- Posted by Johanna on July 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
It’s been a year since I looked at all the digital distributors, so I thought — especially with the various announcements coming out of convention season — now was a good time to check in.
Comixology still clearly rules the roost, with the most participating publishers. They’re also responsible for the individual apps for DC and Marvel, and they provide comics almost everywhere (iOS, Android, web). They haven’t had many major announcements lately, with the most recent news being a DC app for Android. Nice feature: any comic bought through Comixology is available through any of their apps.
Graphicly is still hanging in there, with major steps accomplished over the past year. In addition to the comics they offer (many major publishers, but no DC), they’ve developed iPhone, iPad, and Android apps, and an Adobe Air desktop application. They’re also the only provider of Marvel on Android. While Comixology connects up pull lists and retailers, Graphicly emphasizes community features, with iFanboy communities and postings.
Most recently, they announced interactive extras for digital comics. As they say in their press release, “comic stories can be accompanied by audio, video, interactive games, and other extra features that are easily accessible from within the comic book on the Web, desktop, and recently-released Web-based comic reader widget.” Of course, this depends on the publisher setting up such things, but Graphicly says they’ve incorporated enhancement strategies based on what creators wanted. Readers can “truly experience the creator’s entire vision and become completely immersed in the story’s universe.” Samples so far include Top Cow’s Artifacts #1, which has an audio commentary, and Halo8’s Godkiller, which has a matching video.
This is a potential strategy to set the company apart from their competitors, but at some point, I question when the resulting product is no longer a comic. I’m also not sure why this is news, since they were talking about commentaries being available last August. Oh, it seems that now the extras are visible within the website, as well as the desktop app.
iVerse has come back big time by being selected as the Diamond Digital distributor. That will send a certain amount of traffic their way, although it remains to be seen how successful that project is.
Comics+, their flagship app, is still only available on iOS (iPad, iPhone) and the various iVerse websites are hopelessly out of date. Their Android information, for example, is dated early 2009, and there’s no mention whether they still offer or a support a version on that platform.
And the Rest
Panelfly went defunct, only to announce a recent return “as a multimedia app for smartphones and tablets”. Panelfly Prime, an updated comic app, is due next month with Panelfly Plus following in October, adding “videos, news, and social media, as well as original content” for both iOS and Android tablets and phones. They recently developed the promotional iPad Burn Notice app. Lots of popular buzzwords, but it remains to be seen how well they execute on the plan. It’s easy to say what you want to do, hard to make it happen and succeed.
It also remains to be seen how many multimedia connections an online comic fan wants. Maybe they just want to read comics?
Longbox … still doesn’t exist in any functional form. They’ve provided minimal updates (three) this year, with no information since May. They’re beginning to look like the Duke Nukem of digital comics.