Digital Comics Embedded in App Video Games

Digital Comics Embedded in App Video Games
D7 Games from the D7 Studios, creators of app games Stan Lee’s The Traveler and Hamster Busboy, have just released their latest downloadable game, Teddy Tumble, available for iOS and Android devices. So why does wordpress.com involve itself in the workings of downloadable game content? Because it’s bringing the world of digital comics with it.

On the surface, Teddy Tumble is a fun-for-all ages mashup of a maze and a ninety-stage multi-level puzzle with an adorable animated teddy bear thrown in. The faster the user spins the washing machine on the touch-screen, the farther up against the wall of the washing machine poor Teddy is flung, all while earning points for gathering detergent, avoiding evil dirt clumps, and hitching a ride on a soap bubble or two. But it is the extra challenge levels that unlock additional content which include six sequential issues of a digital comic book; completing the levels is the only way to continue reading the comics.

“The comic is actually a product of the development team’s own quirky sense of humor,” comments D7 game developer Norman Tran. “We had a concept for bonus content for normal levels, but needed more for our challenge levels. Our artists sketched up the images and one of our developers wrote the accompanying story to give users an added incentive to finish the levels.”

As the technology behind digital comics advances, such as with the recent release of the DC Comics New 52 re-launch which included day-and-date stamping to allow tablet readers to have same-day access to new releases of the print editions, the door will be flung wide open for indie authors to digitally self-publish their graphic novels to more and more devices. As of yet, graphic novelists still don’t have the same access to simplified electronic publishing options that a typical fiction novelists enjoys.

For now, it’s a hopeful sign that Teddy can help further the cause of bringing even more comic book content to iPads, iPhones, and Android devices because it means that half the battle has been won in terms of a worthwhile comics publishing platform. The next step is to bring that capability to the indie authors whose works are not as readily placed in the hands of the reading fans.

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Digital Comics Embedded in App Video Games

Reinventing the Graphic Novel for All Readers

Reinventing the Graphic Novel for All Readers
Many of us remember fondly the pocket-sized comic books of classic works of literature. Those mini precursors to the graphic novel saved a lot of us come final exam time, but they were also a great tool to use in order to understand great writers’ works, to peruse timeless works of literature in order to decide to read the full edition, and to simply be more well-rounded in terms of having been exposed to the classics.

Unfortunately, those great works are out of print and are prohibitively costly when they can be found for sale by a dealer or collector. But an existing comic publisher has expanded its business to include graphical representations of books for older readers.

Toon Books , who has produced award-winning titles for younger readers, announced the growth of Toon Graphics, which will launch with adaptations of novels by Neil Gaiman, Yvan Pommaux, and others. According to an interview by Brigid Alverson with Toon Book’s co-founder Françoise Mouly, the titles will speak to a larger audience while still offering everything that makes graphic novels enticing.

Possibly the most exciting news about Toon Graphics is its focused on education. Where the pocket editions of literary comics were considered a nice diversion in their day, they were certainly not expected to be a classroom reading tool by bibliopurists. But Toon Graphics will not only be aligned with the Common Core standards just as their titles for young readers were, many will also incorporate teacher material and additional information features to make them an excellent classroom resource. This educational focus of the titles, while still not impeding the enjoyment level of the works, makes the books a great investment for classrooms of a variety of age levels.

As more schools receive funding for technology, especially through literacy initiatives that help provide ebooks and devices, and as new platforms for digital comics and digital graphic novels open up, this medium stands to make a tremendous impact. This effect can not only reach literacy ability levels (especially in reluctant readers and at-risk students), but can also stand to improve readers’ attitudes towards reading for pleasure. By removing the “chore” aspect to reading instruction, graphic novels may give rise to a renaissance in reading.

Reinventing the Graphic Novel for All Readers

Barnes and Noble Locks Up DC Comics on the Nook

Barnes and Noble Locks Up DC Comics on the Nook

There was a time when the Kindle Fire had an exclusive relationship with DC Comics and Marvel ones where available on the Nook Color and Tablet. Barnes and Noble has just signed an agreement with DC Comics to provide 100 titles to the B&N online store.

With the addition of DC Entertainment content, Barnes & Noble is also introducing Zoom View, an all-new NOOK Comics feature designed for NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color. Zoom View allows readers to focus in on individual panels in graphic novels and comics, allowing them to fully enjoy the stunning artwork and compelling storytelling that brings this genre to life. Zoom View will be immediately available on all DC Entertainment titles.

Some of the new stuff dropping on the store soon is Graphic novel titles from DC COMICS – THE NEW 52, including Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin, Animal Man Vol. 1: The Hunt, Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls, Justice League International Vol. 1: The Signal Masters, Catwoman Vol. 1: The Game, Green Lantern Vol. 1: Sinestro, Stormwatch Vol. 1: The Dark Side, Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Midas Touch, Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood, and Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death.

Barnes and Noble Locks Up DC Comics on the Nook

Marvel Ultimates Getting a Reboot

Marvel Ultimates Getting a Reboot

A couple of days ago we speculated that Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man might be coming to an end, and with it the career of the current wearer of the Spidey suit, Miles Morales.

Well, yes and no. It turns out that Marvel is rebooting the whole Ultimate Comics line, but Miles Morales stays—in fact, he gets his own title, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man.

There’s a lot more to the Ultimate Comics reboot than that, though.

Marvel created the Ultimates line back in 2000 as a way to push the limits of superhero stories and experiment with new storylines. It’s a newer universe with less tangled continuity so it’s friendly to new readers, and when someone dies in the Ultimates comics, they stay dead. They have already had a couple of relaunches, in 2009 and 2011.

