Category Archives: Technology

#BatgirlChat with Eisner Award-Nominated Babs Tarr Today at 4pm ET

batgirl041Are You Ready for the New Awesome? Batgirl Vol. 1: Batgirl of Burnside and Batgirl #41 are on shelves now!

Use the hashtag #BatgirlChat today, June 26, from 1-2pm PT/4-5pm ET to send your Batgirl questions to the Eisner Award-nominated Babs Tarr! Follow @DCComics for your answers!

Want to know more about Batgirl’s move from Gotham to Burnside, or hear the inside scoop about what’s to coming up for Barbara Gordon? Here’s your chance to join Babs Tarr for a Twitter Q&A!

It’s all going down today on Friday, June 26th from 1-2pm PT/4-5pm ET! How many questions can Babs answer in an hour?! Head to DC Comics on Twitter and get started!

And don’t forget: #BatgirlChat

 

 

 

 

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Valiant Announces #ValiantSummit

valiant summitValiant Entertainment and Twitter have announced the first-of-its-kind #ValiantSummit – an exclusive panel presentation streaming live from Twitter headquarters in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday, June 30th at 3 pm EDT/12 noon PDT. Join writer Robert Venditti, writer Jen Van Meter, Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani, Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons, and Director of Marketing, Communications & Digital Media Hunter Gorinson for an hour of news, announcements, and live Q&A, streaming exclusively on the Periscope app at @ValiantComics.

New to Valiant comics? Then start here with a round of Valiant 101 as the #ValiantSummit panel presents a comprehensive introduction to Valiant’s groundbreaking superhero universe and the origins of its greatest heroes, including X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Ninjak, Divinity, and more. Then, the first official #ValiantSummit continues with revelations about the publisher’s upcoming Book of Death summer event series by writer Robert Venditti and artists Robert Gill and Doug Braithwaite; exclusive first word on upcoming series and special events coming in late 2015 and beyond; and questions and answers, live from fans around the world submitted via Twitter.

Periscope is a live video streaming app for iOS and Android. Simply download the Periscope app, create a new user log-in or use your Twitter log-in credentials, and visit @ValiantComics to watch the #ValiantSummit panel presentation live from San Francisco.

Valiant is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015 and bringing out all the stops with fun announcements, and innovative marketing initiatives like this one. It’s great to see the company embracing technology like this and using it to get the word out and create some excitement.

ComiXology Announces Dark Horse and Version 3.7!

comixology HellboyComiXology continues to roll towards San Diego Comic-Con with two more announcements today following their announced exclusive deal with Marvel that applies to them and Amazon.

First, the digital comics platform announced an agreement with Dark Horse Comics to bring the company’s full digital catalog of collections, graphic novels, and manga to comiXology’s platform! Now, all Dark Horse Comics collections, graphic novels, and manga will be available on comiXology the same day the print versions arrive in bookstores.

The Dark Horse was the last major American publisher not on the digital platform. This agreement tears down the walled off environment people had been forced in to if they were interested in Dark Horse. Now individuals have a choice as to where they’d like to purchase their comics digitally, and achieve that in one app if they choose. A win for readers and customers.

More than 800 titles launch today on comiXology from Dark Horse, including 300, Astro Boy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Blacksad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fear Agent, Frank Miller’s Sin City, Hellboy, MIND MGMT, Serenity, Usagi Yojimbo, The Strain, Grendel, Umbrella Academy, Halo, Lone Wolf and Cub, and so much more.

On top of this deal, comiXology also announced the latest update to their apps. In their press release, the company said when they asked users what features they wanted, the ability to better manage their books was on top of the list. Version 3.7 of the app includes this functionality in new an interesting ways.

Long Press iOS OptionsHere’s the bullet points from the press release:

  • Smart Lists view allows for a quick and easy way to track what you’re reading with the In Progress and Unread lists, the ability to see what you’ve bought with the Recently Purchased list, and even a way to easily maintain your Wish List. You can also get custom recommendations to help you discover new titles and series with the Recommended for You list.
  • New Recommended for You list gives you personalized recommendations based on books you’ve purchased in the past.
  • Long press on any title in the Recommended for You section to Add to Wish List. Android app users can also long press to Add to Cart.
  • Use the new All/On Device filter to toggle between seeing all books you own and just the books you’ve downloaded to your device.
  • Long press on any of your books in Smart Lists and My Books grid view to mark as read, unread, archive or remove from device.
  • New robust sorting options and filters in My Books allow you to view your library sorted by Series, Purchase Date, and Title.
  • Toggle between three views in My Books: grid view, list view and the all-new cover view which lets you browse your library one full-screen cover at a time.
  • Cover view lets you see your entire collection cover by cover when browsing your library
  • Enlarged covers allow you to enjoy the artwork even more.

This is a function I know I struggle with in my reader, so glad to see comiXology tackle this. Responding to their customer’s wants is great to see, and solid customer service.

