This year, digital is making waves in the comics scene. So it was great to hear it from the horse’s mouth at Comic-Con 2012: David Steinberger, CEO of ComiXology and John D Roberts, co-founder, were on hand to tell us all about what’s next for digital comics.
Read about the future of comic books after the jump!
The introduction was brief. This is ComiXology’s5-year anniversary and they have some great specials out now. For the first time the Simpsons comics are available digitally through their platform and they were proud to announce Abrams joined them digitally. This latest acquisition broadens their scope into more literary comics. They’re hoping to continue to draw a new audience.
The ComiXology duo then gave a brief history of the company.
In 2006, they came together wanting to track their own comics library and keep track of what was coming out in stores. They now had an idea for a company and they entered a NYU business plan competition. In 2008 the iPhone changed their pull list app to what we now know as ComiXology. In 2009 they launched their retailer service and they launched their own retail side with about 100 comics. 2010 was a big year, and they launched the DC and Marvel apps and the iPad came out as well as their release on the Android platform. Finally, last year was the Kindle Fire release and they were embedded on the device.
New this year, they have a Windows 8 app with a metro design. Books are listed in alphabetical order and buying for the cloud will be a new experience.
The questions came next.
Would ComiXology be selling Dark Horse books? They would love to sell Dark Horse comics. Though they respect the desire to create a beautiful book, they also want to bring comics to the masses for reading as well.
Why does ComiXology use the file format they do? The file format serves the customer and brings the best content in the best way for the consumer.
Will self-publishers get their own platform to publish their work? They are working on a solution, but they can’t reveal anything now. ComiXology wants to expand the market and bring other readers to the bigger companies too. They don’t want creators to have to prove themselves. When they can get the platform right they will bring us the solution.
Will they be adding things like audio and other additional content? Digital comics opens the door to make comics in new ways, so ComiXology is constantly looking for new ways to present comics.
Why are digital comics aping print comics in terms of content? ComiXology’s initial response was that Marvel and DC are doing digital-only initiatives and that’s how they’re bringing different content to market. Which is to say, “This is how we make money…”. Then the real core of the answer came: that they are working with Monkeybrain to test alternative stories. The bottom line is they have to pick books that will make money and draw people to the site. The same with 3D comics. They need to prove that the cost will be recouped in sales. They are still a business, and they will make content decisions based on fulfilling a business model.
The last question concerned oversea markets and plans for releasing content there. ComiXology confirmed they do indeed want to reach international markets.
Not very spicy, but an informative panel. I’m sure we will see more great things from the company in the near future.