Tag Archives: Comixology

Comixology

Comixology finally allows DRM-free comics

In a move that’s been well overdue, Comixology announced today that it’s allowing downloads of DRM-free comics.

For quite awhile, I and others online have disliked the heavily DRMed model of Comixology, which given its near-monopoly position and  that several publishers will only publish via Comixology makes the DRM particularly obnoxious. This is finally a welcome move. I do  have to wonder if it’s in response to Image Comics successfully offering DRM-free comics for awhile now, and thus stealing some business from Comixology. Or if it’s in response to the backlash Comixology’s received from losing in-app purchasing/being bought by Amazon. Or a combination of the above.

The new download feature launched today. To download the comics, go to your Comixology account’s “My Books” section, where you’ll see download options for various comics purchases. The formats are PDF or CBZ. (I prefer CBZ.)

It’s not a complete victory yet. While the option for DRM-free is turned on, Comixology notes it’s up to each publisher to decide whether to offer such an option. The only ones to go DRM-free so far: Image, Top Shelf, Thrillbent, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, and MonkeyBrain Comics. While I could see some smaller publishers (hopefully IDW, Archie, and Boom Studios) go DRM-free, I’m guessing it’ll be quite awhile, if at all, before we see DC or Marvel go DRM-free. Thus, I’d assume the market for pirating superhero comics wont’ be dying off anytime soon. Of course, if possible, you should still buy the DRM-free comics through the publisher’s own websites (including Image’s), as the creators will see more money from sales (Comixology takes 50% of all sales made through their store).

For those who still want alternatives to Comixology, see my post on the topic.

Comixology removes in-app purchasing from iOS apps

ComixologyYesterday, with zero advance notice, came some big comic news: Amazon stated that Comixology will drop in-app purchases for iOS users, to avoid Apple’s 30% cut of all in-app sales on any iOS app. The Android version will still allow in-app purchases, but not through Google Play’s system; Google also takes a 30% cut of sales from Android in-app sales. Android users will have to go through Paypal or Comixology’s own credit card system, which is what Comixology’s website uses. The new versions of Comixology’s iOS app will require buying comics through a web browser, which can then be synced with the now-reader-only Comixology app.

Needless to say, this seems to be a much bigger deal for comics folk than anything I heard at C2E2 this weekend. My Twitter feed shows a lot of people annoyed about the change, and how it’ll make things “needlessly complicated.” I thought I’d list my own pros and cons for this change below…

Pros

More money will go to comics creators

Under the previous system, the average comic sales split was 30% to Google/Apple, 35% to Comixology (which took half of all sales left), and the remaining 35% to be divided up between the publisher and creators. For a $4 comic, this would be $1.20 to Google/Apple, $1.40 to Comixology, and $1.40 to the publisher/creators. Seeing two-thirds of all sales gone to various middlemen before even getting to the publisher/creators (and however that remaining split goes) sounds like a ripoff to me. Amazon probably realized it’d hurt them as well, thus their taking the same path they’ve taken with their Kindle app.

Under the new system (which is how buying books through Comixology’s website has always worked), 50% of sales will go to Comixology, and the remaining 50% will go to the publisher/creators. For a $4 comic, that’s $2 to Comixology, and $2 to the publisher/creators. Granted, this could change in the future (say, if Comixology decides keeping two-thirds of sales for itself isn’t a bad idea), but assuming similar ratios, it works out to an extra 60 cents a book for Comixology/Amazon and an extra 60 cents a book for the publishers/creators (and however further down that’s split up, again). While from the creators’ end that still seems a bit lopsided to me, it’s one less middleman, and thus works out much better for everyone involved. Unless you’re Google or Apple, I suppose.

Slight lessening of Comixology’s monopoly could result

Some people that dislike Comixology’s in-app purchase change could realize that as long as they’re going through a website to buy their comics, they could just as well go through what alternate sites exist to buy comics. As I wrote in my post on Comixology alternatives, it’s possible to buy some of one’s comics from various alternate sources, though Marvel/some smaller publishers are exclusive to Comixology.

Again, having just one excessively dominant source for digital comics isn’t a good thing, especially if (as we’ve seen here) things change and one grows dissatisfied with said dominant company. Of course, DRM locking in one’s purchases to one store, making it harder to switch, is a reason why Comixology seems big on DRM (besides the publishers’ insistence on such). Webcomic xkcd summed this up in one strip.

