Friday, September 18, 2009

Digital Comics: Longbox Wish List

Longbox IncNOTE: Like many people, we here at Flashback Universe are eagerly awaiting the launch of Longbox Digital Comics viewer. If you haven't seen any of the articles so far about Longbox, then this paragraph from should bring you up to speed nicely

Longbox Digital is a device and hardware independent platform for the secure distribution, sale and enjoyment of digital comics. LongBox will be launching on Macintosh and PC computer systems in Fall of 2009, with handheld devices, eReaders, and game systems to follow. This site is under construction, and will be updated in the coming weeks.

...or you can check out the video below!

LongBox Digital - Pre-Beta Screencast from Rantz Hoseley on Vimeo

Caine's Longbox Wishlist:

Here are the 5 things I would like to see with the launch of Longbox Digital...(and if these features can't make it to the launch, then please consider adding them to the version 2 spec list. :) )

1.) Top Notch Reader

As you can see from the screencast there's a lot too Longbox: a news feed, comic rankings, a flash based featured list, a subscription button, a library button and lots more. I hope that the reader provided to Longbox users is top notch with both a "heavy" and a "light" version to choose from. Both should have all the "usual" bells and whistles you can find in most of the readers on the market now: panning, rotation, zooming, scrolling, page jumps, library, thumbnails, rating system, comments, & "last page read" data stored internally so you can pick up a book right where you left off.

The "heavy" reader could be built into Longbox with quick and easy access to all those great Longbox services like the news feeds and subscription button running alongside the comic you are reading. The "light" reader wouldn't, it would be streamlined and centered around the enjoyment of the single book loaded inside it. A user could go from "light" to "heavy" and not miss a beat.

2.) Comment Integration

If comics are rated (such as a four star system) and the software allows for comments then why not integrate the two? If you're interested in Boom! Studio's THE INCREDIBLES, you'll more than likely put that into the search box to see if there's a preview to look at before purchasing it right? Why not list user comments, integrated in real time, right along with the preview? They could be tagged by user name, include the users ratings of the book, and easily be turned on or off at a users request based on preference. It would almost be like a built in letter page. Remember those?

3.) Formatting

What good would it be to have the best damn comic book reader in the business if it didn't read all comic book file formats and more? Off the top of my head: .cbr, .cbz, .rar, .zip, .pdf, .jpg, .tif, and why not motion comics as well (maybe only in the "heavy" build though) for those who like them. This way Longbox can read digital comics the user has all ready acquired (legally of course), and allow publishers to submit in a multitude of file formats.

4.) Built In Chat

If you're reading Image's The Walking Dead 7, you may wonder if 1 - 6 are worth going back and reading first. You may wonder how many other fans are reading this same book right this second? You may (or may not) be interested in a more interactive comic book experience. Why not let us chat amongst other fans? What about a chat on opening weekend with the creators them selves? If your going to do that, why not include twitter or facebook aps in the mix?

5.) Mecca Marketplace

Sure, Marvel has its back issue on line catalog. DC has Zuda. Image, Darkhorse, Boom! and others have made use of Myspace in the past but there isn't a single place where all digital comics can be found. That includes self published comics, foreign comics (outside the US), and webcomic integration as well. I hope that Longbox is so industry shattering that everyone feels as if they HAVE to be a part of it.

Now it's your turn - what features or expectations do you have for Longbox?

What do you want to see from Longbox?

Have a great weekend!

- Caine


Sphinx Magoo said...

One feature I wish more readers would offer is the ability to keep lists of bookmarks or hyperlinks.

For example, if I wanted to keep a listing of appearances of, say, Dr. Sivana, I'd like to be able to link to the appropriate file and then to the jpeg in the file. As an artist this feature would be cool way to keep a virtual swipe and reference file. As a fan and researcher, it'd be an invaluable research tool.

Caine said...

I don't see that as something thats too difficult to do. A 'tagging' system would be all thats needed. Also, I really feel as if Longbox's reader will be top notch.

Rantz Hoseley, after reading this post, let me know that everything on my wish list is built into the reader (either in the first build or the second).


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