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I'd buy an iPad just to read comic books. Think I'm nuts? I probably am, but see how you feel after this first look at what Panelfly, maker of a popular comic book iPhone app, is building for the iPad. Instead of simply scaling up the existing iPhone app, the folks from Panelfly put their heads together with the Sugarcube dev team and brainstormed. With all the talk of the iPad and how it could restore comic books to their former glory, they realized that they needed to revamp the app and make a version specifically for the iPad. This way they could take full advantage of the device's screen size and provide a new way of purchasing and interacting with the content.


The way the Panelfly iPhone app works is that you download the app for free from the app store and then add comics to your library through in-app purchases. Stephen Lynch, CTO and designer at Panelfly, hinted that the company is currently exploring several different purchase models for the iPad version, but was unfortunately unable to elaborate even when I tried to coax out whether there'd be a subscription option.


As far as reading and navigating content on the new iPad app goes, let's just say it'll blow us all away. From what Stephen was able to share with me, Panelfly "didn't want to stray too far from the native Apple UI elements, [they] wanted to create something that was [theirs] as well as a platform that gave the content the respect it deserves." And from the looks and sound of it? They've succeeded.


gallery_pf4.jpg gallery_pf1.jpg gallery_pf2.jpg gallery_pf3.jpg

Be sure to click on the images in the gallery for the full-sized view. It's worth it.


Call me a geeky comic book lover, but apps like this one are what I'm looking forward to when it comes to the iPad. The gadget won't replace my computer, it won't replace my TV, and it won't replace any other device I've got around the house. But it will be what I sit down with when I want to catch up on some comics, magazines, journal articles, and what will be formerly known as "print" media.




Seriously. It's got a big color screen, an easy interface for flipping through books, and it'll be easy to navigate. There'll be no printing cost, prices can go down from $4 a goddamn comic (seriously, that's absurd) and likely more people will get into Marvel and DC titles when they're only $1 or $2 a pop in an easy-to-browse iTunes-like store. Seriously, assuming that the iPad has 1/4 of the success the iPhone and iPod have had, if Marvel and DC don't get on this thing immediately, they're crazy. All the small publishers should already be begging Panelfly to be a part of this thing.


fuck yes. this is exactly the kinda thing i want to see the industry doing -music was dragged kicking & screaming into the digital age, and i think its safe to say its firmly there, only the RIAA didnt get the memo (yet). books are in the process of working it out, comics need to get on board here with a quickness. Marvel's already doing a full digital library access for $5/month subscription, again god knows why DC/Image/Dark Horse are dragging their nuts, but once the money starts coming in, they'll move.

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  • 1 month later...

aww yeah


Justifying My iPad Purchase: The Future Of Comic Books Is Now




While the iPad presents a functional but far from optimal gaming experience, gaming isn't why I wanted Apple's latest big thing. For comic book fans, the iPad is the new frontier.


Digital comics have been picking up steam over the past few years, but several obstacles have been in the way of full-fledged acceptance of electronics as a plausible comic book delivery medium. Sitting at a PC isn't exactly the idea way to read comics. Laptops solve the problem somewhat, but the orientation is still all wrong.


When the iPhone App Store was introduced, many companies began releasing applications that allowed digital comics to be purchased and downloaded via the iPhone. The iPhone readers had the portability and page orientation problems licked, but the small size of the screen made the iPhone apps a less-than-ideal solution.


Enter the iPad. Over the weekend I shot a short video, singing the praises for the device as a comic book reader, and chastising comic book publishers for their reluctance to enter the digital age.


At this point I've downloaded three iPad-specific free comic book readers, including one from Marvel, one called iVerse, which contains comics from various publishers, and an IDW Comics app, which uses the iVerse engine.


The Marvel app, powered by Comixology, is so far the most impressive, though also the most disappointing. The app is an excellent way to read comics, but Marvel still shies away from releasing current issues on their digital comic book service. Featured books are generally one to two years old, with a substantial catalog of classic titles available, but nothing truly new.