Still, it’ll be nice if this does make people reconsider whether DRM, etc. is worth the now-lesser convenience of Comixology. It’ll also be nice if it lets people possibly consider sources with less harsh or no DRM, like Image Comics’ website. Some publishers also seem aware of the downside of overreliance on just one store, and have diversified their digital comics sellers (DC and Archie in particular).

We’re already used to buying some media through websites

Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS is designed to work similarly to the Comixology change—no in-app purchasing, etc.—but what few extra steps that might be required haven’t hurt Amazon’s current dominance of the ebook marketplace. Amazon also seems to be doing OK with selling digital music against the one-click iTunes, though they’ve also made it easy to transfer one’s purchases into iTunes on your PC/Mac.

Less censorship of Comixology books

Since one’s buying books through Comixology’s website, Comixology will be free to sell their entire inventory without worrying about Apple banning certain books from its app. This includes books that ran afoul of Apple’s iOS standards in recent months, particularly “Sex Criminals.”

Comics manufacturers’ individual apps still allow in-app purchasing

The individual apps for DC, Marvel, etc. will still offer in-app purchasing, even if Comixology’s app is what they’re based on. This might appeal to some, assuming they don’t mind having multiple individual apps on their mobile device. Though that might be the case already—Dark Horse Comics books are only available digitally through their own app.

Cons

Buying comics from an app might require a few extra steps

Setting up and buying new comics might take a few extra steps over before. But again, it shouldn’t work much differently from Kindle’s ebook store.

Creators might see sales decline if fewer people use Comixology, negating the benefits of removing in-app purchasing

Some have expressed the belief that people switching away from Comixology (for other sites, paper comics, piracy, etc.) might result in Comixology losing profitability, or even fewer people reading comics, as Gerry Conway notes in an article. While I suppose it’s possible sales could drop, as I noted above, I still feel people moving to a diverse choice of other (legal) digital comics venues will be a good thing in the long run. Comixology can still be a major digital comics choice (they do make a nice app); it just shouldn’t be the only digital comics choice.

Conclusion

Overall, while it’ll be a bit less convenient, I have to conclude the benefits outweigh whatever downsides will happen from Amazon’s removal of in-app purchasing from Comixology. If it results in an increased range of alternative choices to Comixology, more awareness of the downsides of DRM/near-monopolies, more money to the creators of the comics, and less self-censorship of what Comixology can sell, it’s hard for me to argue “a few less buttons to push” should trump those factors.

My thoughts on Amazon’s purchase of Comixology

ComixologyWhile there’d been rumors over the past few weeks, earlier today came the still-surprising news that the rumors were correct: Amazon will be purchasing Comixology, the dominant digital comics vendor. This allows Amazon to jump from being one of Comixology’s lesser competitors to one of the most prominent names in digital comics.

Although I’ve been lukewarm about Comixology in the past (particularly its near-monopoly position in the digital comics marketplace, as well as its heavily DRMed comics), I’ll give my thoughts below on the various pros and cons of all of this:

  • The biggest advantage for comic readers will be that Amazon buying Comixology makes it much less likely for one’s purchased books to vanish, a la JManga last year. Amazon’s one of the oldest and largest Internet companies out there, and its founding business (and still a major core business) is selling books, both the paper and the digital variety. Barring Comixology being sold off at a later point, the only way Comixology would go under at this point would be for either Amazon to shut it down (unlikely) or for Amazon itself to go under (extremely unlikely).
  • Hopefully Amazon’s infrastructure (if it’s being used at all for Comixology post-merger) will lead to a more robust app and store for Comixology, and avoid a repeat of incidents like last year’s 700 free Marvel comics promotion.
  • There’s no indication how integrated Comixology will be into Amazon proper. Maybe Amazon will stop selling Kindle comics and just point people to the Comixology store? Or fold Comixology more into Amazon’s site?
  • I assume pricewise, things will remain the same for Comixology’s books. I do assume there’ll be more attempts to cross-promote Amazon’s print comics and trade paperbacks, which’re much cheaper than their digital counterparts and what bookstores/comic shops can offer.
  • Given Amazon doesn’t have much concern about brick-and-mortar competitors in their other business areas (which they’ve successfully competed with or even dominated), they definitely won’t be nostalgic about any traditional comics shops that might get hurt by a more robust Comixology.
  • For creators, I doubt things will change much… I assume Comixology will still keep its hefty middleman cut, on top of what Apple/Google take (if bought through an app). There’s a reason Image and a few others have started selling comics on their own sites.
  • I also don’t expect Comixology’s obnoxiously heavy DRM to change any, either, as Amazon also employs similarly heavy-handed DRM on its Kindle comics. They won’t even load on my Kindle for Mac app…
  • Being available through a mainstream store like Amazon might give Comixology’s comics more visibility among the general public, though the prices of digital comics versus ordering print versions from Amazon might lessen Comixology’s appeal. Comixology’s sales might get more promotion through Amazon, however—say, a mention somewhere on Amazon’s main page?
  • Readers’ and publishers’ feelings (for good or bad) about Amazon might start to apply in the future toward Comixology, especially if there’s any major changes to how Comixology operates.

