Comics come under academic scrutiny at the British Library in London this month thanks to the Comics Unmasked exhibition. But does it reveal enough of this diverse and exciting comic scene to get non-comics fans interested?
One of the main complaints about the ComiXology platform, when it came to buying and reading your digital comics (at least before the Amazon buy out) was the fact that your comics weren’t yours to download and back up on your PC. Well, today during their panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego that is about to change thanks to ComiXology DRM-free backups being made available, allowing readers to download and store copies of their favourite digital comics.
Just in case you had any doubt, today ComiXology have reminded us that not only are they top digital comics app company but one of the top-grossing iPad apps in the whole world, as the Comics by ComiXology iOS app is revealed as iTunes’ #1 Top Grossing non-game iPad App for 2013, ranking #11 overall.
The pulsating frenzy around the players and teams of the Premier League has left an impact on popular culture and the media. From television coverage both live and syndicated to media spin-offs like magazines, there is no denial of the Premier League’s imprint on die-hard fans of English football. It, thus, doesn’t come as a surprise that the league has already ventured into the world of comic books.
What do you get if you combine Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader and one of Despicable Me’s Minions with a sleepy Wiltshire market town and a sunny Saturday afternoon – why its the Melksham Comic Convention of course! We were there along with over 600 other eager geeks from all across the UK, so here’s our report on what went down.
Although our main focus here on Pipedream Comics is the wonderful world of digital comics on the iPad, we are also huge fans of comics in all their forms. So when a comic-related cause comes up that we feel is worthy of our support then we get behind it 100%, digital or otherwise! One such cause is the Melksham Comic Covention, now in it’s second year, and situated just up the road from Pipedream HQ in the sleepy Wiltshire town of Melksham. This local convention is the brain child of KomiX shop owner Hayley Spencer, but what on earth made her decide to set up a comic convention in the south west of the UK? And what will conventioneers have to look forward to on Saturday August 31st if they make the journey into the wilds of Wiltshire?
A group of game developers from the fantastically named Loveshack Entertainment have announced a rather intriguing iOS game that mixes our two favourite things – comics and iPads. The game is called ‘Framed‘ and looks like an old style comic book page – but no ordinary one. Your character works his way through the panels in order, according to what the panel depicts – whatever the consequences might be – and as the player it’s up to you to prevent your hero from meeting a sticky end by rearranging the panels so he make it to the end of the page unharmed.
The art of writing a Christmas special isn’t easy. Whatever medium you’re working in the need to avoid mawkishness, sentimentality or twee cliche is a tricky one to get right, so what do you do if you are Britain’s leading sci-fi comic? Well in the case of the 2000AD Christmas Special they have gone for quantity rather than seasonal themed merriment. This bumper issue features 100+ pages, to keep you going over the festive period, and is packed with the usual high quality action adventure you would expect. With several epic stories coming to their conclusion in the last few months, new series and story arcs begin with this issue, and so there has never been a better time to get into 2000AD
Whther it’s larger than life characters, the eternal battle of good vs evil or tight fighting lycra outfits, the world of comics and professional wrestling have a lot in common. We’ve previously spoken to artist Jill Thompson about her work with wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho, but what about the wrestlers themselves? With many wrestlers waxing lyrical about their love of all things comics-related on Twitter and social media, we caught up with one of the most passionate – Impact Wrestling’s Christopher Daniels. This stalwart of independent wrestling in the US and current star of Impact Wrestling on Spike TV, we asked the man known as the ‘Fallen Angel’ just why there is so much in common between the two worlds and whether we could ever see his alter ego grace the printed page.
Double Barrel is a fantastic comic strip double header featuring the latest work from talented cartoonists Kevin and Zander Cannon (no relation). Not content with the lead time required to publish their books separately, the Cannons joined forces with the brilliant Top Shelf to produce this monthly digital title. Not only containing their new strips Heck and Crater XV, its also packed with fantastic articles on how to succeed in the comics business and how to motivate yourself to become a better writer and artist. It’s like reading a fanzine or an old style mini-magazine and is a brilliant way to keep your audience up to date with your latest work. Plus, at 69p for well over 100 pages is an absolute bargain. We got in touch with Kevin and Zander to ask them just where the idea came from and why we should get excited about this double barrelled double act.
