Coinciding with today's release of The Manhattan Projects #1, Jonathan Hickman, Image Comics and digital comics retailer comiXology announced that the popular writer's back catalogue of creator-owned work is now available for the first time in the digital space, and in a highly competitive format. Test Pattern is a five-volume digital omnibus comprising Hickman's The Nightly News, Pax Romana, Transhuman (with J.M. Ringuet), A Red Mass for Mars (with Ryan Bodenheim) and The Red Wing (with Nick Pitarra), all of which are packaged as a single file purchasable for $34.99.

More on this, plus a preview of The Manhattan Projects #1, after the cut.

"As an innovator in the world of digital comics, comiXology is the logical place to release the entire back catalog of my creator-owned work along with my latest work, The Manhattan Projects," said Hickman in a press release. "Digital is here to stay, and I look forward to finding a whole new audience with these projects and with comiXology."

A complete paperback collection of the stories collected in Test Pattern would retail for around $75, making the $35 bundle one of the most aggressive digital strategies I can remember. Collecting five graphic novels in this way casts a very unflattering light on the periodical-based, close-to-print-price formats of most digital comics products, even those available from indie comics publishers. Making the purchase even more inviting is the Test Pattern sampler, a free download that contains the first chapters of each of the five stories.

Hickman's announcement is well-timed, with Apple confirming today the coming of a new higher resolution iPad, a device whose iOS platform has been a popular market for comiXology.

Click here for some short primers on the Jonathan Hickman creator-owned catalogue, and click here for more on The Manhattan Projects. Issue #1 is on sale now from comiXology and in finer comic book stores.

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