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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mobile Comics

As a freelance writer looking to break into comics, I've been trying to think about where I can possibly push my ideas in order to gain publishing experience, and so, seeing as Marvel and DC Comics seem a bit daunting, I've started looking at independent publishers. Not a lot of work around there unless it's selling to the same crowd looking for similar material. So where can a budding comics creator make their mark in this tough market?

Cell phones. Or rather the iPhone (or something compatible like my own G1).

So I began to research these "mobile comics". First up, GoComics. Some of your mainstream comic strips including Doonesbury, Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, as well as editorial cartoons by the likes of Ted Rall. It comes up on the browser of my G1 and isn't too rough of a download time. It formats okay but I need to turn the alignment sideways in order to see it in detail. There's a link to send comics to your phone but it doesn't seem to work.

Looks like they have manga, IDW Publishing, Devil's Due, Jeff Smith's Bone, PvP, Too Much Coffee Man, Virgin Comics, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (as a comic strip?!). I can't seem to click on the links on my laptop or my G1. Hurm. Here's a video showing how uClick (their comics viewer for iPhone & iPod touch), which looks really clean and functional.

So I pull up m.gocomics.com on my G1 and it gives me a list of links for comics. I click IDW, get a list of titles, pick Clive Barker's Thief of Always, get a summary, a link to creators, and a link to issues. Finally I see the comic, which looks pretty low res, and the navigation is previous and next links. Not really too slick looking and there's an ad for PapaJohns.com up top. Hurm. Yeah seems all their comics look that way, on my G1 at least.

More info regarding GoComics can be found at this Newsarama interview here.

Next up is the very odd Comicz.com which has some low budget site and a super weird comic strip called Quadroids. Weird.

Moving on, next is a site for Mobile Comics Creators which looks like it could be a decent hub for mobile comics news but not a ton of updates over the last few months. Could be better as a forum, which means you do have to sign up for it. Looks like you have to be approved for membership. Damn elitists.

Here's a site with Marvel comics with interactive sound, if you live in Sweden, Denmark, or somewhere else far, far away from America. Sigh. Always with the awesome in Europe. Here's some more info on the deal which could represent the future of mobile comics as a more interactive experience.

I'm also seeing news about Mobile comics in India, Taiwan, and Singapore on a basic google search. Probably a whole huge untapped market for good original stories out there in the world, where people might still appreciate words and pictures, even if it is on their high tech digital cell phone. Here's an article about Japan's Mobile Comics industry pulling in over $204 million US.

Also Paramount is going to produce mobile comics based on its movies. If there's a job that I should really have it's that. Movies AND comics?! By Odin's beard...Can't say I've heard of the movies but that's still pretty cool. And I think Joe Kelly, my good friend, is still working at Paramount.

If you have an iPod or iPhone RokComics seems like a cool thing to check out. There's an app for that.

Robot Comics has provided some interesting content for my G1, and now partnering with Alterna Comics, it looks like there might be even more good stuff on the way. Available through the Market, they have some good, quality comics that read really smoothly on the G1. As they add more content it seems the functionality tends to be lost a bit as I can't seem to get their Jesus Hates Zombies book (which looks awesome) to fit correctly on my screen. They're also trying to put together a CBZ & CBR format comic reader out for the G1 but I have yet to successfully open a comic on it. But as they evolve I think this will be a major provider for quality mobile comics.

Well, that's enough for now. Can someone lend me their iPhone or iPod touch so I can test some more of these things out?


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