Comics apps have been around for a couple of years, but the rise of the tablet has seen a resurgence of interest in digital comic books. Comixology, Graphicly, and the Vintage Comics Droid are three apps that bring superheroes and more to your fingertips.
Our lives are chockablock with choices. Mac or PC? Red wine or white? Ginger or Mary Ann?
Urgent stuff like that.
But what if you found yourself staring into the face of a force so powerful and so malign that the very civilization humanity holds dear was at risk? For generations of comic book readers, this was the stuff that had their favorite superheros flying--or running very fast--to the rescue. And with The Green Lantern and Thor finally making their big-screen debuts this summer, superheros are again a hot topic of conversation.
But not all superheros are created equal, and besides, there are lots to choose from.
Let's make it more interesting: Let's say you had one call to make to summon a superhero to save the Earth from the clutches of a giant, gamma ray-shooting alien. Time to send out that SOS now. So who would it be?
We've assembled our fave picks in the accompanying gallery. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.
All this time we thought Justin Yu was in California--but no, in fact, he was up in Vancouver helping destroy the town after the Canucks' embarrassing loss to the Boston Bruins last night for the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Chaos is certainly in the air on The 404 today as the show welcomes longtime friends Allie and Kenley to the program. The gang discusses last night's anarchy in Canada and whether it was all a conspiracy conducted by some rogue Canadian travel agency.
Beyond riots, we'll take a look at Robin Williams' new Nintendo commercial, Steve Jobs' autobiographical comic book, and Samuel L. Jackson's foray into the world of audiobooks.The 404 Digest for Episode 841 Shocking photos from last night's riot in Vancouver Samuel L. Jackson tells us all to "Go the F--- to Sleep" Robin Williams really loves Nintendo Steve Jobs the comic book Episode 841 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
For those who can't wait until 2012 for Steve Jobs' authorized biography, another will be here this August--with illustrations to boot.
Publisher Bluewater Productions announced this morning that "Steve Jobs: The co-founder of Apple" will hit store shelves in two months. The comic book biography promises to give readers "unique insight" into Apple CEO's "legendary drive to the top and his continuing fight to stay there."
"His innovations command front page news, speculation of his health affects the stock market. Not bad for a college dropout," Bluewater president Darren Davis said in a statement. "His story, and that of Apple, is epic. I'm surprised it took us this long to publish a proper, balanced biography of him."
The illustrated Jobs bio, which will run 32 pages, joins a similar effort by Bluewater to profile Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. That graphic novel promises to detail the road to Zuckerberg's success, and hits stores in September. The group has done the same for more mainstream celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, and Lucille Ball.
Bluewater's biography of Jobs comes well ahead of an authorized biography by Simon & Schuster biographer Walter Isaacson. Dubbed "iSteve: The Book of Jobs," that work arrives next March. Shortly after hitting Amazon and Apple's own iBookstore as a preorder, the title rocketed to the top-seller list.
Green Lantern fans, there's no need to freeze yourself! It's just another 30 days until the movie comes out, and in the meantime I have something that may ease the pain of waiting.
Mimoco, a maker of quirky designer USB thumbdrives, has teamed with DC Entertainment to announce a new line of drives based on Green Lantern Corps characters. Basically, they're little action figures of Hal Jordan, Tomar-Re, Kilowog, and Sinestro that can also work as USB flash drives.
The USB 2.0 drives come in capacities ranging from 2GB to 16GB. Apart from the figures themselves, which will be enough for most of you comics fanboys to adore for a month, there's also character-specific content preloaded on the drives, including wallpapers, avatars, screensavers, and other digital extras.
The Mimoco Green Lantern USB thumbdrives are available now starting at $23 for the 2GB version. The 16GB version costs around $60. Go get a couple and make yourself and your nerdy friends happy.… Read more
For the first time since it was announced, I officially want an iPad 2. Why? So I can snap photos with it and instantly turn them into cool, custom comic books with Comic Life ($7.99).
A camera-equipped iPad isn't a requirement, of course, just a convenience. The app, based on the award-winning Mac program of the same name, works with any photos on any iPad, regardless of how they got there. And it's really, really cool.
