What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more — but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed.
ComicsAlliance has got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
Stela is a new smartphone app that offers original, exclusive comics optimized for the phone-reading experience. Chapters release every week, and you can read them all for a flat subscription fee of $5 a month. Reading the comics in Stela is smooth and intuitive. Each chapter is read via a downward scroll, and it totally works. Stela moves beyond Comixology's Guided View technology to offer comics that were born to be read on phones, and the result is extremely effective and, at its best, beautiful. However, there are some things about the app that I don't love.
All I want is to look at a simple list or menu of the titles available, but Stela doesn't want to give me that, just a sliding visual menu along the bottom of the screen. Also when I was reading a comic, I wanted to be reminded of the title, and there seems to be no way to bring that up without exiting the reading experience. But let's take a look at opening wave of comics available so far to help give you a sense of what Stela has to offer.
There aren't a whole lot of things I love seeing in comics more than a good high concept, and Paul Tobin, Alberto Albuquerque and Marissa Louise's Mystery Girl has one of the best premises I've seen in a long time. The basic idea is more than just a girl who solves mysteries; this is a girl who has already solved every mystery the second she hears about it, for reasons she doesn't even understand herself. That's the kind of hook that grabs your attention and refuses to let go.
But it's also the kind of hook that sets up a lot of expectations. It's such a simple, adaptable idea that there are a million places to go with it, and if Tobin, Albuquerque and Louise didn't stick the landing on the finished product, then the disappointment that they had such a great premise and did't do something amazing with it would've been every bit as intense as the excitement of hearing that idea to begin with. Fortunately, that's not a problem --- unsurprisingly, they've put out a first issue that's every bit as good as you want it to be.
There had certainly been plenty of heavily-merchandised blockbusters before, but the Batman '89 phenomenon affected pop culture in so many ways and crept into every dimension of commercial entertainment. Twenty-five years ago, it was just always there; part of the atmosphere of the era, reflected wherever you turned. From candy-filled Keaton heads in supermarket checkout aisles, to endless souvenir magazines on newsstands, to articles in newspapers and magazines, to the packs of trading cards and stickers on countertops, to Batmobile toys in Happy Meals, the entire world had gone Batty.
Twenty-five years later, we've reached out to some of our favorite creators and entertainers to look back on the summer of Batman.
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