Top 10 digital comics for 2012

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!

In order to choose which title is best here is a quick round up of our 10 favourite titles.

Marvel Infinite – Avengers vs X-Men (Marvel Comics)
Tying in to their super-summer crossover, Avengers vs. X-Men Marvel’s debut Infinite titles took digital comics to a new level with the polish and sheen you would expect from the world’s biggest comics company. Releasing three bonus issues that existed outside the regular continuity of Scott Summer’s battles with his fellow mutants they helped show off the possibility of the digital platform by making the most of some dynamic and exciting action. Written by digital comics godfather Mark Waid and featuring a roster of cutting edge talent, the Infinite books showed the world just what was in store for big time digital comics and should pave the way for digital comics in 2012.
Celebrating the diversity of digital comics with Marvel Infinite and more

Captain Stone is Missing (MadeFire)
The premiere title from Liam Sharp’s Madefire project is 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 with a mean and moody soundtrack. Despite a slightly muddled narrative it has gone from strength to strength in subsequent issues and has become one of the most sophisticated digital titles around.
Captain Stone creator Liam Sharp discusses the launch of Madefire

Treatment Tokyo (Madefire)
Based on characters created by Watchmen legend Dave Gibbons, Treatment is a delightfully simple premise – criminals are hunted down on tv for entertainment – and it is allowed to develop in a variety of scenarios thanks to its clever creative teams. With stories set all around the world, this Tokyo instalment was the real gem of the series, making the Madefire motion comics elements work in a much more traditional comics format but making the most of incredibly clever use of space and motion on the pages to create an action packed adventure from start to finish.
Read our comprehensive round-up of the Madefire launch titles

Power Play comic coverThe first issue of this X-games inspired comic was released back in 2011, but we had to wait until 2012 for issues 2 and 3. Each instalment oozed high class production values, despite being done independently of major publishers, and merged great, simple story-telling from Christenson with fun anime style artwork from Brown. Rather than be too clever, it’s simple, action packed story leapt from the page with every panel and really grasped the idea of moving away from a standard guided view layout and exploring clever transitions to make to make an animation/comics hybrid.
Find out more in our exclusive chat to Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown

Bottom of the Ninth
Bottom-of-the-Ninth-TrailerThe worlds first animated graphic novel, Ryan Woodward’s animated extravaganza blurred the line between comic and cartoon like no other. Featuring completely animated panels with incredible detail and action in it,  Woodward combined his love of animation and baseball to create a true work of art that is one of the most sophisticated books around.
Click here for exclusive insights from creator Ryan Woodward

Insufferable (Thrillbent)
Insufferable 1 coverMark Waid has become the godfather of digital comics in 2012 thanks to his website Offering exclusive digital comics on a weekly basis, Waid’s premiere title is post modern super hero epic Insufferable, drawn by Peter Krause. Exploring the relationship between a retired superhero and his upstart sidekick, this is like watching Batman and Robin go to therapy, and takes Waid and Krauses’s work on Irredeemable to a new level, creating one of the most insightful and intriguing superhero books out there. Now available on ComiXology as well.
We spoke to artist Peter Krause about Insufferable and Thrillbent here

Kickback (Panel Nine)
Digital comics aren’t just about new titles with flashy effects, they’re about taking existing books and giving them a new, cutting-edge digital platform to be enjoyed on. Developer Panel Nine and publisher Russell Willia did just this with their deluxe graphic novel apps that reprinted classic work from well-known artists, such as Dapper John by From Hell artist Eddie Campbell and The Certified Hunt Emerson Collection. For us though, their best title was Kickback by V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd which not only featured the entire series in full but also fantastic insights from the artist himself via the app’s exclsive audio track which gave page by page detail on the making of this brilliant book.
Find out more in our interview with Panel Nine publisher Russell Willis

Double Barrel (Top Shelf Comix)
Making the most of the DIY spirit of digital publishing, this comic strip compendium was released out of a desire to get cool comics out to the people rather than have them wait for months to get a print copy. Instead of simply churning it out quickly, Zander and Kevin Cannon have offered much more. with this monthly mini magazine that not only features new installments of their Heck and Crater XV comics strips, but also includes articles on getting started in the comic industry, readers letters and exclusive strips from the Cannons to make a brilliant digital fanzine.
Find out more via our exclusive interview with Kevin and Zander Cannon.

Upgrade Soul
This immersive sci-fi graphic novel makes the most of being its own app platform to create a simple yet distinct identity. Mixing intricate artwork, slick motion graphics and a haunting audio soundtrack, this tale of two OAPs looking to prolong their life with science is full of subtle interaction and brilliantly detailed artwork.
Discover more in our epic interview with the Upgrade Soul team

Aesops Ark (MonkeyBrain)
In amongst the digital sophistication of many of our short list, this hand drawn book may seem out of place, but it was a true highlight. One of the first titles released by one of our favourite new digital publishers MonkeyBrain, this collection of short stories written by J.Torres were based on Noah’s Ark and Aesop’s Fables and are beautifully drawn by illustrator Jennifer L Meyer. They feature so much detail that it felt like you we’re looking at Meyer’s sketchbook on your iPad and made for an absolutely mesmerising reading experience.
We round up the first generation of MonkeyBrain Comics here

Honourable mentions:

Masks and Mobsters (MonkeyBrain)
Mike Henderson and Josh Williamson’s awesome black and white crime noir/superhero mash-up book has the potential to be something very special.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (DC Comics)
These digital exclusive one-shots took the familiar world of the Masters of the Universe and gave them a 21st century genre-defying twist.

Underwater Welder (Top Shelf Comix)
Sublime story-telling and bleak, watery artwork from Jeff Lemire made this a must-read

Thoughts on a A Winter Morning (MonkeyBrain)
Kurt Busiek’s delightfully personal tale was taken from an old anthology and given it’s own book in this MonkeyBrain exclusive.

Transformers Autocracy (IDW Publishing)
More than meets the eye with this digital exclusive Transformers story that saw the traditional roles reversed with Megatron as an idealistic rebel and Optimus Prime as a rookie lawman.

The Stars Below (MonkeyBrain)
Who know that a black and white book about a pigeon could be so damn good