As you've probably guessed from the name, Comic Life enables you to create comic book pages using photos as your artwork. The app comes with various templates to get you started, but you can also design a layout from the ground up using the backgrounds and colors of your choice.
For any given page, you can add and arrange all the usual comic book elements: text, captions, shapes, and your choice of a dozen kinds of word balloon--each with a "tail" you can size and position to your liking.… Read more
Music, movies, television shows, and books have all developed strong digital presences, but what about the comics from which so many of these other media take their story lines? Relatively new to the digital world, some comics publishers feel they finally have a delivery device for their content in the tablet, and they've got plans for how to develop digital comics. What's less certain is how readers will react to those plans, and whether digital comics will help reverse dwindling comic book sales.
DC Comics, publisher of comics involving well-known heroes such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, … Read more
I had a hard time in middle school. Other kids picked on me, girls ignored me, and many of the friends I'd had in elementary school abandoned me.
Perhaps reading "Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential Graphic Novel" would have helped--if only it had been available back then.
Based on the actual graphic novel of the same name, Be Confident in Who You Are for iPad reads like a nicely illustrated comic book and addresses a number of important tween/teen issues: bullying, body image, problems with friends, peer pressure, and so on.… Read more
Comic Sans, the Windows font reviled by font snobs everywhere, has joined the big leagues.
Monotype Imaging released the oxymoronic but definitely real Comic Sans Pro, taking advantage of April Fools' Day to bring some humor to the occasion. The new typeface combines a script style geared for typographically clumsy children's birthday invitations with high-end font features more commonly used on wedding invitations.
"Comic Sans Pro contains a versatile range of typographic features including swashes, small caps, ornaments, old-style figures, and stylistic alternates," Monotype said, referring to a variety of ways designers extend beyond the standard character … Read more
Digital comics have been around for longer than the iPad, but they were previously confined to either the computer or a tiny smartphone screen. The iPad breathed life into this burgeoning field by providing a larger, colorful display that was still portable.
How the eye follows the page In fact, one of the very first apps to debut on day one of the iPad's release in 2010 was Comixology, an app that allows you to purchase, store, and read comics right on the iPad.
Comixology's iPhone app debuted in late 2009, but it wasn't until the iPad version that the digital comic potential was realized. Comixology boasted a reading experience that's almost cinematic, supposedly mimicking how the eye follows the printed page with a mode called "guided view." In guided view, you read panel by panel, instead of page by page. David Steinberger, Comixology's CEO, claims that around 50 percent of its users use guided view instead of full-page mode.
Content deals soon followed, as Comixology started offering titles by Marvel and DC, the two biggest names in comics. Indeed, Comixology helped the two publishers come up with their own dedicated apps in the iTunes App Store. It has also created title-specific apps like the Scott Pilgrim app that only carries Scott Pilgrim books.
The reason is simple: Specific apps get higher level searchability in the iTunes App Store. This proved especially useful when the movie of the same name debuted and people wanted to read the books that inspired the film.
Audience diversity and growth One of the more interesting results of digital comics on tablets and smartphones is that they typically draw in more casual consumers who are newer to comics. Steinberger said, for example, that the digital audience tends to favor pop culture hits more than traditional comic book fare. When the zombie-centric "Walking Dead" series debuted on AMC, digital sales of the comics on Comixology went up dramatically. This might be because casual consumers either don't know about their local comic book store or just don't want to go there.
"The [traditional] distribution of comics is lame," Steinberger said. "They're not on newsstands anymore, they're not in the corner stores. They're only available to direct-market retailers and there's less distribution than it used to be. There's great opportunity here to gain a larger market [of comic readers]."
He pointed out that the app actually includes a retailer finder. While it might seem odd that Comixology is promoting its brick-and-mortar rivals, Steinberger sees them more as allies.
"Everyone expects us to be a disrupter to steal market share," he said. "We feel that the way the market is shaped in the first place, there's an incredible chance here to enlarge the market. We feel that getting more people to discover comics at all is great for everyone."… Read more