Also: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Gabe Soria, comics for Costa Rican kids, Shigeru Mizuki, ComiXology, Rocket and Groot prints
Passings: Spanish artist Alfonso Azpiri, a frequent contributor to Heavy Metal magazine, died on August 18 at the age of 70. (The headline of the linked article gives an incorrect birth year.) From the obit:
Azpiri’s most famous creation was Lorna, a sexually insatiable space adventurer (often compared to Barbarella), accompanied on her travels around the galaxy by a pair of artoo-threepio-ish robots named ADL and Arnold. Azpiri will also be remembered for Mot, a more family-friendly series about a boy who has adventures with his huge monster companion.
His work was first published in Heavy Metal in 1984, and three issues of the magazine were devoted almost entirely to Lorna stories.
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.
Tony Bedard, Tom Derenick, Trevor Scott and Sean Parsons complete the epic Colonel Sanders trilogy.
The third mega-crossover event comic from DC Comics and KFC will arrive tomorrow on DC’s digital outlets. KFC #3 Across the Universe will also arrive in print, as a giveaway at the DC booth at Comic-Con International later this week.
Tony Bedard, Tom Derenick, Trevor Scott and Sean Parsons tell the story of what happens when you steal the Colonel’s Zinger chicken sandwiches — you get the ring.
Plus: teen romance, and Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and others become Disney Legends
Sam Glanzman (1924-2017): Navy veteran and and Eisner Award-nominated comic artist Sam Glanzman, 92, passed away July 12. Over the span of his 75-year career in comics, Glanzman worked for Marvel, DC Comics, Charlton, Harvey and Dell, among others, on titles like G.I. Combat, Sgt. Rock, Hercules, Jonah Hex, Fightin’ Army, Savage Tales, Semper Fi, Zorro and Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle. Marvel published his A Sailor’s Story graphic novel in 1987, a personal account of his time on the U.S.S. Stevens during World War II. A sequel followed. New stories about his time on the U.S.S. Stevens appeared in DC’s Joe Kubert Presents six-issue anthology limited series, and those stories, along with the two volumes of A Sailor’s Story, were collected in U.S.S. Stevens: The Collected Stories, which is nominated for the Eisner Award this year. A successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Red Range, a story drawn by Glanzman and written by Joe R. Lansdale, recently wrapped up.
The comics market is growing, but monthly comics are not. Also: A week of great comics articles from NPR!
By the Numbers: The comics market increased by 5% to a total of $1.085 billion in 2016, according to an estimate by Milton Griepp of ICv2 and John Jackson Miller of Comichron. Graphic novels sold in bookstores accounted for almost all the growth, however; they were up 16%, while sales of monthly comics in comic shops, on newsstands, and in digital format remained flat. Griepp saw the graphic novel growth as evidence that the market is expanding, as more women and children find graphic novels, while Miller credited Marvel’s Star Wars comics and DC’s Rebirth event.
Whatever Happened to comiXology? Three years after the largest digital comics service was purchased by Amazon, they still have plenty going on, says comics-biz maven Rob Salkowitz, including using Amazon’s “affinity marketing” (if you liked this, you’ll like that) tools, expanding to foreign audiences, and bringing in new readers via the ComiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited, and Prime Reading programs.
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 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.
Ability to read comics panel-to-panel will arrive via updates to the Kindle apps.
Amazon has added comiXology’s “Guided View” experience, which allows you to zoom in and read comics from panel-to-panel, to its Kindle app for iOS, Fire tablets and Android.
“Our customers are passionate about comic books and we continuously look for ways to make their experience even better,” said David Naggar, Vice President, Kindle, in a press release. “We are excited to debut comiXology’s best-in-class Guided View reading experience on Kindle.”
It’s Black Friday, the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season (Unless you’re my sister-in-law, and you started in July). But anyway, yes, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season mean that lots of things are on sale. Here’s a rundown of some comic-related things to check out.
The digital comics platform’s new program features exclusive comic content for comiXology and Kindle.
ComiXology has announced a line of exclusively digital comics, teaming with BOOM! Studios, Valiant Entertainment and the estate of Harvey Kurtzman on new content. Called “comiXology Originals,” the comics can only be found on comiXology and Kindle starting next year.
“Our mission is to make everyone on the face of the planet a comic fan, and with comiXology Originals we’re excited to offer a range of content by diverse creators,” said comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger in a press release. “It’s fantastic to be working with publishers across the spectrum to deliver great comics to comiXology and Kindle, offering fans stories that they can’t get anywhere else.”