Category Archives: Technology

comiXology says “We’re Hiring” at Emerald City Comicon

comixology tshirtComiXology is heading to Emerald City Comicon with panels giveaways and a party where they’ll mix and mingle with motivated comics fans eager to learn about how to join the comiXology team! The Seattle based show runs from Friday, March 27th to Sunday, March 29th at the Washington State Convention Center.

With nearly 30 open positions in New York City and Seattle, comiXology is utilizing Emerald City Comicon as an opportunity to get the word out on their expansion. On Saturday night, comiXology will be hosting a party, open to the public with free drinks while supplies last and limited edition t-shirts available first come first serve. There attendees will be able to talk directly to comiXology’s CEO and co-founder David Steinberger, CTO Jeff DiBartolomeo, and other comiXologists who will be available to discuss positions at comiXology.

During ECCC, comiXology will be hosting a number of panels for comic fans and job seekers alike. On Friday, join comiXology and other great panelists at the Comics: Where to Begin? panel for personal recommendations to help you find comics you’ll love. For creators and cartoonists interested in digital self-publishing, the ComiXology Submit: The Future of Self-Publishing is a don’t-miss panel. Capping off the weekend on Sunday is the Hire Me! Panel, focused on pursuing jobs in the comics industry as a whole – not just comiXology.

At each panel, comiXology will be passing out limited edition t-shirts, free comics, and Kindle Fire tablets to lucky attendees of the panels.

Here’s a list of all the comiXology events at Emerald City Comicon this weekend:

Party:

ComiXology Hire Me Party
Ninkasi Beer Garden
Washington State Convention Center 1st Floor
(Under the Escalators)
Date: Saturday, March 28th
Time: 8:00PM – 11:30PM

Panels:

Comics: Where to Begin?
Room: Hall G (TCC 305)
Date: Friday, March 27th
Time: 2:10PM – 3:00PM

Join comiXology‘s co-founder and CEO David Steinberger and Hank Kanalz (SVP Editorial Strategy & Administration at DC Entertainment), Allison Baker (IDW, Monkeybrain Comics), Chris Roberson (Monkeybrain Comics) and Shannon Watters (Lumberjanes co-creator, BOOM! Box Editor) as they personally recommend comics, graphic novels and manga that are just right for you! Moderated by comiXology‘s marketing maven Chip Mosher.

ComiXology Submit: The Future of Self-Publishing
Room: Hall E (TCC 303)
Date: Saturday, March 28th
Time: 2:50PM – 3:40PM

Join John D. Roberts (Director of comiXology Submit) along with breakout Submit creators Erika Moen (Oh Joy, Sex Toy), Janelle Asselin (Publisher, Rosy Press), Jody Houser (Cupcake POW!), Fabian Rangel Jr. (Doc Unknown), and Hope Nicholson (Publisher of Nelvana of the Northern Lights), for a tell-all discussion and how you too can publish through comiXology Submit, comiXology’s digital self-publishing platform.

Hire Me! From Comics Fan to Comics Professional
Room: Hall D (TCC 302)
Date: Sunday, March, 29th
Time: 12:30PM – 1:20PM

Join David Steinberger (comiXology co-founder and CEO) and Hank Kanalz (SVP Editorial Strategy & Administration at DC Entertainment), Michael Marts (Executive Editor at Marvel Comics), Jacq Cohen (Fantagraphics Books, Inc. Director of Publicity & Promotions), Jen Vaughn (Fantagraphics Books Marketing and Outreach Manager), and Christine Dinh (BOOM! Studios Brand Communications Manager) as they impart the knowledge you need to get your foot in the door in the comic book industry.

We Talk with Min Kim about the Digital Comics Coalition and the future of Digital Comics

digital comics coalitionSeemingly launched out of nowhere in mid-February, the Digital Comics Coalition is the brainchild of Min Kim, the founder of Taptastic. Other members include Mark Waid (Thrillbent), Josh Wilkie (Madefire), Felix Kiner (ComicsFix) and Doug Lefler (Scrollon). The group of comics creators, programmers, businessmen and filmmakers joins together regularly to share ideas on the innovations happening today in digital publishing. But, other than their panel at Meltdown Comics, not much is known about the organization, its purpose, direction etc.

