1. Marvel to release Ultimates, Spiderman and X-Men titles ‘day and date’.
In other words print and digital titles will be released simultaneously. It’s a horrible phrase but this is a huge deal for Marvel with DC already launching their books on the same day as printing and planning to roll out their 52 reboot simultaneously across both platforms. This could finally be the tipping point where digital becomes as important as print in the house of M as Marvel plan to start the roll out with the complete Ultimates line up in August (the final Ultimate Spiderman having already tested the waters for a same day release). This will be followed by the Spider-man titles in September which include the eagerly anticipated Dan Slott written Spider-Island saga. The X-Men titles will join the day and date gang in October with Avengers and all new titles following soon after in a push to ensure all major titles are running day and date in order to maximize the new reader potential of the Avengers movie in 2012. It’s exciting times for the world of digital comics as the big boys finally put their weight behind the medium.

2.Todd McFarlane says ‘bet against’ DC Comics 52 relaunch
Image co-founder and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane caused a bit of a storm with his comments to Comic Book Resources about the new DC relaunch. Saying he would “bet against it” and that it’s a “fools game”  McFarlane was highly critical of  DC’s plans to relaunch titles simultaneously, saying he would have preferred a staggered release over the course of 8-9 months in order to boost sales across all titles rather than spike sales of issue 1s. Comparing it to Apple’s product launch he said “Apple doesn’t say we’re going to release the new iPod, iPad, Macbook and I’ll talk to you about the cloud, all in the same day”.  As an instrumental part of the 90s comics book boom with his own Spider-man #1 and subsequent Image Comics, Todd knows a thing or two about spiking sales, as you would hope would fellow Image founder Jim Lee, now publisher at DC. When it comes to digital comics and piracy, Todd was more circumspect saying, “You can’t undo the mindset of  ‘I like to be in my pyjamas, hit a button and get my comic books’ . You have to do what the music people do and say, we want you to download, but not download for free”.  He was also keen to push the idea of digital comics being cheaper than print, saying that the 99c comic could be a profitable option once you remove printing, binding and distribution costs, again comparing it to the music model of offering 99c songs, but was not prepared to announce a Spawn release on the digital platform.

For the full interview pop on over to Comic Book Resources here and see him talk about everything from Spawn and Haunt to the positive influence of Robert Kirkman on the Image Comics family.

3.Dark Horse to launch Star Wars titles digitally for 20th anniversary
With the Dark Horse iPad app now in full effect, it was only a matter of time before it felt the full power of the force. Just in time for the 20th anniversary of Star Wars comics, Dark Horse announced they will not only be releasing new issues directly on the app, but that each week they would also be releasing classic back issues such as the Marvel adaptation of New Hope alongside expanded universe story lines like Crimson Empire and Knights of the Old Republic.   Also announced for their fall line-up are of books based on Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro’s best-selling novel series The Strain, a new partnership with Valve to create comics based on their hit video games line and Orchid from former Rage Against The Machine Guitarist Tom Morello.

4. Frank Miller unveils the trailer to Holy Terror
We’re huge fans of the creator of Sin City here at Pipedream Comics and so the prospect of a new Frank Miller book in 2011 got us very excited indeed. Judging by this sneak preview, Frank has not lost a step with his time behind the movie camera and in actual fact has given his stories an even more cinematic feel than ever before. This will be the first released book from the newly formed Legendary Comics, and what would be the chance of him releasing it as an interactive app – we can but dream surely?! We’ll find out September 11th!

5. Ape Entertainment announce Cut The Rope the comic
We’re huge fans of the Ape Entertainment guys, (as you can see from our interview here) so news that they are releasing a comic of hit iPhone/iPad game cut the rope is just fantastic. After the great job they did on Pocket God you know that Om Nom will be in good hands and we can’t wait to check out his back story and all the new characters that are promised. Released in late August, Cut The Rope will be available as a digital only comic via its own app.

