to those interested.

    I wholeheartedly agree with this. If I recall correctly, they put the Fin Fang Four stand-alone online before making a physical print of it, and if it came out in a TPB or a HC anthology, I'd totally buy it.

    I even stood in a local hobby shop, with the single issue in hand contemplating breaking my 'no floppies' rule, but the truth of the matter is that if it can't stand up on a bookshelf, I simply have no way to store it.

  • LilithiumLilithium __BANNED USERS
    edited August 2009
    would they scour eBay for the singles or just buy a trade?

    I am scouring the internet for issues 1-250 of Hellblazer, bar #11.

    What's that ringing? Ting-ting-a-linging in my head~? Oh, you're always there, making me whole. You're always waiting up for me. You're my first kiss, ever so pure, and ever so defiling, once lost, can never be the same. Fuck me. Violate me. Deny me.
  • Me Too!Me Too! __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    Lilithium wrote: »
    would they scour eBay for the singles or just buy a trade?

    I am scouring the internet for issues 1-250 of Hellblazer, bar #11.

    Come to my shop and buy 75% of them

    But you can't touch 134-206 I called dibs and also on Dangerous Habits

    If you find #45 though I have that already

  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Cherrn wrote: »
    Anyone have good experiences with Marvel's service? I want to subscribe, as $60 for a whole year is a pretty good deal. Looking through the samples, however, it seems the scans are comparatively low-res. I can live with their bloated interface, but jaggy pages are less appealing - the recaps look like 8-bit writing.

    Does the quality vary at all? Honestly, Longbox looks cool, but I'd much prefer a subscription service.

    If you can live with the gaps in titles and the fact that it may be a year before you see any recent comics, I suppose it could work for you. They do get some online exclusives, though, so there is that.

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • Darth NatDarth Nat Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Cherrn wrote: »
    Anyone have good experiences with Marvel's service? I want to subscribe, as $60 for a whole year is a pretty good deal. Looking through the samples, however, it seems the scans are comparatively low-res. I can live with their bloated interface, but jaggy pages are less appealing - the recaps look like 8-bit writing.

    I like it well enough, but you're right in that the scans aren't as high-quality as they could be. This isn't a problem for most books I've read using the service, but I was reading some Immortal Iron Fist last night, and it's nigh-impossible to tell what's going on in some panels because the relative low-quality just destroys the detail. I don't feel very cheated by this, though, since I'm just paying one flat rate for access to tons of comics, but whenever we get a pay-per-issue system of downloadable issues, I hope they use higher-quality scans that what they're using for this system.

    I also find that their comic reader is a resource hog, at least in Firefox. I've had my (relative fast) computer grind to a halt after reading ten or so comics in a row because Firefox is suddenly using upwards of 90% of my CPU.

    I wouldn't say that either of these issues is dire, or discourage you from subscribing because I really do think it's a great resource for introducing yourself to series you wouldn't otherwise check out if you had to pay for them per-issue or per-storyline. It's a good resource if you want to familiarize yourself with tons of different Marvel properties, and not so much a good resource for completionists or people who want to stay current.

  • Rantz HoseleyRantz Hoseley Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Screencast of the LongBox Platform just went up, if anyone is interested in seeing it...

    http://vimeo.com/6153232

  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Looks pretty cool Rantz.

    I really like the little news feed on the main page, and the organization system seems pretty straightforward, but what'll make or break it for me is the quality of the reader, and the clarity of the images.

    In other digital comic news, iVerse recently exceeded one million downloads, nine months after beginning distribution. Considering that they only distribute to iPhones or phones that can access Google Android, and that they distribute comics that usually only sell 5,000-10,000 units per issue in the direct market, that's pretty damn good.

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