Deadpool The Gauntlet 2 coverWhen it comes to the world of Infinite comics there are certain characters who fit the slightly quirky world of Guided View better than other. Just as there are certain artists who seem to embrace and thrive in this new digital environment. Perhaps the perfect combination of character and artist that we have seen this year has been Wade ‘Deadpool’ Wilson and Power Play artist Reilly Brown in Marvel’s Deadpool: The Gauntlet. To find out more about this perfect match we contacted Reilly to find out more about his time with The Merc With The Mouth.

Captain Stone is Missing 1 cover (Madefire)It’s been an amazing year for digital comics and after a fortnight of frantic voting on Facebook, we are proud to announce that the winner of the inaugural Pipedream Comics Digital Comic of the Year 2012′ is ‘Captain Stone is Missing‘ by Liam Sharp, Christina McCormack and the team at Madefire.

What we said about Captain Stone:
“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, and a mean and moody soundtrack…. it has become one of the most sophisticated digital titles around.”

What the winners said…
“Myself, Christina and all at Madefire are delighted that Captain Stone is Missing… has been voted digital comic of the year! 2012 proved to be the year that digital storytelling came of age, and we faced some genuinely stiff competition. Congratulations to all the other story teams that made the top ten list, and here’s to more good things in 2013!”
— Liam Sharp, CCO Madefire, writer/artist of Captain Stone

The final standings
1.    Captain Stone is Missing (MadeFire)   379 votes
2.    Powerplay (Kurt Christenson/Reilly Brown173 votes
3.    Kickback (Panel Nine) 91 votes
4.    Double Barrel (Top Shelf Comix) 26 votes
5.    Upgrade Soul (Opertoon) 21 votes
6=   Treatment Tokyo (MadeFire) 9 votes
6=   Insufferable (Thrillbent) 9 votes
8.    Aesops Ark (MonkeyBrain) 8 votes
9.    Avengers vs. X-Men Infinite (Marvel) 6 votes
10.  Bottom of the Ninth (Ryan Woodward) 2 votes

For details on the full shortlist you can find out more here

This weeks we’re going to celebrate the diversity of digital comics with two titles that could not be more different, but each of which exemplify what is so great about the medium.

First up is Avengers vs X-Men #10 aka the 3rd Marvel Infinite title. Written by digital comics godfather Mark Waid and with art by Pipedream Comics favourite Reilly ‘Powerplay‘ Brown it features the kind of boombast and spectacle that comes from Marvel’s two top super teams duking it out in a summer crossover epic. Digital specific books often benefit from action rather than subtlety and AvsX #10 delivers this is spades thanks to Brown’s manga tinged artwork and his smart panel designs that he has clearly been honing in Powerplay. With a neat three tiered story that has Scarlet Witch simulating battle scenarios between the Avengers team and the Phoenix possessed Cyclops we get to see all three scenarios play out simultaneously with characters shifting in and out of shots simultaneously with some very neat transitions, giving the whole book an epic, cinematic feel. Brown still has some tricks up his sleeve for the talking head scenes though, and his use of layered pages (rather than sequential panels) along with clever use of eyes moving and heads turning within otherwise static panels give the book an animated feel, without taking away from the comic-ness of them. The balancing act of digital cleverness vs. readability is a always a tricky one but Waid and Brown and co do an excellent job here and have definitely created the best of the Infinite books so far.

At the other end of the spectrum is Thoughts from a Winter Morning by Kurt Busiek and Steve Lieber. Published by MonkeyBrain Comics, there are no superhero slugfests or sophisticated digital trickery in this book, just a man,  a dog and his memories.  This autobiographical ‘slice of life’ book is a sublime slice of Americana that sees Busiek reminisce on childhood past and look forward to the future with the story brilliantly realised by Steve Lieber’s expert linework and subtle use of colour.

In days gone by this would simply have been one of many entries in an anthology that relied on Busiek’s name value (along with several others) to get it solicited and published. (In fact that was how this story first existed in NEGATIVE BURN published in 2004). However thanks to the growth of digital and the opportunities it now gives to smaller publishers like MonkeyBrain to release personal and intimate books without worrying about solicitation and distribution, it can now get to exist as its own entity and enjoyed as such. Sure it helps that it is written by a name talent like Busiek but for every book like this that does, it helps make it possible for other MonkeyBrain titles (like the brilliant Masks And Mobsters, also released this week) to get attention. And it is that open market where quality has room to breathe which is as exciting in the world of digital comics as the large scale advances at Marvel Infinite.

Both Avengers vs. X-Men #10 and Thoughts From A Winter Morning are available on ComiXology

Power Play comic coverWe’re huge fans of digital comic Power Play here at Pipedream Comics and it was one of our first nominations for the Pipedream Pull List back in October. With it’s mix of super heroes and X games style action this digital only title published exclusively on Comixology, it pushed the boundaries of what writers and artists were doing with the medium of digital comics (plus it was pretty darn funny too!) and we’ve been eagerly waiting a second issue ever since. So wondering just what was going on we got in touch with writer Kurt Christenson and artist Reilly Brown to out just when the Power Play crew would be leaping back on to our tablets!

Power Play comic coverThis week’s must-have is the brilliant Powerplay by Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown. A lot of comics claim to have embraced the world of digital, but they only go as far as same day print and digital. The boys on Powerplay have taken it one step further and have actually designed the comic to maximise the iPad’s interactivity. Rather than the standard left to right scrolling of panels, Powerplay takes the panel by panel approach of ComiXology and takes it to its logical conclusion by getting rid of individual pages all together and just letting you scroll through one panel at a time. Now this might not seem the best way to read a book, but it’s been designed so that in key places in the story panels begin blend together to give it a simple animated feel which is just awesome. Check out the scene where Mac turns to gold and Kris cuts off his hair between panels 28 and 37 to see what I mean.