Welcome to Digital ComicsAlliance, your headquarters for digital comics news and recommendations. This time around, we've got a special Dark Horse sale on The Goon #7 for $0.99, from now through Wednesday. We've also got a classic Spider-Man tale from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and a recently released crime comic by Ed Brubaker and about the pain of going home.

1. Name: The Goon #7

Creative Team: Eric Powell (writer/artist), Mike Mignola (writer/artist), Dave Stewart (colors), Clem Robins (letters)

Platform: Dark Horse Digital (iOS, Web)

Price: $0.99 (from 07/11-07/13, $1.99 thereafter)

Format: One issue

Why: It's tough to pin down the best part of Eric Powell's The Goon. Powell's extraordinarily clean art is obviously a huge draw. The characters vary from realistic to exaggerated to cartoony, but never look out of place in the world Powell's created. The world itself is great, too, filled with stock horror movie types, tired shlubs, and enchanting dames. But really, it has to be the comedy. The Goon is hilarious. There's plenty of knife-to-the-eye style gags to balance out the creepy horror that gives the series its punch. In this issue, Hellboy comes a-calling and gets to know the Goon and his universe. It's a good story, with plenty of really good dumb gags, and some of the great action that both The Goon and Hellboy are known for.

2. Name: Amazing Spider-Man #1

Creative Team: Stan Lee (script), Steve Ditko (art), Johnny Dee (letters)

Platform: Graphicly (iOS, Desktop, Android)

Price: $1.99 ($1.49 on the desktop app)

Format: One issue

Why: Have you read the classic Lee/Ditko run on Amazing Spider-Man? The modern stuff is good, don't get me wrong, but there's something magical about the stuff that originally made Spider-Man a character worth reading about. In this first issue, the core of Spider-Man is there, but he hasn't quite settled into the shape we know and love today. He's still after money and he's surprisingly angry and vengeful. Despite that, we get scenes featuring Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, John Jameson, the Chameleon, and the Fantastic Four. It's a little raw and weird when compared to Spidey's current status quo, but Ditko's art is a treat, with a creepy, uneven Spider-Man and some pretty killer storytelling. It's old, sure, but these comics are deservedly classic.

3. Name: Criminal: The Last of The Innocent #1

Creative Team: Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (art), Val Staples (colors)

Platform: Graphicly (iOS, Desktop, Android)

Price: $1.99 ($1.49 on the desktop app)

Format: #1-4 (full review of #1 here

Why: The odds are good that you probably didn't get a chance to pick up Last of the Innocent when it hit stands in comic shops. Here's some good news: You have a chance to make good and pick up a pretty good comic at a low price. LotI digs deep into how nostalgia and absolutely terrible decision-making can send one man's life all the way off the rails, but it also revolves around loss, grief, and what happens when relationships turn cold. If you've ever returned home after a long time away, or looked at someone and realized that you used to love them, then there's something here for you. The best crime stories have a very human heart beating at the center of them, and Brubaker and Phillips outdid themselves with this one.

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. For an as-yet unstated time period, 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. For a limited time, Dark Horse is offering seventeen issues of Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo's Hellboy for twenty dollars. This is a steal, and this collection sets you up perfectly for Hellboy: The Fury, the big apocalyptic finale to the past few years of Hellboy stories.

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, 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])

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)

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.