IDW, on the other hand, is relatively recent. The app doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of the Marvel one, but most of IDW's biggest series are only one issue removed from the comic stands. For example, Transformers number 5 hit comic shops last week, and the application already has the first four issues available.


Dragon Age number one, released last week, is already available for purchase.


Since I've already committed myself to IDW's Transformers and G.I. Joe comic books in paper form, odds of me switching to strictly digital for those are slim, but when a new series comes out, I will seriously consider going download only.


I realize comic book publishers, especially one as old as Marvel, are reluctant to commit to digital comics. Concerns of piracy, the loss of revenue from paper books, losing advertisers - these are all valid concerns. But consider this: every week, comic book pirates scan every comic book produced into digital format, strip the ads, and make them available for free download.


I'd say $1.99 is better revenue than nothing at all.


So come on, Marvel and DC. Charge me $20 for a year's subscription to X-Men or Green Lantern. Lace the digital copies with links to other comics I can purchase online. Did Superman just reference events from last week's Justice League book? Put in a footnote, let me touch it, and bring me to a page where I can buy that title.


It's a completely new business model, and I know that's frightening, but I also know this: when I am laying on the couch reading comics, I'm much more likely to spend $1.99 on a digital issue than I am to get up off my ass and run to the comic store to spend $4.


As for the iPad, right now it's the perfect way to enjoy digital comic books. And when the other tablets begin to hit, they'll work just as well - or even better.


check out the source link for an even better video review, holy shit do comics look good on this thing.

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I believe I told you all of this when I got my kindle, The ipad's biggest problem is proabbly cost in terms of really getting it out there. I think a kindle device(in terms of size, wieght and cost) will be better.


My problems with the ipad is size and wieght, from all I've read reading one handed(something I've come to love and adore on my kindle doesn't work out so well) and the screen has some glare issues(and isn't as nice for reading as the kindle) that said the kindle isn't color or has comic apps. This however is the start(and some manga on kindle) but yes timmy, soon, I'd guess 5 years at the most, you'll carry around all your comics, manga, books, etc around in something the size of the kindle2.


The big problems for comics going digital will be piracy of course, huh... I wonder as these devices go online all the time if you wouldn't just do a service and then basicly read comics off there servers.


Also as this picks it it will hurt comic shops, those that just deal in comics and havn't done things to branch out will take big hits, in fact in some places thsi will proabbly simply be the only way to really get comics fast(hell even down here we dont' have many shops left.)

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was talking in the ipad & comic resources threads about this:


Marvel does a $5/month subscription service to their digital books, and there's a ton there if you click the link (especially archives) and now that im looking at it...i think theyve finally got their current books up as well, which is awesome. i might try that out, kinda prefer the ability to download them in .cbr format, not sure if they'll go that way though. far as i can tell from their sites, DC, Dark Horse and Image are all just putting a few pages of previews on theirs....really should make this a thread in comics, im not sure why theyre not all biting the itunes model yet either, honestly.


bish mentioned, i should prolly find out if there's a cap to how many titles you can read a month. dont believe i saw one, but that doesnt rule it out. good system in place if not, though.


relevant to this, comic book resources had an article recently about how Marvel's open to digital distribution with the ipad, kindle, nook and any other such devices, apparently, which is the smart kind of approach Jemas had years back when pushing trade paperbacks into bookstores. again, no idea why the other major publishers arent pursuing this yet, hoping to see it pan out for Marvel to get them in gear.


ive still read nothing on DC, Dark Horse etc following Marvel here, but then, DC dragged their nuts on the TPB market too, i figure its only a matter of time. $5/month for marvel books (again, im trying to see what kind of cap that brings, as i read a lot of theirs) sounds more than fair, i think when these devices go more mainstream and the companies offer more itunes-esque models like this, it'll be good for everyone but retailers...then again, the retailers (in a number of instances) were fighting/holding up marvel's shifting to bookstores, so it can be argued what they're doing to keep the medium niche.


i havent had any hands-on with an ipad yet, but that video review made me think it looks great for sitting down & reading comics the way id like to. totally hyped for whenever its on its 3rd gen and no one wants its 1st.