We got a chance to talk to Min Kim about the DCC, and find out more about many of the questions we’ve been waiting to find out the answers to.

Graphic Policy: How did the Digital Comics Coalition come about?

Min Kim: I’ve been living and working in San Francisco Bay Area for about 10 years witnessing all sort of technology innovations in the media and entertainment space. We now stream endless music to our phones. We video-chat with family and friends from anywhere in the world. We consume so much content on mobile including news and books. So, when I walked into San Diego Comic-Con in 2014, I was shocked by how technology, particularly digital comics, was heavily underrepresented. I met Doug Lefler (Scrollon) and Josh Wilkie (Madefire) at the convention and we all just naturally connected because we shared the same frustration. We continued to talk after the convention, and then more of our friends, Mark Waid (Thrillbent) and Felix Kiner (Comicsfix), joined in on the conversation.

GP: What are the goals of the organization?

MK: The coalition is still very new. We’re still in the process of finalizing our manifesto and bylaws. However, the general purpose is to facilitate comic industry’s transition from print to digital. We know that there are other important matters to keep in mind such as content diversity, racial diversity, and gender equality. Mark, Doug, and Josh are all creators themselves. Indie comic creators are an important part of all our companies and the industry. So, we want to make sure that everything we do prioritizes comic creators. Sorry that I cannot provide bullet point answers at this time.

GP: Is the organization going to be formalized as a non-profit or a trade organization?

MK: It’s currently an agreement between the members. We are discussing how we want this group to evolve. If we feel that the group needs to officially register in the future, we will do so.

GP: Are there current coalitions or organizations that the coalition is looking towards as inspiration?

MK: As a group, no specific ones. Personally, I admire organized groups that have been recently fighting for net neutrality. There are also many that are promoting or fighting for advancement of good ideas. Digital comics is a very good idea and very good for the industry and the creators.

GP: There’s a lot of issues facing digital services like broadband expansion, EULA standardization, CISPA, and more. Will the organization get involved in the policy end of things?

MK: We currently do not have plans in place for those issues. Perhaps in the future.

GP: How has the digital landscape shifted since you became involved?

MK: DCC was organized in 2015, and we’ve only done one event at Meltdown, which you can view on Youtube. We’re happy about the turnout and the fact that various organizations like Graphic Policy and creators are contacting us. We’re hoping an accumulation of events will eventually lead to a positive shift in the industry.

GP: One of the major issues I see with digital services is the walled environments, and lack of standardization of formats for the digital goods. Will the coalition work at all together to standardize the digital comic format and make it easier to port comics if a service were to shut down?

MK: This is a tough question because standardization can impede innovation, yet there are also benefits like transferability that you mentioned. Usually free competition determines standards in any industry and the same goes for digital comics. The coalition is a good starting point to discuss how we can work together to minimize bad consumer experience by lowering some of those walls that you mentioned. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that some consumers will feel like losing out when a service shuts down. This reminds me of my HD-DVD that I once purchased that is useless today.

In addition, there is some psychology at play here because the society has hardwired us to think that there’s more value in something physical than digital. For example, consumers associate all the tangible costs such as paper, ink, and delivery into pricing of a book. Although digital books don’t have those tangible costs, there are inherent values such as the ability to instantly download, mobility, and storage that consumer do not think about. Furthermore, purchasing digital comics goes beyond just purchasing a book like we are used to. Digital comics today offer a unique experience that was never available. This unique experience varies based on platforms, but comics today can now support background music, animation, and engagement with other readers. So, we’ve come a long way from purchasing static content. So when something goes away because nothing in life really lasts forever (I’m sure most of your comic books are stashed away in the garage like mine), we should try to stay positive. I hope more people view buying a digital comic as buying a ticket to a movie or a Broadway show.