Overall, for now I assume things will operate the same as usual for Comixology, with all the pros and cons outlined above.

In spite of Comixology’s near monopoly on the digital comics landscape, there are more alternatives starting to emerge, mostly from other large digital companies. Among the bigger alternatives to emerge recently are Image selling DRM-free comics on their website, as well as DC selling single issues through Google Play.

Comixology password breach reported

ComixologyEarlier today, digital comics vendor Comixology reported a security breach, as reported by TechCrunch (and everyone else by now). While payment and password information is secure, Comixology is requiring a reset of passwords. I’d suggest resetting your password now, if you haven’t yet done so (and to choose a unique password, of course).

There’s little other information so far on just how the password breach happened. I do note it comes a year after the infamous “700 free Marvel comics”-induced crash of Comixology’s site. Since then, there’s been no other major crashes of Comixology’s site I can recall, and they later relaunched the free Marvel comics offer with greater success.

For a funnier, snarkier take on all this, there’s The Outhousers’ article on who to “suspect”: http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/news/126591-top-five-suspects-in-comixology-password-hacking.html

Image Comics now offers DRM-free digital comics

The Walking Dead #1Earlier today at Image Comics‘ “Image Expo” convention, the creator-friendly comic company made a big announcement: starting today, all of its comics will be sold via its website as DRM-free digital comics. While one can still buy Image’s books via Comixology, etc., there’s now the option of buying the books directly from Image, and without digital rights management. On top of that, Image is offering a choice of file formats: CBZ, CBR, PDF, and EPUB.

More details are available via Wired: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/07/drm-free-comics-download-image/

This marks a big milestone for a major comics publisher. As I’ve written before, one of the biggest flaws in most digital comic books to this point has been the DRMed and proprietary formatted comics sold via vendors like Comixology. One doesn’t really “own” any comics bought via Comixology; instead, they’re basically long-term rentals. And if Comixology should ever go under, more than likely one’s comics will also go bye-bye with the company. Yes, they’re downloaded to one’s device, but since they’re tied to the Comixology app in a proprietary, impossible-to-use-otherwise format, that doesn’t do much good. Image’s new digital offerings means one can manage one’s own comics much like iTunes or Amazon bought digital music.

Offering a range of formats is also a nice plus. CBZ/CBR have already proved to be popular digital comics formats via independent distributors and (yes) pirated sources. PDF, while usable, isn’t as flexible or nice a format as CBR/CBZ, though PDF (and EPUB) will be more familiar with the general public. I prefer CBZ (or CBR) myself.

Another plus from Image’s perspective is that the DRM-free comics are being sold through their own website. This means no massive revenue loss as is the case with the current digital comics setup, where two-thirds of the money is gone thanks to middlemen. Google/Apple take 30% of digital sales through apps off the bat, followed by Comixology taking another 35%. This should work out much better for both Image and the comics’ creators.

(EDIT) Almost forgot—another milestone by Image is that they’re the first big publisher willing to release actual sales figures for digital comics. Apparently digital will make up 15% of sales for Image by the end of the year. While not indicative of what the other companies’ sales figures are like (which they still refuse to discuss/release), at least we finally have an idea of what going digital’s done for one company.

Hopefully, other comic companies like Archie, IDW, or especially the “Big Two” (DC and Marvel) will take notice and start offering their comics similarly, as well.

