What Are You Reading? | Red Goblins, celestial avatars, Klan smashers and Texas blood

See what the Smash Pages crew has checked off their ‘to read’ list lately.

Like I said last week, summertime is the right time for crossovers and comics. This week brought us a taste of Empyre, Marvel’s big crossover event featuring the Avengers, The Fantastic Four, the Kree, the Skrulls, the Blue Area of the Moon, the Swordsman and all that crazy cosmic space action Marvel fans have come to know and love. You can see Carla’s thoughts on it below, along with a list of comics Shane has been buying for his kids and Tom’s thoughts on two politically minded books from DC.

You can tell us what you’ve been reading in the comments below or on social media.

Shane Bailey

Lately my kids have started wanting to read more comics. My little one has always been into them, but now the older kids are as well. So I let them pick out their own comics to read on comiXology Unlimited.

My 9 yr old son picked Amazing Spider-Man: The Red Goblin by Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen, and he loves it. He wouldn’t stop commenting on how crazy scary Norman Osborn is, how it was gross when Carnage bit the head off a rat, and during one issue when the Goblin had a captive and was interrogating him, he wondered aloud over who it was, making guesses and gasping when he found out who it was and that Norman knew who Spider-Man was. It’s great seeing him get excited at things that are old hat for me. It made me appreciate those moments more.

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Comics Lowdown: Standing behind retailers during the coronavirus

Plus: TCAF canceled, BookExpo postponed and more coronavirus news.

As the threat of the coronavirus continues to spread, and federal, state and local governments take action to try and stop it, “shelter in place” and social distancing orders inevitably harm small businesses, like comics retailers. Many retailers around the country have either closed up for a time or have moved to a mail order/”curbside pickup” system. In his weekly newsletter today, writer Cullen Bunn shared some tips for supprtoing your favorite shop during this time:

…SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP as much as you’re able. 

Running a comic book store can be difficult, even in the best of times. Right now, shops are taking a hit. The absolute last thing I want to see—as a reader, a fan, and a creator—is for comic book stores to disappear. It is vital that we all work together to support comic book stores as much as possible and help them get through the coming weeks. When comic book stores suffer, so does the comic book industry. A lot of stores are offering new services during this time of isolation and social-distancing. Some things you can do to help…

  • Inquiring about curbside pickup.
  • Inquiring about mail order or delivery options. 
  • Purchasing any books that are in your pull box.
  • Purchasing gift cards/gift certificates for upcoming birthdays, events, and holidays. 
  • Following your local comic shop on social media for updates on: curtailed hours of operation, events, special accommodations, and cleaning policy. 
  • Tagging your local comic shop on social media & posting photos of the comics you’ve purchased to read during self-quarantine and social distancing.

You can find a comic shop offering “safe services” during the pandemic by using this map from BOOM! Studios.

Image Comics, who issued a letter asking other publishers to help comics retailers during this crisis, also had Alex Cox, Skottie Young and Nate Piekos create a short comic on how fans can support their local shop:

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DC Comics titles now available via comiXology Unlimited

DC Comics joins up with comiXology and Amazon to offer select titles on their ‘all you can eat’ subscription plans.

ComiXology Unlimited just got a nice bump in content, as the digital comics company announced today via press release that select DC Comics will now be available via their “all you can eat” subscription model. They’ll also be available via Amazon’s Kindle Prime and Prime Reading services.

“We are thrilled to now include an incredible selection of DC’s vast library of Super Heroes and DC Vertigo titles as part of comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited, and Prime Reading, bringing an even bigger benefit to all our subscription members” said comiXology CEO and Co-Founder David Steinberger in the release. “With the addition of DC and DC Vertigo titles we’re providing more convenience and a great opportunity for readers to discover and explore some of the best stories comics have to offer at no additional cost to their current Prime, Kindle Unlimited or comiXology Unlimited subscription.”

comiXology Unlimited launched in 2016 and offers unlimited reading of about 20,000 comic titles for $5.99 per month. It offers titles from Marvel, Image Comics, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse and many others, but DC Comics has been a holdout until now. DC’s own DC Universe service, which launched last year, also includes a buffet of comics in addition to streaming TV shows and movies.

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comiXology expands their ‘Originals’ line with creator-owned titles, print-on-demand

comiXology moves into print comics with an ‘experiment’ using Amazon’s print-on-demand capabilities.

comiXology Originals debuted in 2016 and have since published comics in conjunction with Marvel, BOOM! Studios, Valiant Entertainment and the estate of Harvey Kurtzman — and even earned an Eisner nomination. Now the Amazon-owned company is branching out to include creator-owned comics as part of the program.

The company announced four new titles that can be found on comiXology’s storefront, with the promise of more to come. Interestingly, comiXology is expanding beyond digital and will offer three of the four books through Amazon’s print-on-demand service — giving consumers the opportunity to buy comiXology material directly, rather than through a traditional comic book publisher.

The new comiXology Originals releases include: Savage Game created by NFL player Ryan Kalil, written by Shawn Kittelsen, and art by Chris B. Murray; Superfreaks from writers Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet, with artist Margaux Saltel; Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty from writer Richard Starkings, and artists Axel Medellin and Boo Cook; Ask For Mercy from writer Starkings and artist Abigail Jill Harding.

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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.

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Battle Angel Alita returns in new digital and print graphic novels

Yukito Kishiro’s post-apocalyptic classic manga Gunnm returns to English audiences with a new translation by Kodansha Comics and Comixology Originals. Known as Battle Angel Alita to English audiences, it was first published as a serial in Shueisha’s Business Jump magazine in the 1990s. This re-release is a digital exclusive through ComiXology Original and is free today for ComiXology Unlimited subscribers.

Battle Angel Alita on ComiXology

Battle Angel Alita tells the story of Alita, a female cyborg. Parts of her were found in a scrapyard and she was eventually assembled into a mercenary hunter-warrior with no memory and then as a player in the brutal sport of Motorball. Memories of life on Mars begin to return to her during combat.

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