GP: There’s this founding group for the Digital Comics Coalition, but numerous services that aren’t involved. Will more be joining?

MK: Oh yes, definitely! We already have a few requests and we are in talks. We’ll make an announcement when appropriate.

GP: We’ve already seen one service have a data breach, will the coalition work together to better protect data of the customers?

MK: Security breech happens all the time across all industries. It is very unfortunate that it happened to Comixology, but it’s also a great opportunity for others to learn from such events. So although we did not have a specific discussion around this issue, I can see members of the coalition sharing experiences and resources to protect the consumers.

GP: What do you see as the biggest hurdle for digital comics? What do you see as the biggest advantage for digital comics?

MK: I’ll answer the second question first. I’d say the biggest advantages are accessibility for readers and creative freedom for creators. Accessibility is obvious where anyone with PC or mobile device can instantly read millions of visual stories. In addition, technology has lower the barrier to entry for creators. Anyone can publish and share his or her comics online. Anyone has a chance to display his or talent to the world, so digital has democratized storytelling. As for creative freedom, I think exploring some of the creators’ work on any of our digital comics platforms speaks for itself. In the past, creators were restricted to panels and pages. They had to because economic costs were also factored in – paper quality and ink used for production and printing. Technology has provided more creative freedom. Technology allows unlimited ways for a creators to tell stories. Creators can now add music, transitions, and other animated effects. So many people are doing very cool things out there.

The biggest hurdle? There are so many. Right now, it’s the distribution. How can more people know that these new experiences exist? How can more people learn that digital comics is not just pages scanned for digital viewing? So many people still think of superheroes when they think of comics. No, there is so much that digital comics offers beyond that.

SelfMadeHero Goes BitTorrent , Sells Ricky Rouse Has a Gun Through BitTorrent Bundle

Ricky Rouse has a Gun CoverSelfMadeHero is the first book publisher to sell an ebook through BitTorrent BundleRicky Rouse Has A Gun, a graphic novel by Jörg Tittel and John Aggs, will be released through BitTorrent Bundle’s new Paygate Premium Content Bundle scheme, which was trialled last September with the release of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s new album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Yorke’s Bundle has been downloaded 4.5M times. The DRM-free ebook is now available in PDF, CBR and CBZ formats, priced $5

This pioneering digital release follows the creation of a promotional Ricky Rouse Has A Gun BitTorrent Bundle in April 2014. The first BitTorrent Bundle to be created by a book publisher, it enabled readers to download the first 33 pages from the graphic novel in DRM-free format and also premiered a music video featuring an original track from UNKLE’s James Lavelle. To date, the Ricky Rouse Has A Gun (preview) BitTorrent Bundle has been downloaded over 245,000 times.

You can read our review of the graphic novel here. We applaud a publisher not running from BitTorrent and instead embracing new avenues for distribution. Congrats everyone!

Supergirls Invade White House Science Fair

Monday was the 2015 White House Science Fair, which featured more than 100 students showing off their projects. One group stood out to me, and that was a Daisy Scouts troop from Tulsa. Their project was a battery-powered page turner made from LEGOs for people with disabilities that have trouble doing so while reading.

It wasn’t the idea that stood out to me, it was what the girls were wearing. The 6 year olds are part of a “Supergirls” Junior FIRST LEGO League team, and all wore capes with a Superman “S” on them. Awesome!

From the White House website:

After chatting with their school librarian, the “Supergirls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team from Daisy Girl Scouts’ troop 411 discovered that some people have disabilities that make it difficult to turn the pages of a book. They came up with the concept of a battery-powered page turner that could turn pages for people who are paralyzed or have arthritis. The Supergirls sketched out a design concept and culled through motorized Lego components and gears to figure out how to build a working prototype. They discovered that the friction from rubber Lego tires could be used to lift and turn the pages of a book. They honed the device with a second motorized component that forces pages to lay flat after being turned over. The Supergirls’ creation was selected by the statewide FIRST program director to be the only project exhibited at an educational conference for librarians and educators in the region.

