Following test runs with its Batman Beyond Unlimited, Superman Beyond, Justice League Beyond and Batman: Arkham Unhinged titles, DC Comics has emboldened its digital-first distribution initiative to sell original content five days a week via its Web store and mobile apps. Today sees the digital-first release of the weekly Smallville Season 11 by Bryan Q. Miller and Pere Perez, and will be joined next month by Ame-Comi Girls, a weekly written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with art by Amanda Conner and others, and in June by a new Batman weekly featuring a rotating cast of creators including Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and Essex County and Sweet Tooth cartoonist Jeff Lemire. Together, these projects constitute a new digital-first comic released every weekday, presumably with print editions to follow later.Launching next month and set to release every Monday, Ame-Comi Girls is based on DC Direct's DC Collectibles' line of popular figures that re-imagines female heroes and villains in an anime-influenced style as designed by the artists of UDON Entertainment. The digital series is to be written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray (All-Star Western, Power Girl) and feature different artists for each character: Wonder Woman from Amanda Conner and Tony Akins, Batgirl from Sanford Greene, Duela Dent from Ted Naifeh, and Power Girl from Mike Bowden. There's also Supergirl from Santi Casas, whose Ame-Comi-inspired rendition of the Girl of Steel was spotlighted in one of our Best Art Ever (This Week) features almost a year ago. It's presently unknown whether Casas had the gig all the way back then, but his would seem to be the only approach that is true to the aesthetics of the Ame-Comi product line (which should not be confused with the Kotobukiya statues).

Launching in June and set to release every Thursday, the Batman digital-first series will not take place in any specific continuity, and feature short stories by a variety of creators -- kind of a color, digital version of the great Batman: Black & White format of the 1990s. Besides Lindelof and Lemire, the creative teams announced so far are: Jonathan Larsen and JG Jones; Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott; Ales Kot and Ryan Sook; B. Clay Moore and Ben Templesmith; Steve Niles and Trevor Hairsine; Joe Harris and Jason Masters; TJ Fixman and Christopher Mitten; Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman; Joshua Hale Fialkov and Phil Hester; David Tischman and Chris Sprouse. According to DC's The Source, more creative team announcements are on the way.

Speaking with USA Today, DC's Senior VP - Digital Hank Kanalz said the digital-first initiative is specifically designed for new readers.

"Our goal has always been from the very beginning to have something for everyone. The opportunities that digital opens up, it really allows us to go for as wide an audience as possible," says Hank Kanalz, DC's senior vice president for digital.

"The Lindelof thing will really appeal to tons of fans who don't read regular comics, obviously. Hopefully when they come, they'll see what an amazing medium this is and stay."

He added:

"Digital isn't instant. It takes a while to get all this stuff together," he adds. "The choices that we've made are meant to appeal to a wider audience. It's a great way to test what a wider audience is interested in.

"Some of these things may not work as well as we think they will. Some of them will outperform. It's just a matter of finding what strikes a chord with new readers."

DC Comics' digital-first schedule breaks down thusly:

Monday: Ame-Comi Girls (beginning in May)

Tuesday: Batman: Arkham Unhinged (in progress)

Wednesday: One of the alternating 'Beyond' titles: Batman Beyond Unlimited, Superman

and Justice League Beyond (in progress)

Thursday: Batman (launching in June)

Friday: Smallville Season 11 (in progress)

All the DC digital products are available for sale via comiXology and the DC Comics mobile apps.

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