Kyle Lambert Dr WhoIf you type the phrase ‘iPad comic art’ into Google, one of the first names you come across is Kyle Lambert. Now he may not be a household name like Jim Lee, but he must be doing something right as he is ranking higher than the erstwhile publisher of Batman, Superman et. al. Kyle’s digital paintings have caused a stir all over the Internet not just because they are incredibly detailed but because of the videos that accompanied them that let you into his world of digital artistry. Whether it’s his portraits of celebrities like Beyonce or Stephen Fry or the awesome pictures of Dr Who and the Hulk I was fascinated to find out just what inspired this finger painting phenom and just how he created such fantastic works of art with just an iPad.

Raptor Splash Page by Blair D SheddHere at Pipedream Comics we’re big fans of writers and artists who embrace the world of self-publishing.. One of our favourites at the moment is Blair D Shedd, aka @OneGemini, creator of his own Kickstarter funded series The Raptor (which should see the light of day sometime in November) as well as artist on Dr Who for the folks over at IDW. Keen to find out more about self-publishing The Raptor and drawing timelords we got in touch. 

You wouldn’t naturally link fashion and digital comics, but petit model Isobella Jade has linked these two disparate worlds to create the awesome Model Life, now available on iVerse’s Comics + app. Isobella took the trials and tribulations of her life as a model who is less than 5’4″ and turned them into a series of fantastic autobiographical books and graphic novels which she wrote in an Apple Store in New York and then published online her herself. Inspired by this can-do attitude I decided to ask her just what brings a petit model into the traditionally macho world of digital comics!

As comic fans we’re all famalliar with the idea of a pull list – the carefully selected list of titles which our friendly comic store clerk puts by for use each week and adds to with carefuly curtaed recommendations based on our personal tastes. But what happens in this new digital world? Who is going to put aside that first printing of the new super cool book which no one else has ordered? Well here at Pipedream Comics we hope to be able to offer you that very service with our own Pipedream Pull List. Each week, we’ll point you in the direction of that week’s must-have digital comic and help you find that new gem which otherwise might have passed you by.

Batman #1 2011Our first recommendation is one which I am sure a lot of you will already have in your actual pull list and that is Batman #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. With all the excitment about Justice League, Action Comics and the rest of the 52 relaunch, this book has been somewhat sidelined. OK, so it’s still going to do massive numbers, but with all the attention split between the marquee titles and the forgotten gems, this one might be passed over by your average fan which would be a shame as it is one of the best of the 52 relaunches so far.

The tone of the book is as dark as you would expect from the writer of American Vampire but it is the art which really helps the book stand out. I’ve been a massive fan of Greg Capullo’s work since the early days of Spawn but his style has really evolved since then and removing himself from the McFarlane bubble has helped step his game up to another level. Capullo’s Batman is sinister and learing with a dark and twisted quality. Juxtaposed with the clean simplicity of Bruce Wayne and co when they aren’t out fighting crime, the phenomenal level of detail he gets into every page is just astounding.

From the opening double page splash you can tell this is the work of a man who is loving the opportunity to draw such a wierd and wonderful cast of characters and the macabre story which Snyder is looking tell is really taking advantage of Capullo’s art in a way that we haven’t seen before. In many ways it’s reminiscent of his mentor Todd McFarlane’s work on Year Two or the Batman/Spawn crossover but with so much more going on in every panel.

For non-regular Batman readers it fulfills all the jobs that the Relaunch intended. It both grabs new readers with it’s exciting new creative team while at the same time not moving too far from the the source material for the diehards (although I am sure many will complain about Capullo’s unorthodox treatment of the Joker). The murder mystery storyline meant that as soon as I got to the end of the book I couldn’t wait for the next issue and there are very few books from the 52 relaunch that I could say that about.

Batman #1 is available on Comics or via the DC app for $1.99.

When it comes to producing artwork on the iPad it’s great to see what creative people come up with using apps like Brushes, ArtRage and SketchBook Pro. What’s even better though is to see what professional comic artists can produce with them. I recently came across the iPad sketches of Irredeemable artist Peter Krause and so got him touch with him to find out just what he thinks about drawing on the iPad and whether it will ever replace his pencils and pens.

Wacom are set to launch a fantastic new product next month called the Inkling. I saw the brilliant Dave Gibbons post this link to it last month and have been very excited about seeing what it was all about ever since. Well, I had a quick play with one last week and I have posted my thoughts at the MacFormat website – click here to read it – however I thought I would also post a link to it on here as well, along with some sample images that I produced for it.

In short, I think the Inkling is an awesome gadget and has the potential to be really exciting for digital artists everywhere – especially in the world of comics where line art is still so important. The results were really impressive, although not quite there for final artwork. The freedom that you have when sketching with the Inkling is great though and the technology that has created them is clearly very clever. However I can’t help but think it feels quite niche and a bit like a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. After all, how many artists outside comics will want a digital transfer device for line art?

That is not to say that it can’t find a niche of it’s own with all manner of creative pros and become a truly must-have product for digital creatives, but I think it all will depend on the uptake of those who start to use it and the buzz that they can create online.  Certainly the ability to create physical and digital art simultaneous is very exciting and could lead to some very intriguing possibilities! With the relatively low price-tag of £149 price tag it will certainly be very tempting for a gadget-loving artist with money burning a hole in their pocket and is clearly a more budget conscious alternative to a Cintiq 24HD!