700 free Marvel Comics from Comixology, take two

ComixologyComixology’s “700 free Marvel #1′s” comic promotion brought its service to its knees some time ago, forcing them to bail out on the offer. The fiasco also pointed out the flaws in Comixology’s DRM/cloud-based model. (This would’ve been one situation where torrenting would actually have a legit/useful purpose…)

Now they’re trying the offer again, in a more organized manner. Until midnight EST tonight (11 PM Central Time), the promo’s available, but only by signing up at a special Comixology page (http://promo.comixology.com). Comixology will then email you a special link, good for accessing/downloading the comics within 48 hours of receiving said link.

We’ll see if this goes better; I assume they’ve leased out extra server space for the 48-hour period.

Comixology crashes, or why a single dominant digital comics vendor is a bad idea

ComixologyThe big comics story this week so far has been Comixology, the popular (and dominant) digital comics vendor, being inaccessible for most of the past few days. To summarize: Marvel made an offer for 700(!) free first issues of various comics via Comixology. The offer was supposed to have run starting Sunday through the next few days. However, Comixology apparently didn’t have the server capacity (or bother to temporarily rent out extra capacities) to keep up with the demand, and the entire site crashed/came to an unusable crawl. Not only could customers access the Marvel offer, but no other vendor (DC, Archie, small-press companies, etc.) could sell any of their books, either. Marvel rescinded the offer (“for now”), and Comixology is now back up and running. Comics Alliance details the whole ugly mess here.

I’ve written about the downsides of Comixology‘s proprietary model for its comics before (your purchases just being glorified rentals you don’t own, DRM, etc.), but this sums up why the comics industry relying on a single digital comics vendor is a bad idea. At least DC and Archie have recently started offering their same-day digital books through Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, so they’re in better shape than Marvel and others that solely use Comixology/Comixology-based apps for their same-day digital books. Ditto Dark Horse (which uses its own proprietary DRMed app), plus indie/smaller-press sellers offering digital books on their own (without DRM). Imagine if Comixology‘s woes had continued through Wednesday, a.k.a. new comics day: I could go to Nook, Kindle, etc. and still buy the newest DC or Archie fare, but not so much Marvel’s. Still wonder why the comics industry stampeded to basically adopt a digital version of the Diamond monopoly model for physical comics…

And yes, I’ll say again that DRM in digital comics still needs to go. The comics are already easily available via piracy sources (torrents, Usenet, etc.), and the attempt at locking users into one specific comics app/vendor is ludicrous, heavy-handed, and short-sighted. Said flaws would be made even worse if, say, Comixology went out of business (if this week’s any indication, Comixology’s customers might be left high and dry).

To wrap things up, here’s a link to a post I wrote about digital comic alternatives to Comixology.

Digital comics alternatives to Comixology

Archie #640 on the Nexus 7
Archie #640 in the Nook app on the Nexus 7.

Updated 5/1/14

While Comixology’s come to become the dominant force for digital comics, is convenient, and has a nice enough app, it does have some flaws. For one, comic companies and creators seem to have rushed into handing things over to a digital near-monopoly after years of complaining about the physical monopoly distributor for comic shops, Diamond. For another, there’s the proprietary nature of Comixology’s purchases—they’re in a file format that’s tied to the Comixology app, and thus no way to back up one’s purchases to an external hard drive, use an alternate program for reading comics, and so forth.

For some, Amazon’s recent purchase of Comixology and its changes to in-app purchasing might also be an annoyance.

Thus, I thought I’d post a few online alternatives I’ve used for reading comics. Again, these are legal alternatives—so you won’t find Usenet or torrents here. I’ll also update this post as needed to reflect new developments (again, see Comixology’s major changes in April 2014).

Image Comics’ website

Image Comics made a big splash in 2013 when they announced that they’ll be selling digital rights management (DRM)-free comics. So far, it seems to have been fairly well received, and it also means one can fully own all those issues of “The Walking Dead.”

Buying through Image’s website also means fewer middlemen skimming a high amount of money off of sales. For instance, Comixology takes 50% of all sales made through its app or website. Image selling comics through their own site thus means more money will go to the creators.

It also avoids censorship concerns, such as Apple’s rejection of an Image title (“Sex Criminals”) from Comixology’s iOS app. While Comixology’s in-app purchase changes should lessen censorship concerns, censorship threats are nonexistent when Image is selling the comics on their own site.

Thrillbent

Mark Waid’s website Thrillbent also offers DRM-free comics. While not as large a selection as Image’s, there’s still some choices available here.

