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Digital ComicsAlliance: 3 of The Best Comics From The New 52

Welcome to Digital ComicsAlliance, your headquarters for digital comics news and recommendations. Since the first month of DC’s new #1 issues is done, now is a great time to look back at the month of comics and pick out three of the best comics from the new 52 to pick up digitally: Aquaman, Wonder Woman and The Flash.

1. Name: Aquaman #1
Creative Team: Geoff Johns (script), Ivan Reis (pencils), Joe Prado (inks), Rod Reis (colors), Nick J Napolitano (letters)
Platform: ComiXology/DC (iOS, Web, Android)
Price: $2.99 ($1.99 from 10/26)
Format: One issue
Why: Who knew? I’ve never quite managed to become an Aquaman fan. Something about him never quite clicked for me, and he always struck me as a great guest star, but not anyone with any star power of his own. This book didn’t turn me all the way around, but it gave me an Aquaman who directly addressed my skepticism. Johns and Reis portray Aquaman as he probably should be portrayed — a very, very talented hero.

The fun is in the way the public reacts to him. They think he’s a joke, rather than a hero, and he’s more than a little bit exasperated over it. He never comes across bitter, though, just tired, and he still has a fairly wry sense of humor. This was a good re-introduction to the character for me, with just the right balance of humor and menace to keep me interested.

2. Name: Wonder Woman #1

Creative Team: Brian Azzarello (writer), Cliff Chiang (art), Matthew Wilson (color), Jared K Fletcher (letters) Platform: ComiXology/DC (iOS, Web, Android)
Price: $2.99 ($1.99 from 10/19)
Format: One issue
Why: Like Aquaman, I’ve never been a Wonder Woman fan, either. Even the runs that people swear by, like the Greg Rucka run, didn’t manage to make much of an impression on me. I was never hooked the way other people were, though I liked the idea of an Amazon warrior coming to the world to spread peace and dealing with Greek mythology. This issue ended up being exactly what I’m looking for. Diana’s got sort of a world-weary demeanor, though not to an overbearing or cynical extent. She’s just been around, and she’s learned to see the subtle humor in the life she leads. Chiang’s art is, as usual, peerless, and Matthew Wilson’s colors? Magnificent. This may well be the best book of the New 52.

3. Name: The Flash #1

Creative Team: Francis Manapul (writer/artist), Brian Buccellato (writer/colorist), Sal Cipriano (letters)
Platform: ComiXology/DC (iOS, Web, Android)
Price: $2.99 ($1.99 from 10/26)
Format: One issue
Why: Now, I was already a Flash fan, but I wasn’t sure about this one. I tried it on a whim, mainly because everything Manapul draws is worth at least a flip through, and was beyond pleasantly surprised. These are good Flash comics, and while I’m hesitant to make any proclamations as to where it stands in the canon of Flash tales, it’s off to a good start. It made me actually enjoy reading about Barry Allen for one thing, and Manapul gets pretty clever with how he portrays speed. It’s not just about being able to run fast any more. Barry flits from place to place between panels and multitasks on a level that’s really pretty crazy. This is a fun comic, and blessedly free of carnage. It looks and reads like what I imagine a Flash comic should be like, and more than that, it actually makes me want to pick up the next issue. I think Flash is best served by being just a little weirder than the other cape comics around it. This issue delivered the weird and a heaping helping of great art.

THE SALES

-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.

-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 is also a page on Dark Horse Digital that lists ongoing specials.

THE PLAYERS

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 app that syncs to your account on the web)
DC Comics (iOS, Web [identical to the DC offerings on ComiXology and syncs with your ComiXology account])
Double Feature (iOS, Web)
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])
eManga (web)
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, web)
Yen Press (web)


THE BASICS

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.

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