Breaking: Marvel, comiXology, and Amazon Expand Exclusive Deal

comixology small imageRumors have swirled about the future of various publishers and their relationship with comiXology and new parent company Amazon for quite some time, with lots of unfounded speculation and prognostication. It was announced today that Marvel, comiXology, and Amazon have not only renewed their exclusive relationship, but also expanded it. Not only will comiXology still be the exclusive partner to sell Marvel’s single issue digital comics, but that deal has expanded to the Amazon Kindle for the first time. Single issues of Marvel’s comics will now be sold for that platform day and date, something that’s only been available on comiXology digitally, and brick and mortar stores for physical copies.

comixology marvelSince Amazon purchased comiXology in 2014, many have wondered the impact that would have on the digital comic market. We are seeing some of the positives of such a partnership in this expansion that now makes single issues of Marvel comics to the estimated 30 million Kindle tablet owners, a potential boom in the digital comic marketplace. Kindle users will now be able to purchase Marvel’s single comics without seeking out another app.

Under this deal, over 12,000 single Marvel issues will become available and go on sale for the Amazon Kindle on June 18, 2015 around the world.

What this means for deals Marvel has with others is still unknown. Scribd, for instance, focused on their launch of some Marvel comics when their comics offering was announced, though that was just trades. It is unknown how long this exclusive deal is for, but it will be much more difficult for anyone to challenge comiXology with Marvel off the table. It will also likely influence other publisher’s decisions as their contracts become up for renewal. This is a pretty big deal that currently gives Marvel an edge when it comes to the digital comic market place.

Going in to San Diego Comic-Con, comiXology has announced they’ll be releasing digital and print variants. It’ll be interesting to see what else they might have up their sleeves, since this is the time of year for big announcements. We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.

(via Fast Company)

ComicBlitz, the latest digital app, launches at HeroesCon

ComicBlitzA new digital app for comics is launching this coming weekend at HeroesCon. ComicBlitz will be entering its open Beta on a first come first serve sign-up process, which folks can sign up for at the convention. They’ll be located at booth #919.

The beta will be open to the first 300 people to sign up, but what platform it’s form has not been announced. While an official launch date is still pending, the official launch will “follow very shortly.”

ComicBlitz will initially launch with comics from Valiant and Dynamite and follows a Netflix like all you can consume model for $9.99 a month.

It’s been a long time coming as the app first begin to peak its head out in 2014, and an initial beta sign up was launched through their website.

ComicBlitz Header

 

Disclosure: I consulted on the project for a time, though did not receive compensation to do so and am no longer affiliated.

DC Thomson debuts on comiXology

ComiXology and international media company DC Thomson have announced the launch of iconic comic strips from The Beano and also the compact graphic novels from action/adventure series Commando among others across comiXology’s entire platform.

The range of DC Thomson titles available include: The Beano presents Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, archive and current Commando compact graphic novels and retro classics including The Best of Beezer and The Best of Bunty.

Only comiXology gives comics fans a truly unique and immersive reading experience with its cinematic panel-to-panel Guided View reading technology and with comiXology’s cloud-based platform, downloading and syncing comics, graphic novels and manga across your favorite digital devices is easier than ever before.

With over 50,000 comics, graphic novels and manga from more than 75 publishers, comiXology offers the widest selection of digital comics in the world. ComiXology’s immense catalog and cinematic Guided View reading experience make it the best digital platform for comic and graphic novel fans worldwide. Find your favorite comics and graphic novels at comixology.com and try the comiXology app available on all major mobile platforms.

DC Thomson

IDW Launches All-New Comic Apps

IDW AppsIDW Publishing launched its next-generation of comic apps for Apple iOS today, June 4th. These new apps were produced in partnership with Madefire. The new apps feature the entire IDW line of over 3,500 comics and graphic novels with a bold new storefront that makes it easier to find your favorite comics, in-app purchases so you never have to leave the app to get your books, and stunning motion books featuring Transformers, My Little Pony, and Star Trek.

The complete line of IDW apps includes the premier IDW Comics app, which features the full IDW digital library, as well as the individual apps for some of IDW’s premier brands – Transformers Comics, Star Trek Comics, and TMNT Comics.

To celebrate this launch, IDW is offering users that create a NEW app account 15 FREE premium collected editions, which totals over 80 issues, plus dozens of motion books. But hurry, this offer is good through July 12th!

The launch is initially for iOS, but Android and Windows 8 apps will be follow soon. There are also plans to bring their comics to television screens and game consoles.

Existing users will get the new apps as automatic updates. IDW has taken care to make sure customers keep control of their comic libraries. Users that have purchased comics in any of the previous IDW apps, as well as Madefire and comiXology, can sync their comic collections in the NEW apps with just a few quick steps. For more information on how to sync your previous purchases, you can find it in a FAQ.

idw_comixologyOf particular interest is that ability to port over comics purchased from other apps. It works by making sure you use the same email address in previous IDW apps as well as comiXology at which point previous purchases will sink.

I believe this is the first time comic purchasing history has been synced between different platforms, beyond the ability to export a pdf or cbz file and uploading it in different apps. In December 2011 the IDW Comics app was switched over and powered by comiXology with the last update occurring in October 2014. Previous to comiXology’s involvement, IDW was creating a new “app” for each comic issue or specific apps for brands like 30 Days of Night. That behavior dates back to 2009. This update changes development of the app to Madefire, and adds the possibility for comics featuring motion and sound. which is what Madefire is known for.