If like me, you love the darkness of classic horror movies – often the cheesier the better - then you might be interested in trying the first 3 chapters of Becoming by Brooke Burgess, published by Arcana Studio. As a fan of horror books, I don’t mind if they’re a little bit silly, in a foreign language, long or short. I can happily read pulpy, sexy shorts from the likes of Guy N. Smith and James Herbert or I can immerse myself in the longer, more thought-provoking tales of HP Loveraft and Brian Lumley. And I love a good horror comic. Whether it’s modern stuff like Dark Horse (my current favourite), Chaos! Comics‘s Evil Ernie and Lady Death, Glen Danzig’s Verotik series or legendary EC Comics from the 50s, I love horror, but something just doesn’t quite work with Becoming.
Although not strictly in our remit here at Pipedream Comics, we were very excited this week by arrival of a copy of the DC Comics 75th Anniversary poster book from Quirk Books. Admittedly the book has been around since last summer and so doesn’t include the post-52 universe, but it’s still a fantastic read. Written by Robert Schnakenberg it covers the complete history of DC’s comics , dating back to 1935 and the debut issue of Fun magazine – the first comic published by eventual DC founder Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Each cover features a glorious full page poster with a breakdown of the books significance on the back including information about the story, characters, writers and artists. There’s everything in here from the first issue of Detective and Action Comics to the debuts of Batman, Superman and Green Lantern. One of the real highlights though is the pre-Comics Code books of the 1950s with obscure titles such as Mister District Attorney and Strange Adventures - a book which had a strange obsession with stories about scientifically altered gorillas!
It’s a brilliant visual history of DC‘s back catalogue serving as both an education for those who aren’t big fans or a walk down memory lane for those who are. With the breakdown of different titles on the back it’s a great way to remind fans that there is no such thing as a new idea and the notion of common images, themes and stories in comic books is not something new and is a key reason why companies have to keep re-inventing themselves.
As gorgeous as this is in print though, we always think forward to digital and we would love to see this become an app. Just imagine the full screen glossy covers on a retina iPad with the ability to zoom in to every tiny detail. Now that, really is the future of digital publishing completely embracing the past.
Back in September we spoke to artist Peter Krause about his iPad artwork as well as his work on the brilliant Irredeemable from BOOM! Studios. Since then, he has unveiled a fantastic new digital project, Insufferable, which he launched alongside Irredeemable writer Mark Waid via their new website Thrillbent. Telling the story of an aged super-hero and his problematic former sidekick, Insufferable is released weekly via the Thrillbent website, and feature a fantastic mix of gritty superhero story-telling mixed with brilliant and innovative artwork and interactive transitions. We wanted to find out more about how Peter went about putting his story together and just what was involved in this new venture.
As interactive books and comics get more and more sophisticated the boundaries between them are getting even closer. One title which is hoping to blur the lines even more is Bottom of the Ninth by animator Ryan Woodward. Hailing it as the world’s first animated graphic novel (as far as he knows), it combines Ryan’s love of comics, animation and baseball and looks set to be one of the true ground-breaking titles for the iPad in 2012. I got in touch with Ryan as he finished off the final finesses ahead of it’s Summer release and did my best to get to the the bottom of Bottom of the Ninth.
Back in March we spoke to George Lentino, publisher of Moonshot Digital Comics, who was setting out his plan to revolutionise the world of digital comics with “innovative, experimental and down-right fun to read comics”. Well the first title, from that stable, Deluge, is about to be released with the team of film-maker turned writer J.D. Oliva and artist Richard Clark at the helm. After hearing about all the great things that George had planned for his new line of digital comics, I got in touch with J.D. to ask him about his inspiration for Deluge and just what exactly the Moonshot Digital experience entailed.