Returning for day two of Wizard World Texas, the first panel I attended was iVerse Media: The Future of Digital Comics. iVerse Media has recently launched a new application for viewing comics on the iPhone and iPod Touch. I’ve got an iPhone 3G and clearly dig comics, so this panel was right up my alley.
A few days ago, I downloaded Ardden Entertainment’s Flash Gordon for iVerse on the iPhone. I have to say, having tried a number of other comic apps for the iPhone, iVerse blows the others away. It’s easy, the artwork engineered for the device. It is quite cool.
iVerse Media currently offers 10 titles through the Apple App Store. Four of these titles are free. The remaining cost 99-cents each. They have had these titles available in the app store for 5-days. In those five days, they have had more than 10,000 downloads.
“People are trying comics on the iPhone.”
Each comic is downloaded as an individual app. The iVerse comics reader engine is essentially invisible in the background. Thus, a Flash Gordon icon is on my iPhone, not an iVerse icon. The reasoning for this is simple: No barrier of entry. You don’t have to know about iVerse to find the comics you’re interested in reading. It allows for cross promotion and – hopefully – will help new readers find comics.
iVerse has numerous partners with whom they are working to bring comic content to the iPhone: Ardden Entertainment, Antarctic Press, Bluewater Productions, Image, Frazetta Comics, Ape Entertainment, IDW, Moonstone, and others are being added all the time.
Further, the folks at iVerse are eager to review comic submissions. Details can be found on their site.
This app is awfully cool. If you’re an iPhone or iPod Touch user, check it out. I highly recommend Flash Gordon, BTW.
That wasn’t the only iPod app I saw demo’d at the con, either. Tony Salvaggio has developed a sharp zombie shoot-em-up for the iPhone called Aim for the Brain. I got to play a bit of the beta version, blowing heads off of undead scum. Freakin’ zombies. Tony expects it to hit the App Store in just a few weeks.
Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo hosted a panel – Director’s Commentary: The Joker Hardcover. The book, which came out this past week, had its origins in 2006 and was finished this past March. The book was not influenced at all by the recent film, according to Bermejo and Azzarello. They were “completely independent of the film.”
When determining the point of view of the book, Azzarello stated that he was guided by the principle that you should never know what Joker is thinking. The moment you know what he’s thinking, he’s not nearly so scary.
Azzarello wanted to explore why anyone would ever join Joker’s gang? Those guys end up dead all the time, right? Not exactly a long-term career choice.
Azzarello went on to say that he is most influenced by the newspaper. He reads three of them every day. “Lots of endings in the newspaper.”
When asked what comics Azzarello likes to read, the moderator suggested: “Anything that comes in the comp box.”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Azzarello corrected. He went on to praise Scalped and Northlanders among others.
Discussing his thoughts around Batman villains, Azzarello explained: “Batman’s villains work the best when you can be them.” Joker has no special powers. He’s a pyschopath. Killer Croc is a guy with a skin condition. You could be any of these guys. Batman’s the same, he said. “If you had a billion dollars and some self-discipline, you could be Batman.”
Bermejo was asked what genre he’d like to work in that he hasn’t already done. “Fantasy. Not like Lord of the Rings. Darker. Like Mad Max.”
Describing the relationship between writer and artist, Bermejo described it as a marriage. When it’s going good, it’s going good.
As the DCU: Crisis and Beyond panel got started, DC Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler greeted me. “Good to see you again, Economy-Guy.” He was referring to the question I asked yesterday that he disliked so much.
“I hope you brought some new questions today, Economy-Guy.”
The panel was staffed by Sattler, DC Sales VP Bob Wayne, Shane Davis, Matt Sturges, Rags Morales, Ethan Van Sciver, Billy Tucci, and Editor Elisabeth Gehrlein.
Matt Sturges will be writing the post-Final Crisis story Run!, which will feature a pivotal super-villain character from Final Crisis as the central character. Sattler said the book will be surprising with three-water-cooler-moments in every issue.
Freddie Williams will handle the art.
“It will kick total ass,” Sattler announced.
On the subject of Final Crisis, the conversation turned once-again to the confusing nature of the story. Since the audience at the DC Nation panel on Friday seemed to have consensus that the books are incomprehensible, I asked if there was a story bible for guys like Sturges who have to write in the Final Crisis aftermath.
Sattler assured the crowd that the writers at least understand what’s going on. That was the last question he took from me, by the way.
Someone suggested that perhaps Cliff’s Notes could be provided for all Morrison titles.
Van Sciver seemed a bit peeved at the suggestion that Final Crisis is difficult to “get” and asked: “What doesn’t make sense?”
The guy across from me answered, “I read English. I understand the words on the page. I don’t understand the way in which they are arranged. Superman Beyond was incomprehensible to me.”
“It makes sense in 3D,” Sattler assured. He and Gehrlein both went on to say that the series is very dense, compressed. The pay off is at the end.
Bob Wayne stated that no decision has yet been made about how to format the Final Crisis trade, whether to include Superman Beyond in the book or not.
Lots of Black Adam in 2009 starting in January in the JSA Faces of Evil tie-in.
Batman R.I.P. occurs perpendicular to Final Crisis.
“Last Days of Animal Man” is coming soon.
Sattler admitted that he did not know if Jim Shooter will stick with DC after his Legion of Super Heroes run is complete.
Sattler pointed to Green Arrow as the most important character of 2009, while Gehrlein maintained that it would be Brainiac.
Bob Wayne announced that our friends in Canada can expect a price-point switch next week.
John Cassaday led a panel called Director’s Commentary: Astonishing X-Men in which he described his experience illustrating the title and collaborating with series writer Joss Whedon. He and Joss had synergy, Cassaday said. “Joss would say that he’d write a sentence and I’d draw him a paragraph.”
“What was your inspiration for the White Queen?” Someone asked.
“I went to high school,” Cassaday answered, “I knew a lot of bitches.”
When asked if he and Whedon are considering future projects, “Yes, but something not-comics first.”
He declined to elaborate on what that might be.
Whedon has asked him to draw for the season 8 Buffy series, but Cassaday is too busy for that at the moment. Whedon has offered him a standing invitation.
The last panel I attended for the day, was the Dynamite Entertainment discussion led by Nick Barrucci with Matt Wagner, John Cassaday, and Frank Cho. Dynamite does a great deal of licensed work. Matt Wagner, who handles just about all the chores over on Zorro, described some of the challenges in working with the licensor.
On Zorro, he frequently butts heads with the woman managing the license. She’s a 50-year-old woman who lacks the sensitivity of the medium, Wagner said. “She doesn’t want the bad guys to be too very bad. Does he have to cut off fingers, she asked.”
Nick Barrucci stated that he recently met with Sony to obtain the license for Green Hornet. He is attempting to secure both the comic license for the upcoming movie as well as the classic license. He went on to state that he’d love to have the Elric of Melnibone license, but Moorcock’s attorney hasn’t returned calls.
It was a day full of panels.
My butt’s sore.