My new issue of Knowledge Quest (the official journal of the American Association of School Librarians) has an article on digital graphic novels, a format I haven’t though much about. There are web comics I follow (I love Unshelved), and some of them have even gone to print editions, but that seems a little different than a graphic novel. When I’ve looked at heavily illustrated books on Kindle or Nook, I haven’t been impressed. But the author discussed a very cool platform for digital comics, called ComiXology, which you probably already know about if you are a big comics reader. But if you aren’t, this might just get you hooked.
First, ComiXology started out as a tool for retailers, to help them promote print comic books, and they still have a commitment to working with retailers so they get revenue from sales of comics sold through them, so you can set up your order through this site or buy through them and still be supporting your local comic book store. I think that’s pretty cool. Second, they have created not just a catalog but a space for a community of comics lovers to discuss and review comics, and it’s free to do so, without extraneous annoying advertisements. Presumably, if you are a member you’re there to discuss and buy comics so ComiXology’s own promotions won’t bother you, and there aren’t any others. They also have free comics, a nice feature that the author of the article I read mentioned… one of them for this week is Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things #1. Third, they have some pretty great partnerships and relationships with comics publishers, including DC, Marvel, and BOOM! Studios, so there’s a wide variety of comics available and ways to access them, which I won’t go into except that there are apps, and you want more details you can read about it here.
What’s fun for me, in terms of promoting horror through a variety of media, is that if you start from ComiXology’s home page for digital comics, there’s a “Browse” tab with a drop down menu that allows you to search in a variety of ways, including series, publisher, creator, story arc, top rated, and GENRE. And one of the genres you can explore is horror. I didn’t wander around much there but just on the first page I saw 28 Days Later, 30 Days of Night, and American Vampire, all of which we’ve reviewed here. The newest issue of The Walking Dead was a featured comic, too. There’s a lot going on out there not just in the world of ebooks, but in the comics world as well, and the arguments as to whether there’s a legitimate place for digital comics will, I’m sure, continue.
After a brief look, I know I’m probably intrigued enough to download the app and try a free comic, at the very least, to see what the reading experience is like. I’d love to hear what you think about the rise of digital comics, or ComiXology!