Sequential is the brilliant new digital comics app from Panel Nine, the team behind deluxe graphic novels like Verity Fair and Dapper John. Taking those titles, and putting them under one handy storefront, alongside books from other small UK publishers like Knockabout, Myriad and Blank Slate, it’s a fantastic way for out of print titles from comics legends like David Lloyd, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland to reach a new digital audience. Keen to find out more about this unique app we contacted publisher Russell Willis to ask him for the lowdown on this new venture and how it was set to take on the might of ComiXology!
Today sees the launch of the latest project from digital publisher Russell Willis (Panel Nine) - a digital graphic novel platform known as Sequential. Available to download from the iTunes Store Sequential offers readers a one-stop storefront to download works from writers like Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Eddie Campbell Brian Bolland, Hunt Emerson and more. Familliar Panel Nine titles like Dapper John, Kickback and The Certified Hunt Emerson are now available in one place, instead of as standalone apps, which makes for a great way to enjoy all these fantastic titles on your iPad.
Speaking to Paul Gravett at the app’s advanced preview, Publisher Russell Willis had this to say “I have always been fascinated by graphic novels and sequential art… It seems that I am now in the right place and this is the right time to do something to help promote accessible, intelligent, entertaining and life-enhancing graphic novels and sequential art… “
Sequential uses the same deluxe graphic novel approach that we have seen with previous Panel Nine products, and looks to be another hit and a great way for comics fans to enjoy titles from legendary authors on their iPads.
The latest comic book to get the ‘Deluxe Digital Graphic Novel’ treatment from developers Panel Nine is Terry Wiley’s 2008 book Verity Fair. Telling the story of wannabe starlet Verity Bourneville (aka Tracey Perkins) and her various misadventures, from working in a fish shop to trying to make it as an actress. This is much more than just a ‘slice of life‘ Brit comic as Wiley’s captures the nuances of this eclectic 40-year old expertly. Creating a character who is both wildly entertaining and poignantly tragic in equal measures which in turn makes her a heroine whose stories are endlessly readable, whatever the format.
This 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.
When it comes to digital comics, it is easy to focus on the new and cutting edge, however, it is also a fantastic medium for rediscovering the past. The Certified Hunt Emerson app is the latest release from Panel Nine, the company who released the audio graphic novels Kickback and Dapper John and who’s publisher, Russell Willis, we have spoken to on the site previously. The Certified Hunt Emerson collection brings together a selection of this infamous British ‘comix’ artist’s work into one place and gives the audience a unique insight into each page thanks to Emerson’s own audio commentary and introductions to each piece which gives the work. Unfortunately there aren’t audio tracks for every strip and you can’t scroll between pages while the tracks play, which is a shame, but it still helps to give the respective pages a fantastic insight as you hear about their intricacies from the man himself.
This week sees the release of INFINITY the first magazine dedicated to digital graphic novels and comics. Produced by publisher Russell Willis and the team at Panel Nine (who we interviewed back in May) a free to download Preview issue is now available via iTunes and as a subscription on Apple Newsstand. INFINITY contains roundups of the latest digital comics as well as features and interviews with creatives such as Eddie Campbell, David Lloyd and PJ Holden, discussing everything from reviving their old content for a new generation to dealing with the strict rules brought down by Apple in this new digital age.
In a previous life, INFINITY was a small press comics fanzine in the 80s published by Willis, but he’s swapped his photocopier for an iPad and relaunched INFINITY for the digital age with this free to download preview and a first issue proper available in September
When asked about the launch of INFINITY Willis commented: “Digital delivery is a huge part of the future of comics and we’re launching INFINITY to cover things as they develop, debate the key issues such as user experience, platforms and pricing, interview the key players, and provide a guide for people to the good stuff. Appropriately the magazine is specially designed for the iPad, and contains audio, video and Panel Nine’s “Panel Mode” presentation of digital comics.”