Graphic Novels/Comics

Trigger Warning- Tom and Jerry and Amazon

10 October 2014

You can read about this on any number of sites, but here’s USA Today:

Viewers may now be thinking twice before they click “play” on the classic Warner Bros. cartoon, Tom and Jerry.

Amazon Prime Instant and iTunes have posted a disclaimer that warns users that the cat-and-mouse shorts, which ran from 1940 to 1957, “may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society.”

The warning continues: “Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.”

I have a confession to make. This is so before my time that when I first read the headline (in a different publication) I thought it was because it was a cat and a mouse… living together in sin…

Read the rest here.

Julia

From Comics to Novels

26 September 2014

From author Scott Peterson:

Chuck Dixon is recognized across the industry as the most prolific writer working in comics today. 

His résumé includes thousands of scripts for such iconic characters as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Iron Man, the Punisher, The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants and GI Joe.

. . . .

Chuck was almost the first professional comic book writer I met. We worked together on (among many other things) Detective Comics, the flagship title of DC Comics, as well as the birthplace of the Batman. I talked to Chuck recently about moving from comics to novels.
 
So. Chuck. After 25 years as one of the most prolific comic book writers in the entire industry, writing not only the graphic novel adaptation of The Hobbit but also hundreds of stories for Batman, you’ve turned into a self-published novelist. 

Actually, I prefer “raconteur-at-large.”

Of course you do. What was the hardest part about transitioning to prose?
No artist!

What, if anything, was a pleasant surprise or change?
No artist!

Okay, some joking aside, I had to learn to write real descriptive stuff—actual wordsmithing to create a picture or environment in the reader’s head. In comic scripts I’m describing stuff for the artist to draw. It’s informal and sometimes repetitive. “Nightwing jumps again.” That won’t fly in prose. So I had to put more description in my work. Not too much at first. Then, when I realized I was twenty thousand words short of my contracted length, a whole lot more.

The most pleasant surprise was that novels aren’t like comics in that you don’t have to end on The Big Moment. You’re allowed a denouement. But I still allow myself only brief ones.

. . . .

Have you found that, now that you’re self-pubbing prose novels, you’re able to write stories you wouldn’t have been able to tell in comics? 

In comics I’ve always tried to hold myself to a PG rating, particularly with superhero stuff that attracts kids. And I’m not really into writing comics that have skeevy or gross-out imagery. My target audience there is a precocious ten-year-old. In prose I’m not as restrained. For my novels, my target is a felon doing hard time with limited choices in reading material. I can be more expletive-laden and what my wife likes to refer to as “frank” in my writing.

. . . .

How has self-publishing gone? Is it odd to be on your own?

It’s turned out not to be as scary as freelancing. With series work the more books I add to the series the more I earn. It’s like a reverse Ponzi scheme. With each new addition the earlier books sell more. The payments are monthly and add up to decent money annually. But I still have to put the work in. That’s never bothered me.

Link to the rest at Scott Peterson

Here’s a link to Scott Peterson’s books

and here’s a link to Chuck Dixon’s books

How Nicole Perlman Became the First Woman to Write a Marvel Movie

2 September 2014

From Time:

Nicole Perlman’s interest in space started early — and with the help of real-life rocket scientists. When she was growing up in Boulder, Colo., in what she calls “a very nerdy family,” her father would host a science-fiction book club that counted among its members many employees of the aeronautics companies based in the area. The rocket scientists would come to her house and discuss their favorite books; noticing her interest, her father bought the 15-year-old Perlman copies of physicist Richard Feynman’s two autobiographies.

That fateful gift started Perlman, now 33, on a path that led to her writing Guardians of the Galaxy, in theaters Aug. 1. The movie is Marvel’s big leap away from its more established superhero properties into the depths of outer space. It’s also the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have a woman as a credited writer — but getting there wasn’t exactly easy.

. . . .