See, superheroes are for everyone!

KickStarting: Comics

Money_CashIt’s a new week and KickStarting: Comics is back with a look at how much was raised/pledged for comic projects on Kickstarter for the past week!

I realize some projects are not in US dollars, but they all will count the same regardless of origin, for now. $1 US will be the same as $1 CAD, $1 AUD, etc. There is one exception, there is one project which was in the Danish Krone. That has been converted and rounded to the nearest dollar.

Over the past week 13 projects were successfully funded.

For the past week from March 16 to March 22 the statistics are:

Average goal: $5,342.14
Average pledged: $11,953.97
Average number of backers: 186
Average pledge: $64.27
Average percent raised: 223.77%
Most common given amount: $25 (360 times)
Most money from pledge level: $79 level brought in $16,116

Total pledged for the week: $167,356

For the week, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: Cerebus Archive Number Three - $39,633

Most backers: The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer – 592 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Cerebus Archive Number Three – 4954.13%

Highest average pledge: Cerebus Archive Number Three – $172.32

Lowest average pledge: The Legend of Val Issue #2 - $6.51

For the month of March, for the 55 successful projects, the statistics are:

Average goal: $6732.42
Average pledged: $15,321.50
Average number of backers: 245.84
Average pledge: $62.32
Average percent raised: 227.58%
Most common given amount: $25 (1841 times)
Most money from pledge level: $100 level brought in $54,800

Total pledged for the month: $842,683

For the month, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft and Ben Templesmith - $144,158

Most backers: Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft and Ben Templesmith – 1928 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Cerebus Archive Number Three – 4954.13%

Highest average pledge: Cerebus Archive Number Three – $172.32

Lowest average pledge: The Legend of Val Issue #2 - $6.51

That wraps up this week’s data! I’ll be making tweaks to this as more are done, so let me know what you want to see!

Valerie D’Orazio is Quitting Twitter due to Violent Threats

DOrazio TwitterIf you missed it, comic creator Valerie D’Orazio spoke out on Twitter about being harassed in the past from blogger/comic creator Chris Sims. Sims was announced as one of the writers behind X-Men ’92 from Marvel (how many months since Marvel’s anti-cyber bullying covers?). Sims also blogs for Comics Alliance (overlook the conflicts of that I guess…). Comics Alliance condemned Sims past, and Sims apologized only after being confronted through the Tweets. The Outhousers have done the best job of documenting the situation, stepping up where other sites failed to live up to past actions concerning similar situations.

You can imagine the asshats that this brought out of the weeds, and D’Orazio has decided she will be closing down her Twitter account on March 31, due to “messages of a disturbing and violent nature.” She’s keeping it open until then “to allow journalists to document her statements on cyber bullying.”

I think it goes without saying, but harassment of any nature is wrong, uncalled for, and disgusting behavior. This whole affair has seen some serious issues on many sides, especially from some blogs, and creators, but the worst behavior are those who have seen this as an opportunity to spew hate and harassment. This is nothing new in our community, and we never seem to learn any lessons from it. We might have made steps as far as having more women in comics and creating comics, but we still fail time and time again to stand against the bullying and exclusion some think are ok. Harassment of any sorts is wrong, and those who promote it or partake should be called out. Those who receive it should be supported. D’Orazio stood up, called out bullshit (and hypocrisy), and suffered for it. Thank you Valerie for standing up, we commend your strength, and are so sorry for what you endured.

(via The Outhousers)

Arcana Comics Comes to ClickOnComics

click on comicsClickOnComics has announced that Arcana Comics is coming to their digital comics service. Though announced this past week, the publisher came to the service January 1st 2015.

ClickOnComics is a digital comics subscription-based web application that allows comic book readers the ability to stream a variety of digital comics from publishers all around the world and been around since 2012. The service costs just $4.99 a month.