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5/dollars a month for everything seems low, to low to do much unless they got huge huge huge numbers, and I could easily see 10 or even 20 bucks it you got everything. You could do a teired plan too, 5 bucks gets you so many titles and their archives and maybe crossovers, 10 gets you more, 20 gets you everything. I could just be underestimating how much costs come down when you no longer have to print shit though. If it is 5 bucks for everything goodbuy tbp and comic stores /wave


I don't see them every letting download cbr's though. If they pulled out of stores completely and you could only read them online it would heavily cut down on pirating, maybe(reading directly off their server or maybe with some special app would proabbly make it harder at least.) but we are way way way away from anything like that.


I think I might sign up for a month to check it out, thats sounds really really cool.

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...right? $5 a month has to have a cap. was thinking of doing the same, but please do sign up & post what you find, id jump all over this. really, there's no reason for me to keep .cbr's or want to collect/own them, i really like being able to read a comic and be done with it. i tried buying issues, selling them back for the trade months later for part of a year and shit got tedious.


*EDIT: ok, their link is clearer now, heh. here goes:

Only US $4.99 per month with an Annual Subscription (billed as one payment of US $59.88). All subscribers get the hassle-free advantage of the Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited Automatic Renewal Program.



Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited:


Offer: Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited membership gives customers unlimited access to view Marvel’s Digital Comics on our website. These comics cannot be transferred or downloaded to your computer. You can view Marvel Digital Comics from any computer with an internet connection.


Pricing: US $59.88 per year, billed annually; or US $9.99 per month, billed monthly. Note: Your subscription will automatically renew on the anniversary of your billing date at the then-current subscription price, until you tell us to cancel.


Prices and charges are subject to change without notice.


you know...that's still not bad at all, given how many marvel books a month i read. like you, im curious to see how long it takes to put up new issues.

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thats still fantastic(almost more for the archive stuff really) and I still say a steal at like 20 bucks(i'm really curious it's so low) It's getting very likely I'm at least gonna try it out for a month to check it out even though I'm more into DC atm.


Any idea if they plan to come with a sort of special stand alone app you can install like the kindle reader so make bookmarking and such easy? oh man there is so much they can do with this.

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again, no idea why DC & others are sitting on this, but i think its only a matter of time. ive not seen them even talk about a standalone reader, but you gotta bear in mind the small community that reads comics (generally) i think, in their perception, still wants paper only. of any book medium moving over, i expect some of the most trouble with this one, but like we said, the market's dwindling and if its left only to retailers, thats where even writers like bendis seem to think its going to die.


most ive seen so far is the ipad app, which they were quick about. cant imagine if the kindle 3 is in color they wont wanna offer the same.

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  • 3 months later...

So I'm seriously considering the Marvel digital comics subscription. I very rarely buy the pamphlet style monthly comics anymore, with very few exceptions. There are no Marvel titles that are exceptions. I buy trades, but it has to be something I pretty much already know I'll like. I don't download scans anymore because of personal reasons.

There are some titles I'd like to keep up with, but not enough to blow wads of money and fill up long boxes with stuff that has roughly an 80% chance of being shit.


The digital subscription seems perfect for me. Anyone tried it out?

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gun was talking about it; i was really hoping one of you guys would first. :pumppump:

i tell you what, ill try it next month & put up my logon here for you or others to try if you want, im pretty interested myself. if it works like they say it does...ima start writing DC and Dark Horse some letters.

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yeah, ive been spoiled by .cbr's as well...cant access even freebies from here, what's specifically different? i know when they tried this years back, you'd open them up like through a script on the site and you could browse just fine (it'd stick a few seconds on ad pages, though)...but can you zoom in and do must of the stuff you do with cbr's? wondering how it handles splash/gatefold pages, etc.

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Eh, it's actually not so bad. If you just click the "next" button it automatically goes to the next panel area zoomed in, I was originally scrolling down the page and whenever I would hit next it would jump me back up to the panel underneath where I started.


I'm think I'm gonna do it. Now, before I'm entirely sober. I'll thank myself later.

