Friday, August 29, 2008

Paper Comic Deathwatch: No More Bhuddas!

Official: Virgin Comics Shuts NYC Offices

Buddha!!!From Publisher's Weekly - Virgin has shut down it's comics group...

Virgin Comics, the high-profile 2006 international joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and the India-based comics publisher Gotham Entertainment, has been shut down. The company’s New York office and publishing unit has been closed and the eight people that staff it have been laid off.

So this kills all hope of me ever seeing Deepak Chopra's Buddha team up with Wolverine.

PCDW Points: 50

(let's be honest - this company was't really publishing paper comics in the first place were they? Those were movie pitches with ads.)

Murderdrome iPhone Comic

Rich Johnston points the way to people who are using the new iPhone/iTouches to distribute comics

“2000AD” artist PJ Holden demonstrates how his and writer Al Ewing's "Murderdrome" comic works on an iPhone or iTouch.

In the same article, Rich points out that iVerse Comics, a digital comic company is now producing digital long form comic books for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Below is a example of how their comics work - pretty slick actually!

Finally, I went on Youtube and found this: Comics On Small Screens

I don't know - the size of the panels looks exactly like what people think of when they say, "I hate trying to read web comics with scrunchy type..." but this is definitely building up steam...

PCDW Points: 1000

Meanwhile - What's up with Kindle?

CrunchGear Kindle 2.0Ah, the Kindle...the Amazon eReader that's taken the world(?) by a storm despite its rather Soviet Issued design a sleeker, more robust version coming down the pike? Apparently yes according to BusinessWeek who are saying...

...that plans to unveil a larger-screen model of its Kindle e-book player, aimed at students, in the coming months.

And CrunchGear has a nice rendering of what the new model might look like along with this bit of information...

...The first is an updated version with the same sized screen, a smaller form factor, and an improved interface. The source told us that Amazon has “skipped three or four generations,” comparing the old Kindle to the 1st gen iPod and the new version to something like the sexy iPod Mini.

And while I'm sure the rendering is just a guess as to what the guys at Frog Design have developed for the new look and feel of Kindle 2.0, I'm willing to bet the new version is still closer to Dell coyote ugly than Apple iPod sexy.

Anyway, in everything I've read about the new Kindles, I've not seen anything to suggest they will be able to handle color images, so while this may not be a paper comic killer in of itself, it will most likely hasten the demise of print media in general. So there will be a sort of trickle down impact on comics as print companies react to supply and demand changes and a social paradigm impact as reading from a device becomes more accepted.

UPDATE: While working on this article yesterday, Engadget reported Amazon puts the kibosh on Kindle 2.0 rumors saying...

Amazon spokesman Craig Berman told the New York Times today that there's nothing in store for this year, and that a new version won't happen before "sometime next year at the earliest."

PCDW Points: 2000 <-- special Kindle Hot Pink Points

Logo by Sean KleefeldFrom Ink to the Internet: Comic Books Evolve

Here's an interesting article from BusinessWeek/GigaOm(who?) running down the various new media initiatives from the big two comic companies this year.

There's a lot of stuff you've probably read before in the article if you are a faithful reader of PCDW, but there is this interesting bit...

While sales of traditional entertainment forms such as music CDs and DVDs have decreased or flattened, there hasn't been a similar sea change forcing the comics industry to go digital—the paper-based comics business is still doing well. Combined sales of graphic novels and comic books in the U.S. and Canada hit $705 million in 2007—a 10% bump up from 2006, and sales of graphic novels have quintupled since 2001.

So if demand is still high for print, what's driving the digital moves? Opportunity. "We want people to see these stories through as many distribution points as possible," Buckley said. So Marvel is trying a number of digital formats for its properties. Last year the company launched Digital Comics Unlimited, a subscription-based service that charges $50 a year for access to more than 4,000 (soon to hit 5,000) comic books online. Since the launch, Buckley said Marvel has learned quite a bit. "The print and digital businesses complement each other," he said. "One is not cannibalizing the other."

Thanks to boox909 who sent me this bit of info via private messages on the Golden Age Comics Messageboard which, btw, is an AWESOME place to get Free Public Domain comic books like the ones I post every Monday.

More news about the Apple iTablet explains the details behind a new patent by Apple which details Multi-Touch Mac User Interface along with an image from said patent that shows what this new iTablet might look like...

Apple iTablet

In the Patent, Apple explains that on a tablet Mac, the buttons of a control box may be smaller than a users finger and located close together. Therefore it may be difficult for the user to make a selection directly without possibly pressing an undesirable button. To solve this problem, at least a portion of the control box would be enlarged, including the buttons therein when the user places their thumb over the control box.

I've said it before, and will definitely say it again - if when Apple finally unleashed their version of a eReader or tablet PC, that will pretty much be the final straw for not just comics but newspapers, magazines, books and just about everything else on paper.

PCDW Points: 5000

Before I close, I'd like to thank Caine, Boox909, Markus and Medusa who sent me articles this week!

- Jim

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