ClickOnComics is now available on any Browser using any Mobile Device, in the iTunes App Store, and will be launching their first Android application later this year. The company boasts hundreds of titles being added every month, with a goal of becoming the first social comic book platform where all of our favorite superheroes can finally unite.

KickStarting: Comics

Money_CashIt’s a new week and KickStarting: Comics is back with a look at how much was raised/pledged for comic projects on Kickstarter for the past week!

I realize some projects are not in US dollars, but they all will count the same regardless of origin, for now. $1 US will be the same as $1 CAD, $1 AUD, etc. There is one exception, there is one project which was in the Danish Krone. That has been converted and rounded to the nearest dollar.

Over the past week 17 projects were successfully funded.

For the past week from March 9 to March 15 the statistics are:

Average goal: $9,319.24
Average pledged: $24,192.65
Average number of backers: 362.59
Average pledge: $66.72
Average percent raised: 259.60%
Most common given amount: $25 (853 times)
Most money from pledge level: $100 level brought in $37,400

Total pledged for the week: $411,275

For the week, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: Broodhollow Book 2: Angelworm - $109,406

Most backers: Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft and Ben Templesmith – 1928 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft and Ben Templesmith – 974.04%

Highest average pledge: Dreams in Thin Air – $120.51

Lowest average pledge: Bursting the Meta - $10.43

For the month of March, for the 41 successful projects, the statistics are:

Average goal: $7207.15
Average pledged: $16,471.39
Average number of backers: 266.27
Average pledge: $61.86
Average percent raised: 228.54%
Most common given amount: $25 (1481 times)
Most money from pledge level: $100 level brought in $50,600

Total pledged for the month: $675,327

For the month, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: Broodhollow Book 2: Angelworm - $109,406

Most backers: Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft and Ben Templesmith – 1928 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Inner Space – 4817.50%

Highest average pledge: Dreams in Thin Air – $120.51

Lowest average pledge: Bursting the Meta - $10.43

That wraps up this week’s data! I’ll be making tweaks to this as more are done, so let me know what you want to see!

Valiant Heads to Farrago Comics for FREE Digital Comics

farrago comicsWe’re got the scoop and breaking the news that Farrago Comics will now be offering comics from Valiant Entertainment through their digital app. Valiant will be offering issues #1 and #2 of the popular X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, Archer & Armstrong, and more, all for free.

The Farrago Comics app, allows individuals to read comic books for free with revenue generated from full-page ads. In January, Farrago announced a partnership with IDW Publishing where they offered ten #1 issues. This also marked the apps move out of beta. In February, the company launched into original comics through a Kickstarter for Rob Kutner’s Shrinkage which is illustrated by John Lucas.

The app is available for iPad and Android.

Check out the complete list of what’s on, or coming to the app:

Valiant Entertainment comics now available on Farrago:

  • Archer & Armstrong #1 & #2
  • Harbinger #1 & #2
  • X-O Manowar #1 & #2
  • Bloodshot #1 & #2
  • Eternal Warrior #1
  • Shadowman #1
  • Harbinger Wars #1 (of 4)

Valiant Entertainment comics coming to Farrago on March 18, 2014:

  • Eternal Warrior #2
  • Quantum and Woody #1
  • Unity #1
  • Shadowman #2

Titanium Comics Now Accepts BitCoin

Titanium ComicsI find it fascinating who does, and who does not, jump on the BitCoin wagon. Titanium Comics has announced that they’re “the first comic publisher” that processes BitCoin on their newly revamped website, and their Facebook store. In addition, Titanium is now working with BitPay to handle receiving cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin is one example of cryptocurrency, which allows secure transactions using cryptography as well as the creation of new units. The system has had some acceptance, but is still is awaiting a mass breakthrough. BitCoin in particular was first embraced by those with less than legal intentions. The monetary value is questionable, and conversion to other currency like dollars is volatile.

Arcane #2 is the next release and due to the new time table will hit stores June of 2015.

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