Digital ComicsAlliance: ‘Empowered’ Sale for 99 Cents, ‘Bone’, and ‘Miranda Mercury’
Welcome to Digital ComicsAlliance, your headquarters for digital comics news and recommendations. If you're looking for comics for kids, you're in luck! Two out of the three we're recommending this week are great for kids or teens. The other one? The other one is a sexy superhero comedy on sale from Dark Horse for 99 cents, and is probably best suited for teens or older.
1. Name: Empowered Special: The Wench With A Million Sighs
Creative Team: Adam Warren (writer/artist)
Platform: Dark Horse Digital (iOS, Web)
Price: $0.99 (from 07/18-07/20, $1.99 thereafter)
Format: One issue
Why: Empowered, everybody. Adam Warren's ongoing series of graphic novels are great, featuring some of the best art, writing, and storytelling you'll see in cape comics. They're superhero comics made expressly for adults, with a particular focus on cheesecake, beefcake, and some great comedy. This bite-sized (it's regular comic-sized, not graphic novel-sized) special serves as the perfect introduction to Empowered and Warren's particular brand of humor. Empowered is not just how you do sexy superhero comics -- it's a textbook case of how to make a compelling story out of a joke without stripping out all the humor. No pun intended. (Pun definitely intended.)
Creative Team: Jeff Smith (writer/artist), Steve Hamaker (colors)
Platform: ComiXology (iOS, Web, Android)
Format: 11 chapters, first chapter free
Why: Hey kids! Comics! This is pretty much the big man on campus when it comes to those special comics for kids that adults also love to read. Smith whipped up a grand old tale set in a fantastic world with a bunch of really enjoyable characters and a massive threat for the cast to go up against. Bone is good stuff, and it's on sale until 07/20. That'll give you ten chapters for $0.99, and another chapter for free. This is a pretty good deal, I think, and if you've never read Bone and you're curious about picking it up for your kids (c'mon--we know you want it for yourself), check this out for cheap.
Creative Team: Brandon Thomas (writer), Lee Ferguson (art), Marc Deering (inks), Matty Ryan (letters), Felix Serrano (colors)
Platform: ComiXology (iOS, Web, Android)
Format: Two issues, first issue is free
Why: A few hours after my interview with Brandon Thomas went up, ComiXology posted the first two issues of The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury online, with the first issue for free. If reading comics on a website like this one doesn't float your boat for some reason, now you can throw it on your iPad and read it in style. In short, Miranda Mercury is one of, if not the, top adventurer in her time period, known for being there to save the day and with a reputation for accomplishing the impossible. There's one catch: she's dying, and she can't cure it. What's next? The impossible.
-ComiXology runs Marvel Mondays sales (wait for it) every Monday. Certain Marvel comics, usually ones from a specific series or united under a theme, are offered for half off. You can check their blog for the current sale on Monday mornings, and sometimes Sunday nights. Once Monday is gone, though, so is the sale. Keep an eye on their blog for other sales, too. Until 07/21, you can buy the Planetary Digital Omnibus for $24.99. This collects the entire 27 issue series, and features 648 pages of Warren Ellis and James Cassaday's best work.
-Dark Horse runs themed sales every weekend. They've run sales on Serenity, The Goon, Conan, and Fray, among others, so you're pretty much sure to find something to like at some point. This week's sale hasn't been announced yet, but stay tuned to the Dark Horse Digital blog.
There are a few different ways to get digital comics right now. Here's a selection of the methods, listed by company in alphabetical order, and the formats they support:
Archie Comics (iOS)
Boom! Studios (iOS [identical to the Boom! offerings on ComiXology and syncs with your ComiXology account])
Comics4Kids (iOS [ComiXology for all-ages comics])
ComiXology (iOS, Web, Android)
Dark Horse (iOS, Web)
DC Comics (iOS, Web [identical to the DC offerings on ComiXology and syncs with your ComiXology account])
DriveThru Comics (CBZ, PDF, ePUB, and more)
Dynamite Entertainment (iOS,Web, Android [identical to the Dynamite offerings on ComiXology and syncs with your ComiXology account])
Graphic.ly (iOS, Web, Android, Nook Color)
IDW Comics (iOS)
Image Comics (iOS [identical to the Image offerings on ComiXology and syncs with your ComiXology account])
iVerse's Comics+ (iOS, Nook Color)
Marvel Comics on Chrome (Web)
Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited (Web)
My Digital Comics (PDF, CBZ, and more)
The Illustrated Section (PDF)
Square Enix Manga (web)
Viz Manga (iOS)
Yen Press (web)
There are a few things you need to know. You no longer need an iOS device (you know: iPad, iPod, iPhone), but you will need an internet connection, web browser, and, usually, Flash. Generally, you don't get to actually own your digital comics. You're paying to read them, and while this has been a fairly smooth process this far, that may rankle for some readers.
Are all these distributors different? Functionally, no, they aren't that different at all. Most of them allow for panel by panel reading (or a variation thereof) or page-based reading. The main differences are in selection. Frustratingly, certain comics are offered on several services, but released at different times. Marvel alone offers five choices. Most other publishers keep to one distribution method, and if they don't, they tend to keep their stuff mirrored across the various methods. If you want DC Comics, you're using ComiXology, for example, but Boom! Studios has comics on both. For Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, you'll have to pay a subscription fee. It's essentially Netflix for comics, however, so that may be worth it for you.
Personally, I use a mix of all the services, which is far from an optimal configuration, but one that works well. Poke around and see which one you like the most.
When do digital comics come out? Marvel has a weekly schedule, with an option for viewing the next month's releases. That's as close as you'll get to a release schedule. To see what's new on ComiXology, subscribe to this RSS feed. IDW generally releases books four weeks after they ship in print. ComiXology updates on Wednesdays, Graphic.ly updates throughout the week, and IDW's app updates on Tuesdays, with day-and-date books arriving on Wednesday. Dark Horse updates on Wednesdays. This category on iVerse's Comics+ site lists the updates for the week. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited releases books every Monday.
I'll update with RSS feeds and landing pages that show new releases as they appear! If you're a digital comics publisher and you don't have a feed or page that users can visit... well, please create one. We'd all appreciate it.