The current event in the Ultimates universe is Cataclysm, a crossover event in which the villain Galactus comes over from the standard Marvel universe, and Miles Morales and the Ultimate Reed Richards cross over to the other side to try to stop him. Marvel editors have indicated that the Cataclysm story will leave the Ultimate universe changed forever.

This week, Marvel announced that once Cataclysm ends, there will be three new Ultimate titles. All-New Ultimates, by Michel Fiffe and Amilcar Pinna, will debut in April with a new crime-fighting team composed of Spider-Man, Black Widow (the former Spider-Woman), Kitty Pryde, Bombshell, and Cloak & Dagger. Next up is Ultimate FF, where the FF stands for Future Foundation, not the Fantastic Four; the lead characters will be Sue Storm, Tony Stark, Machine Man and Sam Wilson, and the series will be written by Fialkov and illustrated by Mario Guevara. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man completes the set, and while we are assured that the Cataclysm events have left Miles a changed man, the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Dave Marquez remains intact.

“We look at the opportunity ‘Cataclysm’ gave us to reset the board,” writer Joshua Hale Fialkov told ABC News, “and do some really cool stuff with the characters.” Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso was blunter: “The Ultimate (universe) benefits from a good, old kick in the butt.”

Marvel Ultimates Getting a Reboot

DC Comics from Comixology No Longer Available for the Kindle Fire

DC Comics from Comixology No Longer Available for the Kindle Fire

Comixology has confirmed that their app designed for the Amazon Kindle Fire will no longer offer DC Comics. This is not a short term bug; Comixology CEO David Steinberger said the move was intentional. Non-disclosure agreements prevented both sides from commenting publicly about the situation.

The main reason why DC Comics was pulled from the Comixology app was due to Amazon and DC’s relationship. In November, Amazon launched their digital comic store and at the launch made a deal with DC to have their digital relaunch titles and back issues stocked in the store before it went live. DC apparently is apparently garnering better sales with its comics sold on the main Amazon website than with Comixology.

If you are absolutely fiending for your DC fix, Comixilogy offers the comics on iOS, Android, and the PC. They have one of the largest ecosystems and have deals with every major and indie publishing company to sell their digital comics.

DC Comics from Comixology No Longer Available for the Kindle Fire

Fantastic Four Comic Series Cancelled Due to Squabble with FOX

Fantastic Four Comic Series Cancelled Due to Squabble with FOX

The Fantastic Four is known as the First Family in comic book circles. The Fantastic Four was the first superhero team created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby back in 1961. FF4 has been experiencing dragging sales in the last few years, despite attempts to reboot the series.  We now have it on good authority that the series is coming to an end in June 2015.

Disney and FOX has been going head to head in the Marvel cinematic universe for quite awhile. FOX has the movie rights to X-Men, Deadpool and the word “mutants”, which is why your will never hear this uttered in any of the films Disney creates. FOX also has rights to the Fantastic Four and will be releasing a reboot of the series in mid 2015, and Marvel does not want to promote it at all. This has prompted the comic book company to suspend production of the Fantastic Four comic for over a year.

The destruction of the Fantastic Four to not promote the upcoming Fox movie is reverberating across the industry. Diamond Select Toys were told by Disney that they can’t make any new toys if they feature Mr Fantastic, the Invisible Women, Thing, the Human Torch, Doctor Doom, Galactus, Silver Surfer, the Watcher or Skrulls.

When it comes to bookstore distribution, this is primarily handled by Hachette.  They only handle graphic novels now and abandoned single issue distribution in 2013.  The last graphic novel will come out in June and is entitled Fantastic Four: The End Is Fourever. “THE END IS FOUREVER! Witness the closing act on the First Family of the Marvel Universe! THE INVADERS meet the FANTASTIC FOUR as the hunt for REED RICHARDS and the missing kids of the FUTURE FOUNDATION continues. Meanwhile the mastermind behind everything unveils his ultimate plan. But how does FRANKLIN RICHARDS factor in? And how does this all lead to…The END?! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #642-644 and the Triple Sized Final Issue 645!”

I think its very interesting that Marvel would rather give up one of their oldest ongoing franchises just to stick it to FOX. Likely, we will see no more comics featuring the FF4 to be produced until well after the DVD will be released sometime in 2016.

Fantastic Four Comic Series Cancelled Due to Squabble with FOX

Comixology Disables Purchases on iOS

Comixology Disables Purchases on iOS

Just weeks after Amazon purchased Comixology the comic book company has released a new app for iOS that disables the ability to purchase new content. The read only app encourages users to buy comics from the Comixology website instead of one click purchases.

ComiXology recommends that their users back up their purchases through their ComiXology account and to download the new app to continue reading. The new app is entitled Comics – Read Comic Books & Graphic Novels by comiXology. If users resist updating the app you will still be able to read your issues for a limited time, but will be disabled soon. The Marvel and DC Comics apps, which are powered by ComiXology, appear to be unaffected.

Amazon must have looked at Comixology’s books and realized how much money Apple was making on each comic purchase. Whenever someone buys a single issue Apple nets 30% of each transaction. When Apple originally implemented this policy Amazon immediately disabled the ability to buy eBooks via their own iOS apps. Phasing out Apple will put more money into the Comixology, Amazon and the publishers pockets. ComiXology hopes to “ease this transition” by offering a $5 credit to comiXology users, which will automatically be applied to accounts today. Customers using the Android Comics app can still purchase comics through it, but now it will be through a new comiXology in-app purchase system rather than through Google Play.

Comixology Disables Purchases on iOS