“[Science-fiction movies] are the kinds of movies I enjoy watching, much as I really enjoy history and science,” she recalls, “but I was noticing that I was having trouble convincing people, when I was pitching on projects, that I would be capable of doing this. There was a little bit of an attitude of, ‘Well, you’re a woman, you’re not writing romantic comedies, we’ll give you the Marie Curie biopic.’”

She kept trying. She pitched one company a project with a sample that they loved, but they told her that even though they appreciated her take on the article they had optioned they weren’t sure she could write the more action-heavy parts. “They kept saying, ‘This is a guy’s movie, you know, it’s really a guy’s movie.’ I didn’t want to say, ‘Are you saying a woman can’t write a guy’s movie?’” Perlman recalls. “What is a guy’s movie anyway? If you’re making a movie that’s just for one gender, what’s the point?’”

. . . .

Perlman hopes that, despite reaching a gender milestone at Marvel, being “a woman writer” — as opposed to just “a writer” — is a time-limited thing. Of the attention being paid to comic-book Thor’s upcoming female incarnation and the new Miss Marvel (written by a friend of Perlman’s, G. Willow Wilson), Perlman says she sees why it’s important to pay attention to women making inroads in the comic-book world, herself included. But she hopes that attention is soon paid for other reasons. “I do still feel like it’s a little bit like, ‘Wow, it’s so crazy that a woman is doing this!’ I look forward to the time when it won’t be that crazy,” she says.

Link to the rest at Time and thanks to CG for the tip.

Light Novels Arrive in the U.S.—Again

1 September 2014

From Publishers Weekly:

In the North American publishing world, comics are comics and novels are novels. But if you peek into the manga section of your local bookstore, you might find a “light novel,” which, according to Leyla Aker, v-p publishing at Viz Media, “possesses elements of YA and genre fiction, combined with the uniquely Japanese element of the manga/anime connection.”

Light novels are Japanese prose works illustrated with manga-style drawings and are often adapted into manga and anime properties. While a few U.S. manga publishers dabbled in the books in the early 2000s, the category never quite took off. Now, Yen Press, Hachette Book Group’s graphic novel and manga line, has launched Yen On, a light novel imprint that will release at least 24 titles in 2015, and has plans to publish many more. Yen Press has already released several light novels, according to its publishing director Kurt Hassler, and, while its prose push is still young, he reported that results are promising.

. . . .

The term “light novels” was coined in Japan in the 1990s, but illustrated novels have been hot sellers with a devoted audience since the 1970s. The books are meant to be light entertainment: fast-paced serialized stories offered as inexpensive paperbacks. According to Japan’s Publishing Science Institute, light novels accounted for approximately 23.5% of the country’s general paperback sales in 2011. “Light novels are huge in Japan these days, and also in most countries in Asia,” observed Ju Youn Lee, senior editor at Yen Press. “In Korea, I think I would say that it’s even bigger than the manga market nowadays.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to Eric for the tip.

How Amazon and Comixology betrayed comic book readers

3 May 2014

From Vox:

For the last two years, people have been buying comics like they do their music — in pajamas (optional), on a tablet, and mostly through a specific app called Comixology. Not unlike iTunes, Comixology allowed readers to search and buy comics with a flick of the finger, saving a trip to the brick and mortar store and (more importantly) possible embarrassment from looking like a comics newbie.

Comixology began showing its dominance in the app market place at the beginning of 2011. By September, it was in the top ten of the highest-grossing apps in the App store, and remained in that upper echelon for the next two years. In 2013, the company announced that it was the top-grossing non-game iPad app for the year. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when Amazon announced it was buying Comixology last month.

As with many acquisitions, neither company really spelled out what that meant for consumers.

. . . .

The Verge’s Adi Roberton was told by Comixology that the app would remain safe, even unchanged. Robertson reported:

A Comixology spokesperson confirmed that its brand and apps aren’t going away in the foreseeable future, saying that the companies would likely find ways to make Comixology and Kindle work better together.

