This post is the second in a two-part series on comiXology’s impact on the comics industry in light of its 200 millionth digital comic download.
As I discussed yesterday, digital comics seller comiXology has established itself as a major player in comics distribution.
It offers new and old readers opportunities to discover new comics without needing to have access to a comic book store.
Just as importantly, comiXology makes digital reading its own unique experience.
In anticipation of last week’s New York Comic Con, comiXology announced it was releasing a number of new Guided View Native comics that utilized the app’s design for panel-to-panel viewing.
Guided View technology makes comics easier to view on a mobile device. Rather than displaying an entire page of a comic at a time (as comiXology’s standard view does), Guided View mode displays one or a few panels at a time, as though it were following a reader’s eye movement.
Although I prefer the standard page view for reading on a tablet because I want to see the full layout of every page, but in my limited experience with Guided View, I have found it very well designed.
I never thought reading a comic on a phone would be anything less than a chore, but the Guided View mode makes it possible and even enjoyable.
Guided View Native comics use Guided View technology to give comics an animated quality.
For example, DC’s Batman ’66, inspired by the 1960s Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, uses Guided View to make the comic feel more like the show by adding movement to its transitions from panel to panel.
The most similar experience I can think of to reading a Guided View Native comic is seeing an animated storyboard for a movie or TV show.
For an explanation of how a Guided View Native comic works, watch this video review of Batman ’66 #1 from Comicbook Time.
Digital issues of Batman ’66 are released every Wednesday. Every four digital issues are released in one print issue.
With Guided View Native issues, comiXology has made digital comics a distinctly different reading experience than print. Rather than being a substitute for print comics, these digital comics are a largely different product.
In addition to creating a new experience for readers, the digital-first comics market has made self-publishing much more accessible for comic creators.
ComiXology CEO David Steinberger and CTO John D. Roberts, along with writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Joe Infurnari, creators of the digital comic series The Bunker, held a panel discussion at New York Comic Con about the company’s comiXology Submit program. Submit, launched in March, allows creators to pitch comics directly to the company to be reviewed for publication and sale on the site.
The Bunker is among the comics published through Submit. The program is non-exclusive, so it allows creators to sell their work through other platforms in addition to comiXology.
Submit allows creators to bypass traditional publishing channels and the financial risks that come with self-publishing one’s issues and books.
“While digital-first is somewhat new, the kind of process we’re going through, this is the future,” said Fialkov. “This is how things are going to be. The floppy comic model is becoming unfeasible. It’s really hard to make money. When I ran a small press, I only made money through relationships and knowing publishers. Now you don’t have to worry about that stuff.”
Digital-first publishing also allows creators to spend less time between finishing a work and publishing it because costs of printing and distribution are decreased.
Infurnani said the time frame for comic creation, which can take up to two years, can be shortened to give creators “instant gratification.”
Submit has succeeded in attracting creators. Roberts informed the panel audience that Submit is the 10th largest publisher on comiXology with 330 series and new ones being released every week.
Many writers and artists dream of working in comics, and with the relative ease of digital publishing, many more will be able to than before.
And getting new creative voices into the comics world is every bit as important as getting new readers.