Sequential app gives away massive Furry Freak Brothers collection to celebrate Gilbert Shelton’s 75th birthday

Freak Brothers Guide - coverGilbert Shelton, creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, a series of satirical counterculture comics that have been published in 15 languages and racked up worldwide sales of over 40 million copies, turns 75 on May 31, 2015.

To celebrate the birthday of one of the most influential comic artists of the past 40 years, Sequential, the digital graphic novel app for iPad, has partnered with Freak Brothers UK publisher, Knockabout Comics, to release The Sequential Guide to Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. The digital collection, which is almost 100 pages long, is available to download free, exclusively on the Sequential iPad app, until the end of June 2015.

Containing the complete Underground Classics #1, the visual history of the Freak Brothers as written by Gilbert Shelton and a plethora of rare comic strips, illustrations and photographs, this massive free collection is the perfect way to reflect on the achievements of the great American comix pioneer.

Along with Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton is considered to be one of the founders of the underground comix culture of the late 1960s and early 1960s, epitomised in the anti-establishment slapstick and satire of the Freak Brothers.

Shelton was drafted for the Vietnam War in 1964 but declared medically unfit after admitting to taking LSD. 1969 saw the first appearance of Freak Brothers spin-off comic strip, Fat Freddy’s Cat, in the same year that Shelton founded Rip-Off Press. In 1978 he created the cover art for The Grateful Dead’s Shakedown Street and Shelton was inducted into the prestigious Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2012.

The Sequential Guide to Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers is downloadable for free from the Sequential iPad app, which is available for free on iTunes here.

Freak Brothers Guide - plate

 

Smith Micro Streamlines Animation Production for Studios and Professionals with New Anime Studio 11

anime-studio-pro-11-boxshotThe productivity and graphics group of Smith Micro Software, Inc. has announced the latest version of its Telly Award-winning Anime Studio software, designed to streamline production for studios and professional artists who create complex animations. The new Frame-by-Frame feature of Anime Studio 11 lets artists switch between traditional animation techniques and more automated bone-rigging techniques, making it faster and easier to achieve different effects without switching tools. New and enhanced drawing and painting features provide a natural feel and raster-like characteristics with life-like results.

With Anime Studio 11, you’re able to combine the best of rigging and frame-by-frame work, allowing two different animation worlds to finally touch each other with great results. Working in teams is easier and more powerful than ever before. Plus, artists can now create powerful rigs and effects that were extremely difficult or impossible with other tools.

Key Features of Anime Studio 11

  • Frame-by-Frame allows artists to immediately switch between bone-rigging and a frame-by-frame workspace for authentic, precise and life-like animation results.
  • Layer Referencing propagates changes from one design layer to all related layers, even across multiple documents, improving accuracy and saving significant time for team-based productions.
  • Animated Shape Ordering extends the ability to quickly and easily rearrange shapes anywhere within an animation timeline rather than adjusting each full frame independently.
  • Enhanced Tools and Brushes Freehand drawing is now simpler and more realistic with new automated Merge Strokes, a Smoothing option for round, smooth shapes, and a more efficient Blob Brush for simple shapes. The new Color Points tools lets artists blend colors together in new ways, while Merged Alpha and Drift Angle brushes offer a more natural and pleasing look and feel.
  • JSON File Format support for Java Script Object Notation (JSON) file format provides faster file processing and more flexible asset tagging within files, making it easier to exchange and manage related assets across workgroups. Backward compatibility with older versions of Anime Studio is retained, as well as compatibility with MotionArtist file formats.

A full list of features and enhancements is available online.

Anime Studio Pro 11 is available for $299.99 and Anime Studio Debut 11 for novice artists is $49.99.

What Does Facebook Tell Us about Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max?

pitch-perfect-2-pp2_rgbThis past weekend at the box-office was a triumph for women, and a blow to misogyny. Pitch Perfect 2 ruled the weekend earning $70.3 million domestically while Mad Max: Fury Road earned $44.44 million. The two films helped make it a record breaking weekend, but also had two films that had kick-ass women in it.

Pitch Perfect 2 was especially impressive earning about 5.5x the original film’s opening weekend. But should that have been a surprise? The original film found a huge audience after its initial theatrical run.

About 72% of the audience for Pitch Perfect 2 was female, and 57% was younger than 25. Mad Max: Fury Road was 60% male and 64% older than 25. While 51% of the population is female, 52% of moviegoers are women according to the MPAA.

Facebook shows us these general trends, the Pitch Perfect series has many more female fans while Mad Max skews more male. Both performed better than their stats though in their “opposite” gender of the majority of fans. More men attending Pitch Perfect 2, and more women attended Mad Max. That could account for their dual solid openings, as each gender brought the other to the cinema. Each fan page also does better in their weaker gender than previous films in the series.

No matter the why, each film shows that women shouldn’t be discounted when it comes to the cinema.

Pitch Perfect 2 Mad Max Stats

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