A New Experience
Comics XP is a new website that wants to be the premiere distribution hub for comics online. It’s clear from their site that not only will they work to bring as many comic titles as possible to the web but as many people as possible to read them. The site boasts a weekly Ezine, free to subscribers that will be filled with industry news and articles about the titles in their ever-growing library. What else do we know about Comics XP?
We know the site is a bit bare and their software isn’t in beta yet. We know this because instead of launching full bore with guns a blazin’, Comics XP has chosen to make the launching process public and transparent with their status updates accessible through their forum. It’s certainly an unconventional approach, especially in these fast-paced, strike while the iron is hot, times where if word of your “next big thing” gets out you run the risk that someone else with the know how and a faster crew can beat you to the punch.
So which punch is Comics XP throwing? The concept of eComics isn’t a new one; Marvel has been distributing its comics online for a fee since Nov 2007. Independent publishers have been releasing .PDF downloads for years. DC’s got Zuda and iVerse has comics on the iPhone and now the Google Android. It’s hard to know without more information and something better than a thumbnail image to figure out what Comics XP wants to do with their comic reader software.
Here’s what I hope Comics XP (or any of the other hopefuls on the digital comics frontier) will be able to give me :
· A universal file format or one that can be converted easily with their software or website (.cbr, .cbz, etc…)
· A catalog that includes my favorite titles from mainstream companies
· A submission policy just as open to independent and unknown publishers
· Unlimited re-downloads (incase my hard drive fails and I lose my downloads)
· A decent free preview system
· A free monkey with every eComic purchase
Except for the last one, Comics XP addresses a good part of my wish-list. They certainly look like a very promising distribution option, especially for creator-owned independent titles. We don’t expect to see anything from either Marvel or DC up on there catalog anytime soon, if ever. Both companies are too large to be submit themselves to splitting profits with a third party developer. However, if this proves a successful model, it wouldn’t be a surprising move for the both of them to develop similar services. Once more content is released on the site we’ll do a follow up and get a better picture of where Comics XP fits into the digital comics universe.
Here’s one last thing, a wishful fantasy; picture one website with the same selection as your local brick and mortar store, with never a title out of stock. Likely it wouldn’t have EVERY title. It would b e more like Hulu.com fused with an iTunes-like library browser but for comics with a decent amount of big names as well as small, new and old.
And all of it free.
That’s what I want. No matter how unrealistic it seems. Eventually, someone is going to get close enough.
Thanks for reading this installment of BRAINSTORMING: Digital Comics. You can email Kyle and myself at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.