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The iTunes of comics...

Whoever copyrights that phrase first is going to make a packet, eh?

So, Longbox, then. Could comics finally be about to get their own, proper, mass-market, cross-publisher internet distribution model?

It’s certainly looking good - admittedly without knowing how well the software itself will work - as the ethos behind it, of wanting to give people an attractive alternative to the rising cost of printed issues, as well as providing a way of cataloguing any other digital comics that people may have obtained (whether or not they pretend they haven’t got illicit copies of Miracleman and Flex Mentallo on their hard drives, cough), is a strong one. While iTunes may not have been the first cross-format media library, the comparisons are valid - combining a store with a library that will accept a variety of preexisting formats (rather than relying solely on a new, proprietary one) is a cracking idea, and I for one can’t wait to have a properly catalogued collection of downloaded titles.

There’ll be the inevitable hand-wringing over whether this might be the sort of thing that kills “traditional” comics - but as Kieron Gillen puts it in a post that says everything I could want to say about the idea, only better, this is something that should supplement rather than replace printed copies. When you can’t get hold of a copy of Chew or Watchmensch even in central London, or when Phonogram’s singles (even singles that are as lovingly crafted with an eye on the format as they are) serve as a way for the creators to lose money and tread water until the trade gets into bookshops, then surely the backup option of paying a dollar for a download is a worthwhile thing to have? And as Kieron says - it positively encourages the trying out of more titles. I know for a fact that there are series out there that if I could try a couple of issues cheaply, I’d probably end up buying every month - but $2.99 or even $3.99 is just a prohibitive price point at which to experiment when you’re already buying between two and five books a week. It’s an approach already taken by DC’s Vertigo imprint, who’ve started selling the first issue of every new title at $1 each - this resulted in sellouts across the board for Mike Carey and Peter Gross’ The Unwritten #1, and indeed, if a company like Vertigo were to sign up, it would make the idea even more appealing (although as it is, there’s already some pretty hefty publisher support in there - I’m particularly pleased at BOOM!’s involvement given that their licensed Incredibles and Muppet Show titles aren’t widely available in the UK).

It could all just be a pipe dream, and it may not take off - but I’m absolutely, one hundred per cent in support of the thinking behind it, and you can bet I’ll be first inline to download the thing when it kicks off later in the year.

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This is relevant to my interests. Also to Jump Leads.

I wonder…

By Ben
June 24, 2009 @ 1:39 am

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I can’t be keeping 6400lpi scans of things on my hard drive, or killing my laptop with PDF that detailed! That’s what great standing clearwater bungs with sleeves for modern art are for.

That and SVG (not SVGmini so much; no ziptone in that). The TopCow items on the demo have 3 layers of art the artist should never have had to bother with, which hopefully SVG helped with, but I don’t think the vector tools are even in sync to have many artists/producers saved the drill. If it’s that, then I can get the comics in a Razr or iPhoneG4 (in 2010) or whatever, where they are needed. Say Hello to my New Early Childhood Education Friend! Giggling at Gorey by age 7, Bechdel by 10.

Back in anguish deciding which TopCow offerings are too lurid for taste at age 11….

By Steve Nordquist
June 30, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

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I predict this tool will be brilliant for my comic reading and utterly terrible for my bank balance as I go on mad back catalogue buying sprees.

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By Jonathan Capps
July 02, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

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