The Loxleys and the War of 1812A 175 page book about an obscure American/Canadian war from the 19th century may not sound like an obvious choice for a comic book adventure, but thanks to the intelligent writing of 2000ad legend Alan Grant and the sublime artwork of Canadian illustrator Claude St. Aubin, The Loxleys and The War of 1812  from Renegade Arts Entertainment is an enlightening and informative look at the futility of war and the effect it has on family life, that is as relevant today as it was back then.

Aces WeeklyBritish comic legend David Lloyd is perhaps best known for his work on the seminal V For Vendetta with Alan Moore. However in recent years he has embraced the world of digital comics, first with his interactive graphic novel Kickback (which earned 3rd place in our Top 10 Digitial Comics of 2012), but most interestingly with the weekly web comic anthology Aces Weekly. Featuring work from some of world’s finests writers and artists (including David himself), Aces is an online subscription comic which has engendered a passionate following (and would have secured 4th place in our poll had their extra votes been included). So we got in touch with David and asked him all about Aces.

Tales of the Buddha coverAt the opposite end of the comics spectrum from last week’s kid’s comics The Phoenix is this stoner-infused look at the early life of Buddha, which is definitely for adults only! From the wonderfully warped mind of 2000ad legend Alan Grant and fellow Dredd alum John Haward and Jamie Grant Tales of the Buddha (Before He Got Enlightened) gives us a gag and ganja-heavy account of the eastern mystic as he searchs for enlightenment. Each 1 or 2 page strip sees our portly hero travelling the world and across history, getting up to all sorts of un-pious mischief while meeting a host of famous faces along the way – from Hercules and the Argonauts to Elvis and more. Forget your historically accurate timelines sacred scriptures, and just revel in the smart jokes and brilliantly quirky artwork of this supremely smart and enjoyable creation.

Dredd-head-PJ-HoldenIf anyone was going to embrace the world of digital comics then you’d think the ‘art droids’ of legendary British comic 2000AD would be there at the forefront. To find out just how much they are loving this new high-tech world of comics, we cornered long time art-bot PJ Holden, who has been slaving away at Tharg’s drawing desks for more than a decade, and we got him to spill his circuits on whether he has banished his pen and ink brushs to the trash heap and  just how the world of digital is affecting the the Mega City One lawman.

Captain Stone is Missing 1 cover (Madefire)It’s been an amazing year for digital comics and after a fortnight of frantic voting on Facebook, we are proud to announce that the winner of the inaugural Pipedream Comics Digital Comic of the Year 2012′ is ‘Captain Stone is Missing‘ by Liam Sharp, Christina McCormack and the team at Madefire.

What we said about Captain Stone:
“A cutting edge tour de force of digital comics. Showcasing the Madefire app’s motion comics technology to its utmost, Captain Stone merges a multitude of art styles with stunning interactive elements and physical effects, and a mean and moody soundtrack…. it has become one of the most sophisticated digital titles around.”

What the winners said…
“Myself, Christina and all at Madefire are delighted that Captain Stone is Missing… has been voted digital comic of the year! 2012 proved to be the year that digital storytelling came of age, and we faced some genuinely stiff competition. Congratulations to all the other story teams that made the top ten list, and here’s to more good things in 2013!”
— Liam Sharp, CCO Madefire, writer/artist of Captain Stone

The final standings
1.    Captain Stone is Missing (MadeFire)   379 votes
2.    Powerplay (Kurt Christenson/Reilly Brown173 votes
3.    Kickback (Panel Nine) 91 votes
4.    Double Barrel (Top Shelf Comix) 26 votes
5.    Upgrade Soul (Opertoon) 21 votes
6=   Treatment Tokyo (MadeFire) 9 votes
6=   Insufferable (Thrillbent) 9 votes
8.    Aesops Ark (MonkeyBrain) 8 votes
9.    Avengers vs. X-Men Infinite (Marvel) 6 votes
10.  Bottom of the Ninth (Ryan Woodward) 2 votes

For details on the full shortlist you can find out more here

The Phoenix Comic Free Sampler coverThis week sees the launch of the first digital edition of the weekly UK comic The Phoenix launched via Apple Newsstand with an app powered by the team at Panel Nine, this is a bold new step for the company, but one that helps The Phoenix find its natural home in the 21st century – on the iPads of the nation’s kids. If like me you’re a child of the 80s then reading The Phoenix gives you a delightful trip down memory lane as it feels very much like a natural successor to classic British kids comics like the Beano and the Dandy. This is in no part thanks to it’s anarchic sense of humour, and unpatronising tone, combined with a 21st century update and so it creates a brilliant blend of quirky comic strips with potentially strong characters that help keep it looking current and relevant and should keep kids and parents alike amused.

Amazing Spider-Man 700This weeks must-have digital comic is an obvious one, partly because its the only major title released this post-Christmas week, but mainly because it is the final issue of one of Marvel‘s flagship titles – The Amazing Spider-Man. After events in recent issues (and this is your SPOILER warning, stop if you haven’t read them yet!) life in the Spidey-verse is about to change forever. And we are assured this is a forever change as it brings to an end the most iconic title in the Marvel cannon and also the end of Peter Parker as Spider-Man.

Pipedream Comic logoIt’s been a landmark year for digital comics in 2012. We’ve seen them develop from simple page turners from a few leading lights to an increasingly diverse and exciting medium with offerings from the world’s biggest comics companies, alongside a whole host of new digital exclusive publishers and app creators. From Madefire and Marvel Infinite to MonkeyBrain and more, we have seen animated pages, immersive soundtracks and new companies developing comics and apps with new and exciting characters in new and exciting formats.

To celebrate this we want you the readers to help us choose the very best digital comic of the year 2012. Below is our shortlist of the top 10 titles we’ve seen this year and we want you to vote on them here at our Facebook page. Voting closes on Friday January 4th and we’ll announce the winner the winner on Monday January 7th so be sure to get voting!

Insufferable 1 coverThis week sees the arrival of the first 3 issues of Mark Waid’s Insufferable on ComiXology. Previously released as weekly updates on his website Thrillbent.com, each issues comprises two installments and introduces us to the world of aging superhero Nocturnus and his upstart protege Galahad. Although it was a great read online  Insufferable’s natural home is on a tablet and being able to read each issue in glorious full screen is a real treat.

The Masks and Mobsters team of Josh Williamson and Mike Henderson have taken their world of 1940s pulp noir and infused it with a generous dose of ‘the best Christmas story ever told‘ – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – for this brilliant festive offering. As two hitmen try to hunt down a certain, Ebeneezer Scrooge, they are warned off their hit by some malevolent spirits who have other plans for Mr Scrooge.