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Let us know how you dig the digi-subscription, Logan!


I checked out the Marvel site and it appears you pay a monthly or yearly fee and get access to a large number of comics, but they're basically "streaming" and you can't DL them to your HD and must obviously have a Net connection. Seems like a decent business model to prevent pirating. However, I still think they'd make more money by selling an actual downloadable digital comic. Of course it means putting stuff out there for pirating, but the scanners do that already. The comic industry should learn from the mistakes of the music industry and hopefully not repeat them. Seems to me comic publishers are cutting their profits off at the legs by not selling actual downloadable comics a person can keep and re-read.


I definitely hope devices like the iPad help make digital subscriptions more indie publisher friendly. I was talking w/ Panch about this when Jax was in town. Panch's reasoning is even if an indie book is $1 or $2 more than a mainstream book, that's still $6 for one book rather than two. If you're way into monthlies like Panch is and are on a budget (who isn't) then it's hard to take a chance on a new indie book. Hopefully the digital comics will become downloadable and all even out at around the same cost (like digital music did at roughly $1 per song). Since there are no high printing costs this should, in theory, work to the advantage of the indie publishers...



And I know he loves his monthlies and TPBs, but I wonder if Jay will ever get this for his precious netbook?

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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see, that's why im thinking this service might work well for me - i dont archive these things; i read them and delete them. i used to buy monthlies & sell them in arcs on ebay, use some of the $ for trades, but that's way too much trouble, too.


for your idea on being able to keep a copy...i imagine they could always try incentives like bonus content, or sharper image quality or something? ill be honest, there's not much from a single issue i dont get right now with the basic image viewer, but im sure they could work on that.

really glad Marvel's giving this a go, but as you said...the indie scene likely stands to gain far more here than anybody. there's tons of times ill see, say, an Eisner nominee list and not know the vast majority of what's on there...if i could try out issues/an arc at itunes pricing (as you said), that'd be an impulse buy...and they're not even really competing with the piracy scene comes tons of those books dont even get scanned.

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Yeah, they're streaming. I guess if you've got a hard-on to own a specific book you could always Print Scr 24 times :P


So far so good, I'm plowing through Exiles now. That's a fun little book. I still have the occasional annoyance with the viewer, I noticed in fullscreen mode it sometimes won't jump all the way to the bottom of a page before going to the next. In big splash pages I have to use the magnify text box more than I like. Minor grievances, really.

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argh, this is upsetting. got a demo of marvel's current setup (thanks again logan, you're the best man!).


for one, Lo was right about the current reader software Marvel uses: its not bad (panning across sections/panels works better than i thought, even in bendis dialogue-spreads), but click & hold the mouse to pan around the page and the second you let go (or say, run out of mousepad), it snaps back to the beginning of the page...meaning you cant really just hover over a section you wish to. odd how spoiled .cbr reader makes me feel, considering its like a fancy .rar program. they say its version 3.0, hopefully they keep working on it. the freeware one we all use cant forever be the best thing anyone can come up with.


worse yet, while their archives are indeed impressive (as is the ad-less streaming speed, even on my shitty connection), new books are nowhere to be found. perhaps i was naive to think $10/month (or $60/year) on an unlimited-access plan would be up-to-date, but i was totally prepared to wait a week or so on new issues if that was their setup...instead, new arrivals seems to just be newly scanned-in stuff, so it could really be an issue from whenever. Ultimate section's good, but they're not even nearing Ultimatum just yet... *sigh*.


im gonna keep an eye on this. again, since i dont want single issues (or to archive digital ones), streaming access is an awesome model, hopefully with time they get caught up and aggressively start keeping new/recent issues up as well, because they've got my money as soon as they do...id really love to support something like this and encourage the other labels to embrace a future with more revenue streams than the ones that've been steadily declining for decades now.

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Ultimatum is totally on there.

They have a terrible browsing system, you can't sort by print date that I've seen. It is shitty that they don't seem to have new books, but I'm seeing some post Dark Reign shit scattered around. They don't seem to be that far behind on some titles, but it's far far from comprehensive.