On Saturday, users found that Amazon had gutted the app, killed one-touch buying, and in doing so, alienated publishers and rabid readers alike.

. . . .

Amazon’s changes mean buying a comic is now a tedious, multi-step process with logins, account creations, and is done through a web browser. The original app is now more or less just a fancy PDF reader for all the comics that clients have already purchased.

Link to the rest at Vox

PG claims little expertise in the world of apps, but understands this change (which applies to iPad and iPhone users only) is because Apple won’t allow apps sold through iTunes to implement in-app purchases unless those purchases pass through Apple, which takes 30% of the purchase price.

Amazon is not inclined to process content sales through Apple because of the 30% fee but also, more importantly (PG suspects), because Amazon generates a lot of additional sales based on the customer data it captures through direct sales. Apple doesn’t pass any customer data to the owners of apps (just like Amazon doesn’t pass any customer data to the people and business who sell direct on Amazon).

It’s an indication of how valuable customer data is to Amazon that it’s willing to irritate current Comixology purchasers with iPads by removing in-app purchasing.

At the risk of triggering an avalanche from Apple fanbois and fangurlz, PG humbly reminds them that Android tablets, including Amazon’s Kindle Fire, are very nice devices these days and typically cost a lot less than iPads.

PG seems to remember reading that the Fire HDX has a higher-res screen than the latest iPads which would seem to benefit comics readers.

Users are Reporting the New Comixology App is Missing Old Purchases

29 April 2014

From The Digital Reader:

Amazon ignited a storm of protest when they removed the in-app store from the Comixology app on Saturday, but the story isn’t over yet.

Numerous comic fans have reported on Twitter that the new Comixology app has lost many of their existing purchases. In addition to no longer being able to buy content inside the app, they are no longer able to even read some of the content they already bought!

. . . .

 If you have not checked your Comixology app yet, I suggest you do so. Based on the pattern of Comixology’s responses on Twitter I am not sure that they are aware of a systemic problem, and I don’t think they will notice until more people complain.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to SFR for the tip.

PG says this sounds like a misstep by Amazon.

UPDATE: PG received the following email from a Comixology person:

“Since the launch of the new Comics iOS reader application, there have been reports from a small group of customers who have purchased books from comiXolology that are seemingly not showing up in their account. This problem is occurring because customers have books tied to more than one comiXology account, and/or a separate iTunes account, and/or did not restore their purchases. If you have experienced any of these issues, please contact support@comixology.com and we will be happy to fix the problem.”

In wake of Amazon acquisition, ComiXology drops Apple in-app purchases

27 April 2014

From TeleRead:

Since its recent acquisition by Amazon, people have been wondering what changes Amazon is going to make to the company. The first one came along today: ComiXology is retiring its old iPhone and iPad e-comic applications, and releasing new ones that remove the ability to buy comics as in-app purchases from Apple devices. You have to buy them from the web store now. Unless you’re on Android, in which case the in-app store works just fine.

This is, of course, because of that pesky 30% commission Apple enforces on all in-app purchases. Amazon has steadfastly refused to pay the Jobsgeld, but ComiXology didn’t really have much choice. Here’s where being owned by the honey badger of e-commerce comes in handy. Amazon just doesn’t give a damn about any sales it might lose from not having in-app purchases through Apple. It’s not worth the 30% tax.

A side benefit is that ComiXology no longer has to worry about any potential Apple censorship or pressure not to make certain titles available for in-app purchase.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Amazon to purchase ComiXology e-comic-book store

11 April 2014

From TeleRead:

Looks like the Big Bad Amazon Wolf has just gulped down another hefty meal. Amazon has announced it will be acquiring ComiXology, the e-comic-book store that carries titles from Marvel, DC, Image, and a number of others. Although the various comic book publishers are trying to push their own stores, ComiXology has nonetheless become the best known source for e-books of popular comics. Now, like Audible and so many other brands, it is going to find a new home at Amazon.

