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The Economics of Digital Comics: Journalist And Educator Todd Allen On His Important New Book [Interview]

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Digital comics sales are a huge area of growth for the American comic book industry, rising faster than even ebook sales for traditional publishing. Digital accounted for $90 million dollars worth of sales in 2013 and as an increasingly accessible distribution platform for comics creators, is sure to become more and more integrated into the business of making comics.

Journalist, educator and digital media expert Todd Allen is currently running a Kickstarter for his ebook The Economics of Digital Comics, which helps explain the intricacies of the digital comics landscape for fans and creators alike. Also the author of The Economics of Webcomics, Allen's already well exceeded his modest funding goal. ComicsAlliance sat down with Allen to discuss his work and the digital business of comics.

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War Rocket Ajax Early Edition: ‘New Suicide Squad’ #1, ‘Armor Hunters’ #1, ‘Scooby-Doo Team-Up’ #5 And ‘Bat-Manga’ #1

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This week, Chris and Matt are oddly surprised by the (possible?) commentary found in New Suicide Squad #1 by Sean Ryan and Jeremy Roberts. Then they like how Armor Hunters #1 by Robert Venditti and Doug Braithwaite hits the big event-comic notes without being contrived. And finally, they discuss a couple of DC's digital-comic offerings: Scooby Doo Team-Up #5 by Sholly Fisch and Dario Brizuela, and Bat-Manga #1 by Jiro Kuwata.

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The Awesome Scooby-Doo/Wonder Woman Crossover We Didn’t Ask For But Are Glad Exists

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Wonder Woman has been quite the topic of conversation of late, thanks to the news that the popular and critically-acclaimed Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang creative team would soon be leaving her title after a three-year run to be replaced by the already controversial team of Meredith Finch/David Finch -- who have already made some troubling statements in simply trying to promote their run -- and the news that Gilbert Hernandez will bring his talents to the character for Sensation Comics.

While we were all talking about the Finch family, feminism, and the premier female superhero in comics history last week, we may have missed the fact that DC Comics just published an excellent Wonder Woman comic, one that cherry-picked elements from her most popular iterations (her weird-but-awesome Golden Age persona under the guidance of her creators, the Lynda Carter TV show, Super Friends) and presented them in dismemberment-free, all-ages comic that could be enjoyed by anyone from the littlest girl to the oldest old man. A comic book that was both fun and funny, and had just a touch of good old comic book insanity.

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‘Sensation Comics’ Featuring Wonder Woman To Also Feature Master Cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez

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Snuck out in the usual DC Comics PR is a little gift to discerning readers that may demonstrate that DC's digital wing really know what it's doing. Gilbert Hernandez, the legendary Love & Rockets cartoonist who gave the world Heartbreak Soup and Palomar, is going to write and draw a Wonder Woman story. Like, for real.

The story is part of the DC West Coast office's digital first line, and will appear in late September as part of the Wonder Woman anthology Sensation Comics. A print edition will follow in October.

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Marvel Unlimited Edition: (G)Roots Of The Guardians Of The Galaxy

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The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning critic Douglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.

Two spin-offs of Guardians of the Galaxy launch in recent weeks: The Legendary Star-Lord and the already-surprise-hit Rocket Raccoon. Marvel Unlimited's got a fairly thorough, if not quite complete, selection of most of the Guardians' previous appearances, especially the ones in the Annihilation/Annihilation: Conquest/Annihilators sequence. But their prehistory is worth digging into, too, and there's some choice proto-Guardians material in the archive.

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Privacy And Isolation In Brian K. Vaughan And Marcos Martin’s ‘The Private Eye’

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Internet privacy is easily one of the most confusing realities of life in the 21st century. It's the best ongoing story in collective awareness, complete with heroes, villains, victims and martyrs, turning points, and insane plot twists that regularly put The Good Wife to shame. PRISM, Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, XBox One, social engineering, News International, Anonymous, and even our stupid Facebook updates are all involved. Every player and plot-line are all tangled up in a worried knot that gets bigger and more complex every year. It's all one story, and we're all living it; spectators, beneficiaries, victims, and contributors. It's one of the defining issues of our age, a still-forming zeitgeist that could be explored for years to come.

Just not in comics. Because nobody's going to top Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente's The Private Eye.

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Marvel Unlimited Edition: Ego The Living Planet

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The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning critic Douglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.

Ego the Living Planet is one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's trippier creations: introduced in 1966 in Thor #132, he is literally a planet who is also a dude. With a face. (His first appearance was one of the photo-collages that Kirby was occasionally doing in those days; the gaunt, bearded face that Kirby pasted onto a planet shape was significantly different from most of the characters he designed.) Understandably, it's a little bit hard to do much with a planet-sized character who has to interact with humans, but nearly every artist who's gotten to work with Ego over the years has clearly relished the chance to draw his massive, scowling visage.

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Storybundle Offers Ebooks From KC Green, Zach Weinersmith, The Devastator And More

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Y'all are familiar with the concept of Bundles, right? If you're not, it's pretty simple: A bunch of stuff -- video games, comics, ebooks, that sort of thing -- is put together and and sold as a pay-what-you-want bundle, with additional content available if you meet a certain minimum. It's a pretty great way to check out new stuff along with items you've been curious about without spending a lot of money, while simultaneously supporting independent creators. For the next six days, Storybundle.com has a set of pretty amazing webcomics-related content that you can snag for whatever you want to pay.

Put together by The Devastator, the quarterly comedy magazine, the bundle includes content from Gunshow creator KC Green, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's Zach Weiner, Tales to Suffice's Kenny Kiel, and more.

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FINALLY: Viz Media Manga Is Now Available On ComiXology

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Good news for people who like keeping their digital comics in one easily accessible location: Today, Comixology announced that its going to be distributing digital comics from Viz Media, the publisher of a truly massive library of manga titles. Viz manga will now be available through the Comixology site, meaning that the comics can be downloaded to the popular (if controversially scaled back) Comixology app for Android and iOS devices, joining... well, pretty much every publisher on the block and keeping Comixology as a central destination for folks who want to buy digital comics.

The announcement is accompanied by the release of over 500 volumes of manga on Comixology today, including ComicsAlliance favorites like One Piece and One Punch Man, as well as a somewhat obscure title called Dragon Ball.

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Marvel Unlimited Edition: ‘Spider-Man’ Minus Spider-Man

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The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning critic Douglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.

In this week's edition: Replacing Peter Parker with Otto Octavius for 31 issues was a neat demonstration of how strong Spider-Man's supporting cast is -- and The Superior Foes of Spider-Man has removed its title character from the equation altogether and gotten a terrific series out of it. Even before the big mind-swap, though, there was a little tradition of Spider-Man comics without Spider-Man in them. (He doesn't appear in Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 or #676, for instance, both among 2011's best done-in-one issues of the series.) Here are some of the most entertaining examples on Marvel Unlimited.

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