There are very few CEO’s of a multi-national corporation who can make front page news across the globe when they resign. However Apple’s Steve Jobs did just that in August when he handed in his notice from the computing giant he co-founded back in 1976. The man who bought Apple back from the brink in the early 90s and introduced the world to the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad has led an enigmatic life and what better way to tell that story than in comic book form? We’ve previewed the Steve Jobs comic from Blue Water Productions this site back in July, but with the book released this week, I interviewed writer CW Cooke and artist Chris Schmidt about the particular difficulties that arose in putting together a biography on the world’s most famous CEO.

The brilliant Liam Sharp may have made his name in the UK comics scene back in the early 1990s drawing Judge Dredd for 2000ad and then the awesome Death’s Head for Marvel UK, but these days he has become a champion of self-publishing via his Mam Tor publishing company. Now he is set to burst forth into the world of digital comics with the Madefire project alongside long time friend and collaborator Ben Wolstenholme. The first installment of Madefire is set to include work from Sharp and Wolstenholme alongside Treatment the latest creator owned property from legendary Watchmen artsist Dave Gibbons. With this exciting new launch just a few weeks away I got in touch with Liam and found out just what Madefire is all about.

After all the weeks and months of talk, it’s finally here. The DC52 relaunch has happened. Whether you agree with their tactics or not there’s no denying they have created a buzz about the comics industry that we haven’t seen in years. Forget Civil Wars, Secret Invasion, or the death of Steve Rogers, Bruce Wayne et. al., this is the most excited I’ve been about a mainstream comic since 1991. Back then I was a wide-eyed 13 year-old and Marvel released Jim Lee’s X-Men #1, now here he is again changing the world of comics, but will it be for better or for worse?

Back in 1991 with the launch of X-Men#1 the comics industry was at the peak of the 90s boom. X-Men #1 sold over a million copies thanks to multiple variant covers in foils and bags and was (And still is) the most successful comic of all time. The aftermath of this was a few more years of boom for Marvel, but would quickly be followed by bust as the bottom fell out of market as a result of over exposure to variant collectors editions. However for Lee himself it would be the catalyst for the formation of Image Comics and a new generation of creator owned titles via his Wildstorm studios.

Fast forward 20 years and Lee is top dog at DC, and he is again relaunching one of the comics world’s top titles in Justice League. But this time, instead of pushing the multiple variants of print editions it’s all about the power of digital. Justice League will not only be a huge selling print title thanks to it’s big name creative team but it is being released and pushed heavily via the DC Comics app and via ComiXology’s Comics. There is no doubt that this will be the best selling digital comic of all time within 24 hours of it’s release and it’s effect on the potential digital market is huge. Lee, a self confessed Apple geek, has clearly learned something from the Cupertino computer giant with his strategy of midnight opening at comic shops, but he is also keenly aware of the impact that digital is going to have on the future of comics.

A lot of industry analysts scoffed when the pricing structure was released and we learnt that the issue 1s would be $3.99 compared to a standard $2.99 for future, but just as Apple don’t compromise on price, neither does DC. Lee, Geoff Johns and co are making hay while the sun is shining and making money from their cash cows while they can, however they are also maximizing the influence their major titles can have in order to create a trickle down effect for the entire comics market. This price won’t deter the hardened comics fans who will buy both print and digital edition and won’t stop Justice League and the others from being the best-selling books of the year. But thanks to the ease of digital purchase, it may just encourage readers to buy other titles from this relaunch once they experience the simplicity and quality that comes from buying Justuce League. Once readers see how easy it is to simply click on Action Comics, Batman or Booster Gold while browsing through the comics app then DC will rely on these readers looking to do the same thing again in 4 weeks time (or when they receieve push notifications from the app to remind them of just how easy it was to buy that initial title) Gone is the need to go into a comic store on release and day and pay with real money, with an app and micro payments a reader can buy every book they want and the bill will magically appear a few days later. This is the tipping point for print and digital and just as Lee was a central figure in the last shift in the business in the late 90s, so here he is a again in 2011. Let’s hope this is the start of a new golden age, not the pinnacle of another boom.

One final question remains though, as a comic is it any good? Quite simply, it’s superb! I’m prepared to concede I am not a massive DC reader, but it is casual readers like me who haven’t read DC titles in years (if at all) who this relaunch is aiming at. Just as Ultimates refreshed the Marvel line up in 2000, so this will refresh and bring in new readers by updating continuity and re-telling, not just origin stories, but early tales of how character met and formed bonds before they had 30 years of back story to muddy the water. As always, Lee’s artwork is bristling with finely honed detail and stunning characters and settings. His Batman still bristles with the grit and edge of his Hush artwork, but it is Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern that is the real star of the book with Jim’s over active imagination crafting amazingly complex backgrounds out of Hal’s super powered creations. But it is also Geoff Johns’ script that is a winner. Mixing humour and character and crafting a fantastic revised DC Universe uncluttered by multiverses and extraneous characters, this is good old fashioned comic book story-telling but with a true 21st century look and feel. Well worth investing your time and money in.

With the number of digital comics released increasing every week, the ComiXology team have released a brand new version of their Comics app. Version 3.0 is a complete overhaul of the old app, with everything from a new look store front to fantastic new browsing and search features that makes the experience of using it more intuitive than before.