Classics Illustrated on iPad Shows Digital Brings New Life to Old Comics

It’s a conundrum, that it’s easier to make money from old comics than new ones, because the costs are less (the work already exists, so no creative payments, and often no royalties), and there is a brand new market available with digital. iPad users, in particular, have shown a willingness to pay for all kinds of entertainment on their tablets. Companies putting material out for iOS (which also includes the iPhone and iPod Touch, but the bigger iPad screen is much better suited to comics) do have some programming and processing costs, but they’re minimal, especially if you have a large backlog of illustrated stories ready to sell.

Which brings me to Classics Illustrated, that venerable brand name now available digitally from Trajectory. They’ve put over 120 of the “graphic novels” (really thick comic issues) based on classic literature into the Apple iBookstore, priced at $4.99 each. (The Juniors are $1.99.) Trajectory has licensed the worldwide digital distribution rights from First Classics (so these comics are different from the currently running Papercutz Classics Illustrated in print). They’re created this trailer, showing panels from The Three Musketeers, the first of the series:

Of course, no artist credit is given in the promotional materials, although the Grand Comics Database lists art by Malcolm Kildale. From that source, I also find out that this issue is 62 pages, which seems short given the $5 price.

The digital series is also available for the Barnes & Noble Nook and from the Kobo eBookstore. (Kobo used to be associated with Borders, but now it’s aiming for an “open-standards platform”. Which strikes me as trying to make lemonade out of the lemon of your partner going out of business.)

One Response to “Classics Illustrated on iPad Shows Digital Brings New Life to Old Comics”

  1. Jim Perreault Says:

    Interesting choice for the promo, given that all the Three Musketeers books are available for free on Project Gutenberg.

    I agree, although thicker than today’s comics, Classics Illustrated are way too short to be considered a Graphic Novel.





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