When you do a search on iTunes for ‘comics’ you get the familiar array of apps from the big publishers like Marvel, DC, Image and ComiXology. But hidden in among these monster apps is a little icon with a angry pygmy on it called PG Comics. If you’re an iOS gamer you might recognise the name Pocket God as the hit iPhone game, but in this incarnation it’s a self published comic from the guys at Ape Entertainment. It’s a real gem written by the very talented Jason M Burns with awesome art from Uruguayan artist Rolando Mallada. I wanted to find out more about how this little title could outsell the big boys, so I got in touch with Ape’s publisher Dave Hedgecock and asked him what it’s like to carve your own niche in the brave new world of digital publishing!

Todd McFarlane’s Spiderman #1 is one of the featured titles on Marvel’s iPad app this week which got me feeling rather nostalgic. You see, growing up as a comics fan in the 90s, the most iconic book for me wasn’t Amazing Fantasy 15 or Action Comics #1 it was  Spiderman #1. I’d been  a Todd McFarlane fanboy from the moment I first picked up Amazing Spiderman #317 and saw Venom and Spidey go back and forth while surrounded by Todd’s trademark webs. His pencils were so exciting and dynamic and the weird poses he had Spidey contort into were just mind-boggling and unlike anything I had seen before. So, as his run on ASM came and went,  the prospect of seeing Todd not only drawn but also write, his own title was a fanboy’s dream come true.

One of the real success stories of comics on the iPad is IDW Publishing. Not only do they have a strong presence on ComiXology but they also have a series of their own apps  based on hit series like Transformers, True Blood and Dr Who. With smaller independents flourishing in this new market place, I got the chance to ask IDW’ Publishing’s Jeff Webber, their director of e-publishing, about some of the success stories at IDW and just how he sees the future for smaller comics publishers like IDW.

While researching this article I tried to get in touch with all my favourite artists and writers in the faint hope that they might be able to spare some time from their busy schedules to answer my questions. After sending out emails to everyone of note in my comics collection, one of the first people to get back in touch with me was the fantastic Kurt Busiek of Astro City and Marvels fame. Growing up I was a massive fan of Kurt’s work on Marvels and I was so excited to hear what he had to say, and here it is…

While investigating the world of iPad comics apps I came across this little gem in the ComiXology Comics app. As well as distributing the adventures of the world’s top super heroes, ComiXology have also published their own titles, in particular the Box 13 series by writer David Gallaher and artist Steve Ellis. Both David and Steve were really helpful in my research and below is the full transcript of my interview with them which never quite made it into the article as planned.

The copy of Tap! with my feature in arrived in the office this morning and so I can now start populating this blog with all the extra interviews I did.

To read the article you can click on the thumbnails below or you can read all about it here and order it online. Alternatively issue 6 of Tap! is on sale from July 6th and is available in all good newsagents.

 

As a fan of all things Apple and a fan all things comic-related, then surely the prospect of a Steve Jobs comic book is at the very epicentre of what rocks my world? And I would have to agree – although perhaps a tad reluctantly!

The great folks over at Blue Water Productions are following up their Mark Zuckerberg and Martha Stewart bio-comics with a look into the life and times of the world’s most famous wearer of black turtle necks, Apple CEO Stephen P Jobs. I for one can’t wait to see the Jobs story in all it’s glory, and judging by the exclusive preview pages below it really does start right at the very beginning!

Now I wonder if it will feature a huge super-hero style face off betweem Jobs and Gates with Woz and Balmer as the sidekicks? I guess we’ll have to wait until August to find out as that is when Steve Jobs the comic will be available from all good comic stores worldwide and also via the Comics app as well!

I was inspired to write this blog after writing an article for a UK-based iPhone and iPad magazine called Tap! The article was all about comics on the iPad and I talked to so many interesting and helpful people in the comics industry who told me all about the world of digital comics on the iPad and iPhone that I simply didn’t have room to include everything they said in the article. I spoke to everyone from writers and artists to coders and distributors and so instead on wasting their time, I have decided to set-up this blog and post much more detailed interviews from the people who took the time to answer my question by way of a thank you.