At the ComiXology Originals Announcement event ahead of San Diego Comic-Con this afternoon, press and creators were gathered for a series of exciting reveals about upcoming comiXology Originals titles, many of which are creator-owned, digital first, and in some cases, will be print bound by Amazon.
President of comiXology David Steinberger gave an opening speech, addressing the fact that “getting into comics” can be hard for would-be readers, which was part of the inspiration behind launching comiXology in the first place, a marketplace that would be “low risk” for readers.
“Thinking bigger” led to the founding of comiXology Originals and they are able to experiment in the ways that “most publishers can’t or won’t”. These books are free to read on Amazon or ComiXology subscription service, which helps guide people into becoming comics fans.
Chip Mosher, VP of content, took the stage to talk further about this new wave of content. Four new creator-owned titles debuted at the event.
All these titles are debuting same-day in Japan, which is a new feature, Mosher said.
They are all available immediately on the platform:
From Sam Humphries and Alti Firmansayah
Humpries said the series features four best friends who have raised their own giant monster. It’s being published both in English and Japanese, and asked what manga fans will think, Humphries said that the things that unite comics fans are stronger than the things which divide us, and the marketplace is evolving as a globally connected market. He feels that manga fans will read the series and see that two manga and anime fans have remixed things and are broadcasting it back to them.
Firmansayah said she grew up reading manga and was very inspired by it, and that has influenced both designs and monsters.
By Tim Seeley and Mike Norton
This title also marks the debut of Comics AF as a publishing venture, with more coming in 2018.
Norton described the espionage horror book, by saying that everything that happens in the comic actually happens, to laughter. Norton said that the main character is a woman who has been raised by Vampires on a set of DVD and VHS tapes. She relates to the world purely through old 80’s movies. She sees herself as James Bond, though she’s not, as she fights werewolves and things.
Seeley virtually dialed in and explained that he wanted to create Grave Danger because he wanted to make up a character who could be cool and run around in a giant universe where the creators could do anything they wanted to do in terms of storytelling.
Asked what it’s like to debut Comics AF, Norton says he hopes he doesn’t do anything embarrassing. It’s a fun book for he and Seeley after five years after working on depressing stories set in the snow. It’s an interesting new character that people will relate to, he hopes.
*Hit Reblog: Comics that Caught Fire
By Megan Kearney and Hope Nicholson
Nicholson said they want to present the pros and cons of sudden internet fame in editing this work. Kearney said that interacting with people who became internet famous was varied, with different reactions to internet fame, and Nicholson added that working on the project led to incorporating many perspectives, including academic. There are 20 webcomics in this collection.
By Mags Visaggio and Jen Vaughn
The comic features the line “highschool is bullshit”, and Visaggio said she was not cool in highschool, and Vaughn moved a lot and librarians were her best friends. The comic features a new girl in school. Visaggio says she’s trying to create a more exciting version of teen years than she actually had. Vaughn explained that she handed Visaggio a magical girl and battle steed image and Visaggio asked if it could be set in the 90’s featuring slackers, and their comic came together.
*The Dark, a 120 page graphic novel
By Mark Sable and Kristian Donaldson
In a book full of crazy, futuristic stuff, and Sable is actually a Futurist working on “The Art of the Future” in a think tank talking about the future of conflict. In the story, a cyber attack has taken out the internet and the grid worldwide.Donaldson said that Sable came up with interesting places leading to environment design.
By C. Spike Trotman, MK Reed, and Tish Doolan
Trotman is a Kickstarter “sensation”, having raised over a million dollars on the platform, and is founder of Iron Circus, but she’s also aware of her place in the ecosystem of comics. She’s aware that her company is still small and she doesn’t have all the opportunities she would like at the moment. Partnering with comiXology is a way to try new things and experiment, which she’s a fan of.
The tagline for the series is “strange enemies”. Delver came from the idea of when the conquering hero comes to the hamlet, murders zombies, and grabs treasure, we don’t hear about the hamlet and the small town that’s left behind. It’s about the people who have to live with the horror that has spawned in their farm fields. Doolin said that this has been a new and exciting experience for her, coming from the world of webcomics. She feels it’s been a big bonding experience.
*The Stone King
By Kel McDonald and Tyler Crook
McDonald has always experimented with many ways of making comics successful, including webcomics and Kickstarter, and continues to experiment. Going to conventions led to her meeting Tyler Crook several years ago and kept in touch. After that, she asked him “What do you want to draw” and that led to the idea. The Stone King is inspired by Crook’s desire to work with an image of a walking giant made of stone. This something that he wants to draw but hasn’t been able to do elsewhere.
Below are comiXology CEO, David Steinberger’s opening comments in full.
“ComiXology’s mission is to make everyone on the planet a comics, graphic novel, and manga fan.
We did a great job making an amazing service for comic fans but it’s much harder for new people to get into comics; let’s face it, comics can be confusing to the new reader. And so 2 years ago we launched comiXology Unlimited, with thousands of comics to read for 30 days free and then just $5.99 a month. I’m happy to announce that comiXology Unlimited now has over 15k titles. It’s been wildly successful with over 55% of our new buyers coming through comiXology Unlimited – and over 50% of our current buyers that become subscribers discover a new publisher or creator. Subscribers read more and spend more. In short, it’s working!
But, we are who we are, so we asked: how do we think bigger?
Enter ComiXology Originals, our exclusive content line, which debuted last year. This is yet another way we can serve our mission: by funding the creation of content we believe will resonate with new readers and current fans. ComiXology Originals gives us the ability to experiment with content and release strategies in ways others can’t, and we can take what we learn and let publishers know what works.
And I want to point out what I think is the most important feature of comiXology Unlimited: these books are free-to-read as part of all Amazon and comiXology reading subscriptions. That means if you have a comiXology or Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s free to read. Even bigger – and here’s where we circle back to our mission of making everyone on the planet a comics, graphic novel, or manga fan – any of the over 100 million worldwide Amazon Prime subscribers can read these books as part of their subscription through Prime Reading.
As you may know, earlier this year we debuted an epic line of creator owned content and a ton of newly translated manga. We’re incredibly proud of these books and are grateful to the creators who want to take this journey with us, and I want to personally thank them for letting us give their incredible work a home and for joining us in our mission.
Today, we’re announcing – and have already made available to comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Prime members worldwide – the newest wave of creator-owned comics in comiXology Originals. I’m incredibly excited to introduce our Head of Content, our Master of Ceremonies, the guy who makes all of this possible, to talk about the new wave of comiXology Originals, Chip Mosher.”