Digital comics app Comixology pulled off a major surprise this week with the launch of Comixology Unlimited, a monthly subscription service that's hoping to be the Netflix of comics, the Spotify of sequential art, the Marvel Unlimited of books not published by Marvel.
The Twitter reaction since the launch suggests the news wasn't just a surprise to readers, but to many of the creators involved too. ComicsAlliance spoke to Comixology CEO David Steinberger about the rollout, what is and isn't available on the service, and what the future might hold for Comixology Unlimited.
Last week there was a rumor going around that DC might pull the plug on its new 'DCYou' initiative before it had even had a chance to take root. DCYou aims to provide more diversity in content, characters, and creators, in an effort to reach new readers in a shifting market. The initiative stands in sharp contrast with the homogeneity of DC's last major relaunch, the traditional and conservative New 52, targeted squarely at long-time readers.
Of course, the New 52 performed very well for the publisher, and in some months it even pushed DC ahead of industry leader Marvel. The relaunch never achieved its major objective of permanently toppling Marvel, but it did provide strong numbers in direct market comic store sales. Compare those numbers to the sales for DCYou, and one can see a clear argument for going back to the old model. But that argument is grounded in a narrow understanding of the industry.
When it was announced last month that Heavy Metal magazine had signed Grant Morrison to serve as their new editor-in-chief, it seemed to be the exact real-world approximation of that comic cliche: a team-up that nobody anticipated, but that makes perfect sense when considered from the right angle.
Heavy Metal is a title that, in its '70s/'80s heyday, redefined the limits of comic book form and content, much as Morrison has eschewed conventional stylistic and genre constraints throughout his career. Today, the magazine's name is shorthand for a specific style of exploitative genre fiction --- usually involving some combination of sci-fi, sword & sorcery, swearing, and sex --- but owners Jeff Krelitz and David Boxenbaum have been vocal about their hopes to expand the Heavy Metal brand and reignite the revolutionary spirit that it originally embodied.
ComicsAlliance sat down with Morrison at this summer's San Diego Comic-Con to talk about his personal history with Heavy Metal, ask some questions about his plans, and get a glimpse into the approach he's bringing to his new role at the magazine.
The fact that Fantastic Four had a disastrous shoot followed by laborious reshoots may be the worst kept Hollywood secret of all time. Even if director Josh Trank hadn’t publicly displayed his dissatisfaction with the finished movie, just about anyone who sat through this mess could tell something was wrong just from the finished product. They’d know if from the inconsistent pacing, the main characters who contribute nothing to the movie, and a climax that feels like it was cobbled together by a completely different creative team. Hell, they’d know it from Kate Mara’s terrible reshoot wig, which sticks out like, well, a bad wig.
Here’s the thing about this Fantastic Four movie: it was supposed to be horrible. This movie has been riding an almost unprecedented level of bad buzz since earlier this year. Strangely, it seems to have started over literally nothing. Fans were upset they hadn’t seen anything official from the movie and began to suspect it stunk. Then, depending on who you talk to, the director was fired, the actors were upset and the script was a mess. But, the days of speculation are over and none of that bad buzz matters any more; there’s an actual film that can be judged on its own merits. Sadly, Fantastic Four, on its own merits, is still horrible.
The mythological demigod Hercules is bisexual. How you feel about that fact doesn't change the fact; the myths of antiquity have told us that Hercules loved women and men alike. Lustfulness is at the core of his character, and Hercules' appetites aren't limited by gender.
Like many ancient myths, and like much of history, Hercules' stories have been bowdlerized by those who think same-sex relationships are sinful. Audiences introduced to the character through the Disney cartoon, the Kevin Sorbo TV show, the Dwayne Johnson movie, or the Marvel comics have good reason to think the character is heterosexual, because that's all they've ever seen. But that doesn't make it true. Hercules is bisexual. To deny that fact is to participate in the erasure of same-sex relationships on the grounds of a narrow and prescriptive morality.
Darth Vader — the most dangerous man in the galaxy — crashes on an alien planet and the entirety of the Rebel forces will stop at nothing to take him out. That's the pitch for "Vader Down," the new story coming this fall to both the Darth Vader and Star Wars comic series from Marvel. Announced during Saturday's Cup O' Joe panel from Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada, the six-part crossover kicks off in its own giant-sized #1 issue and then continues across the two titles, with art from Mike Deodato and Salvador Larroca and covers by Mark Brooks.
ComicsAlliance chatted with 'Vader Down' writers Kieron Gillen and Jason Aaron about what makes Vader tick; the promise of sweet, sweet droid fights; and the mechanics of lining up the crossover the galaxy has been waiting for.
It feels like just a few short months ago that Marvel's series Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson launched to near-universal acclaim and widespread popularity. That's because it was just a few months ago. It launched in January.
But hey, guess what? As revealed on Sunday at the Women of Marvel panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the series is starting anew in October! But don't worry; it'll look much the same as it did. The creative team will still be there, editor Wil Moss will still be steering the ship, and all your favorite characters will stick around!
So what's changing, besides Squirrel Girl now being a card-carrying member of the Avengers? We talked to North, Henderson and Moss to get to the bottom of this relaunch, to ask about some of her future enemies, and to find out how similar Squirrel Girl is to the greatest work of our time, Saved by the Bell.
Tokyopop is back. The manga publisher, known for its rapid rise and subsequent implosion in the early 2000s, announced a new push toward active business at Anime Expo on July 2. Tokyopop founder Stu Levy (also known as DJ Milky) led a panel that unveiled an ad-supported comics app called Pop Comics and unspecified plans to return to manga publishing in 2016.
The response from creators who have been published by Tokyopop was… let’s call it “less than enthusiastic”:
Yesterday, DC Comics announced a new marketing initiative that it has titled "DCYou," aimed at celebrating "Fan-Favorite Characters, Top-Notch Talent, Diverse Stories and DC Fans," according to the press release.
This being DC, there are some notable missteps in this initial launch that don't bode well for the campaign as a whole. The biggest problem seems to be a corporate appropriation of messages that the publisher thinks readers want to hear, which lack something when run through the filter of corporate language. The hope is that this signals good intentions, but recent creator numbers at DC don't back that up.
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