Pipedream Comic logoAccording to market analysts Comichron and ICv2, the comics industry hit a 20 year high for graphic novel and comic book sales in 2014, with digital comics now comprising a whopping 10% of the US and Canadian market.  The report, published by Comichron’s John Jackson Miller and ICv2’s Milton Griepp estimate total comics and graphic novel sales to consumers in the U.S. and Canada reached $935 million in 2014, a 7% increase over sales in 2013 – and the highest it’s been since the heady days of the mid-1990s!

Ninety years ago today, celebrated writer Franz Kafka passed away from tuberculosis before finishing his final novel. Today SelfMadeHero marks his anniversary by releasing Franz Kafka’s The Castle, David Zane Mairowitz and Jaromír 99’s graphic novel  adaptation via SEQUENTIAL.

Digital comics are much more than just superheroes in capes or cute talking animals, they can actually be educational too! Thanks to a new alliance between global digital comics giant ComiXology and Zenith Press, a leading publisher of military history and aviation books, US history to set to come to life for millions to digital comic lovers via a raft of new titles on the globe-spanning digital storefront. 

Sequential – the literary graphic novel iPad app, is having a special promotion on Graphic Novels from Britain, as part of which they’re reducing the price of acclaimed graphic novel VerityFair by Terry Wiley from $9.99 to just 99 cents (69p!) until the end of September.

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.

It’s been a busy week for the big two, with a couple of major announcements from each company. First up was the appearance of a new dedicated area in the Apple iBooks Store for Marvel Graohic novels. A handful of titles have been available for a while now, but with this announcement and it’s appearance on the front of the iBooks store it’s a major move for Marvel. Their relationship with Apple has been every strong over the years, with their iPad app one of the showcase titles at the launch of the the first iPad back in 2008. However they have taken a bit of a back seat in the world of individual digital issues since then with Dc really leading the way thanks to their prominent position with their dedicated store on the ComiXology app. Perhaps this is a reflection of the House of M’s long term strategy for digital content on the iPad, preferring to prioritise collections rather than individual issues. If that is the case then there aren’t many better places to develop that plan than in the iBooks store.

Currently there is a good, but not comprehensive, collection of titles on there, featuring all your favourite Marvel characters and some classic titles like Marvel Zombies and Mark Millar’s Ultimates at the competitive prices of £5.49 per volume. Alongside these are more recent titles such as Dan Slott’s recent Spiderman books and Brian Bendis’ New Avengers, however how regularly these are updated and filled with new content has yet to be seen. And it will be interesting to see if other publishers follow Marvels lead and join up with Apple.

Meanwhile, DC have not been resting on their laurels and have released a new app showcasing their Vertigo imprint. As is the case with a lot of other title specific apps (Walking Dead, Transformers etc) it is just a re-skinned version of the Comics app, however it is loaded with some of the best titles of the past 25 years. Already on there are complete runs of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Garth Ennis’ Preacher and Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan alongside more recent titles like Adam Hughes and Bill Willingham’s Fables and Mike Allred’s iZombie. As with the main app there is a great section outlining which books are worth checking out and so If you’ve never read any of these infamous titles then this is a great way to check them out and really shows how great the digital medium is as a way to collect classic comics together in one place.