Comics Lowdown: The impact of ComiXology Unlimited

David Steinberger talks digital comics, Akira Himekawa discuss Legend of Zelda and a Pakistani creator makes the world’s longest comic strip

The Digital Picture: ICv2 posts an interview with comiXology CEO David Steinberger, who talks about the platform’s gradual shift from something resembling a comic shop selling single issues to a more comprehensive service; how the company’s acquisition by Amazon three years ago has changed things; and the impact of ComiXology Unlimited, their all-you-can-read service, in terms of bringing in new readers:

One of the figures we’ve been sharing is that publishers that have been with [ComiXology Unlimited] for the year have seen overall double-digit growth this year. That’s totally opposite to what’s going on in the Direct Market.

One of the keys to their success is “personalization,” letting users tailor the experience and focus on what they are interested in—and, a la Amazon, recommend more items based on what they are reading already.

Now That’s a Longread: Pakistani cartoonist Unaiza Ali Barlas has captured the Guinness World Record for the longest comic strip—in feet, not years. Her strip, The Exit, is 877 feet long and features a man who is dissatisfied with life in a comic strip and tries to escape.

Passings: The Mexican cartoonist Eduardo del Río, who used the pen name Rius, died last week at the age of 83. Born a Roman Catholic in the conservative Catholic city of Zamora, del Río moved to Mexico City with his mother and brother at a young age, after his father gambled away the family’s money and then died. Del Río was working in a funeral parlor when a mourner spotted his drawings and connected him with the editor of a popular humor magazine. His biting cartoons brought him popularity but also controversy—he was fired by five different newspapers, kidnapped and threatened with death as an “enemy of Mexico,” and excommunicated by the Catholic Church after his book The Manual of the Perfect Atheist, was published in 1980. “I have to thank God, who made me an atheist and the Catholic Church, which made me anticlerical,” he said.

Interviews and Profiles

Out of the Box: Nate Powell, the artist of March, talks about his earlier graphic novels (now collected as Omnibox), the books he’s working on in the future, and his preference for fiction over nonfiction when creating his own stories.

Local Hero: The local paper talks to Oni Press founder Joe Nozemack about Atomic Blonde and about doing things differently in the comics biz.

The Legend of Akira Himekawa: A. Honda and S. Nagano, the two-woman team known as Akira Himekawa, talk about their work on the Legend of Zelda manga.

Reviews, Roundups, and Commentary

Crossing Borders: Philippe Leblanc looks at six graphic novels from the Swedish publisher Peow and the Canadian publisher Pow Pow. Check it out for some interesting off-the-beaten-track reading.

Snuggle Up in a Shawl: Pashmina creator Nidhi Chanani picks six of her favorite graphic novels.

Conventions and Festivals

Off to See the Wizard: Wizard World Comic Con will come to Montgomery, Alabama, in October, with a slate of guests that includes Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols and Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder.

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