For the dedicated monthly title reader, I wouldn't recommend it. At least not yet...

For someone who is interested in reading a fuckton of Marvel continuity, or just having a pretty decent library instantly at your fingertips, it's pretty cool. The Spider-man videogame talk about Reign had me thinking about it, I checked and it was a fun little surprise when I was reading the first issue 45 seconds later. More convenient than a torrent.


I bet the other companies are watching this very carefully. It's a cool idea, but Marvel has a lot of work to do. What they need is competition.

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you're right, i wasnt looking hard enough (USM actually went up to Ultimatum, not sure if UXM and other books did, didnt check yet). series by volume/name isnt a bad idea but the gaps confuse me..looks like Ultimate Spidey goes up to 130 or so (?) despite Ultimatum there. you're right, not having them by date is fucking me up...though the last page of each title by series is usually helpful.


to grab random examples:

last week's Amazing Spider-Man was # 637 (end of Grim Hunt). they've got 500-600 or so up, spotty after that...latest one i can find is 612, from a few years back, with gaps before that. odd for a flagship title.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man only has # 1 at the moment.


Captain America # 600's up (they're only on 607 now), Daredevil's hard to tell pre-renumbering. New Avengers goes up to # 55 (Dark Reign stuff), Thunderbolts is all over the place. i like that they added those Cap sunday strips, hoping Icon stuff makes it up here at some point too though.


i dont know how fast they're progressing, but i really wish they'd just take the work already done (at high-res) in the scans and toss that in here. this is gonna be awesome when they're caught up.

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Ok I finally signed up for 1 month to check it out, it's 9.99 for one month and 4.99 if you sign up for a year, lots o comics to read and check out. One downside is that it's got nothing to do with the iphone/ipad app, if they ever fix that then I might just get an ipad.... more updates in a few days.

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  • 6 months later...

Diamond's making moves




<h2 class="title">Diamond Digital Launches With iVerse

Submitted by Rich Johnston on February 9, 2011 – 10:55 am diamond-digital-570x401.jpg






ComiXology made their announcement recently, that they would team with retailer website ICV2 to add a comics download element to retailers websites, allowing them to share in the revenue stream such legally downloaded comics may provide.


But the big boy of comics shop distribution has just made its plans known.


Bleeding Cool broke the story that something like this was coming at the end of last year. One could even see the ComiXology announcement as an attempted spoiler.


Because now Comixology's smaller rival digital comics publisher iVerse has teamed up with Diamond Comics Distribution for Diamond Digital. And instantly made iVerse much more of a major player.


So what's the gen?


First, participating comics will be sold day and date exclusively through comic shop and their websites, for thirty days, for $1.99. You won't be able to get them digitally without going through a comics shop for that period.


And second, people who buy the hard copy of a comic wil be able to download a digital version… for 99 cents.


Which turns a $3.99 hard copy comic to $4.99 for hard copy and digital. I'm not exactly sure how successful that will be.


But all a retailer needs to participate is a store, an internet connection and a printer.


Diamond Digital will debut in July and currently signed-on publishers include the program include Ape Entertainment, Archie Comics, Aspen Comics, Bluewater Productions, Broadsword Comics, Hermes Press, IDW Publishing, Moonstone Comics, NBM Publishing, Papercutz, Red 5 Comics, Studio Foglio, Titan Books, TOKYOPOP, Top Cow Productions and Top Shelf Productions.


Announcements for Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse have not been made. Yet.


Expect to hear more from the ComicsPRO Annual Meeting this weekend in Dallas and the Diamond Retailer Summit at C2E2 in Chicago in mid-March.



Rich Johnston sucks, but this could be huge, and long overdue.

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  • 4 weeks later...

would that work the say I think it would? that I would go the local store, pay for my comics and then they would print me out a code for it?

I'm very very interested in this as I think I'm picking up an ipad2, and frankly that makes me want to get back into regular comic reading..(fuck you marvel for not putting unlimited on ios... :(


where else do people by digital comics from?

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  • 3 weeks later...

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