News is pretty light on the ground about what this acquisition will entail. But it could be all kinds of good for both Amazon and ComiXology. The benefit to Amazon is fairly obvious. Amazon has sold graphic novels for its Kindle desktop and color tablet apps for some time now, but they’re really kind of a second thought, and it’s awkward to read them on anything short of a desktop screen or a full-sized 10” tablet where you can see the whole page in full size at once.

But ComiXology has a mature, fully-developed reader optimized for reading comic books. Its panel-by-panel “Guided Mode,” in which it zooms in so you can work your way through the book panel by panel using your full screen, is probably the best way to read comics on a mid-sized or small screen.

. . . .

And what if Amazon decided to add the ability to read a select library of ComiXology books to Amazon Prime? They’d have to work out the rights with the publishers of the books, of course, or else treat them like Kindle Owner Lending Library books and essentially pay purchase price for “check-outs”. But colorful comic books are a great way for Amazon to push the niftiness of its beautifully-full-color-and-high-resolution Kindle Fire tablets, so getting more of them on those tablets somehow is basically a no-brainer.

Link to the rest at TeleRead and thanks to William for the tip.

Why Does Everyone Keep Trying to Reinvent the Book?

21 October 2013

From The Digital Reader

A reader has brought my attention back to MadeFire. This is a 2 year old digital comics startup that has been getting a lot of attention lately, and according to FasctCo they plan to reinvent the comic book:

They’re hoping their new touch-publishing platform Motion Books will help artists and creative types fully embrace the power of mobile devices to create immersive reading experiences.

According to Madefire CEO Ben Wolstenholme, it’s not about throwing technology at digital publishing for technology’s sake—it’s still all about storytelling and the user experience. “Everything should serve the story. With traditional print, readers are pretty much limited to turning a page for a surprise or unexpected reveal. But with mobile devices and e-readers, it’s possible to do so much more” said Wolstenholme. “You can create a specific mood and atmosphere. You can use movement, sound, and visuals to enhance a story without taking away from it” he added.

***

Madefire produces a storytelling platform that incorporates the full range of a mobile device’s hardware to create a new form of digital storytelling that isn’t limited to turning pages — which is the universal method for advancing a story with books. Unlike the majority of digital comic books that were simply converted from print, motion books provide for artwork on a single page to move and interact with the reader (like swiping or tapping a touchscreen or moving the device to have artwork on a page shuffle around). A motion book’s story unfolds through layers of art, word balloons, and captions that unfold in sequence, which is sort of like reading a book that slowly fills a blank page with text as you read.

***

My opinion, in short, is that if I want moving images I will watch a movie. If I want a soundtrack I will load an mp3. And if I want interactivity in my novel I will play a computer game. But if I want to read I will open an ebook.

A book is not any of those other types of content, and trying to make a text into something resembling a game or movie misses the point of what a book is supposed to be.

See the rest, including the demo, here.

From Guest Blogger Randall 

Amazon’s Publisher Ambitions Target Comics With New “Jet City” Imprint Launch

9 July 2013

From TechCrunch:

Amazon is about to take on Marvel and DC with a new publishing imprint for comics.

. . . .

The new publishing brand is called “Jet City Comics,” and will begin with a series penned by Neal Stephenson called Symposium. Later this year, it’ll get a George R. R. Martin story adaptation, and then in 2014 it’s going to turn dystopian novel, Wool, into a serialized graphic novel.

Amazon will be treading mostly existing territory in the science fiction and fantasy genres with its new imprint launch, which is likely a way for it to ease into a tricky market with properties that have proven their ability to be commercial successes. It isn’t exactly a direct charge at publishers like Marvel and DC who dominate with their own original properties, but it is an opening salvo in what could become a much broader ambition.

. . . .

The bigger picture is also that Amazon can use this new publishing arm as another funnel in its content engine, with tie-ins possible between its original video series, books, and now comics, too. Amazon is essentially building itself into a microcosm of the general media landscape.

Link to the rest at TechCrunch

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