DriveThruComics.com

Drive Thru Comics is a site that specializes in DRM-free, smaller-press and independent books; no DC, Marvel, or Archie material here. The highest profile titles on Drive Thru Comics are “2000 AD” (the long-running British magazine featuring Judge Dredd) and Top Cow’s books (Witchblade, etc.). The books here are offered largely as DRM-free PDFs, watermarked with the purchaser’s name.

Nook Store (Barnes and Noble)

Barnes and Noble’s online Nook store offers everything in EPUB format, including its comics. While wrapped in DRM, the comics still at least come in an actual non-proprietary file format. The Nook app comes in versions for iOS and Android; development on Mac and Windows versions has ceased.

Comics offered include same-day digital offerings for DC Comics and Archie Comics. There’s also digital trade paperbacks from DC, Marvel, Archie, IDW, and some other publishers. Manga and some comic strip compilations (Pearls Before Swine, Get Fuzzy) also have digital versions offered. Some Marvel trade paperbacks are offered, but single-issue comics are only available through Comixology or Marvel’s own (Comixology-based) apps.

Apple (iTunes)

Apple itself offers some comics, available through the iTunes store or the iBooks app available on iOS devices (and Macs with the release of OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”).

For single issues, Marvel’s as usual a no-show, but DC Comics offers its entire line as same-day digital offerings. Marvel and DC both offer various trade paperbacks on iTunes. Image also has some titles, particularly “The Walking Dead,” as single issues or trade paperbacks.

Kobo

Since the closing of Borders a few years ago, Kobo doesn’t have a very strong presence here in the US. Kobo’s app is still often included by smaller tablet/ebook reader manufacturers, however. Kobo also has a strong presence outside the US, especially in places Amazon or Barnes and Noble have a reduced or no presence. Kobo’s approach is to offer comics in either a proprietary format (similar to Comixology) or in an EPUB format (like Nook), though largely the former. The ebook descriptions will openly list what format it’s in, whether there’s DRM (which all its ebooks have, save some self-publishers), and what platforms it may be read on. Kobo offers apps for most of the major mobile and desktop platforms.

Marvel and DC don’t offer single-issue comics or trade paperbacks through Kobo. From my perusal, Kobo’s biggest comic company is Archie—Archie offers same-day digital comics through Kobo, as well as some trade paperbacks. Some smaller publishers also offer trade paperbacks (but not single-issue comics), including Image’s “Walking Dead” series.

Dark Horse

Dark Horse Comics is noted as being the one major company that’s refused to offer its comics for sale through Comixology. Thus, if you want digital comics from Dark Horse (such as their “Star Wars” line), you’ll have to use their own app. Like Comixology’s app, all of Dark Horse’s comics feature DRM. In-app purchasing is still allowed through Dark Horse’s app, however. Recently, Dark Horse has also begun offering comics from Dynamite through its digital storefront/apps.

Google Play

In recent months, Google’s been beefing up its digital media offerings through the Google Play store. It’s now possible to buy digital comics from Google through the Google Play website or the Google Play Books apps, the latter available for iOS and Android.

Google’s digital comics (under its “Books” section) include same-day single-issue and trade paperback versions of comics from DC, Archie, Image, and a few other publishers. Once again, Marvel isn’t included for single issues, but its trade paperbacks are carried.

One positive aspect of Google Play: unlike Nook and Kindle, one can download most of one’s purchases as DRM-free, watermarked PDF files, with some books also offering Adobe DRMed EPUB files. (There’s a “digitized by Google” watermark on the bottom corner of each page of the PDFs.) To access this, go to the “Books” section of the Google Play store in your browser, then click on the “My Books” tab. Hovering your mouse over one of the book’s/comic’s covers, you’ll see a dash in the upper right corner of the cover. Click on the dash, and there’ll be a pop-up menu giving the option to download the book as a PDF (and/or as an EPUB if available).

I do have some nitpicks for Google’s service. For starters, a choice of formats besides PDF and EPUB (such as CBZ/CBR) would be nice. For the PDFs, no or less-aggressive watermarking and not making the very first page—and thus the comic’s desktop icon—a notice from Google would be nice. The notice page can at least be edited out in OS X’s Preview app. Perhaps Google could move the notice to the second page  (like real books) or last page instead? Finally, a few books for some reason don’t offer any sort of download option at all, making them just as locked into Google’s app as Comixology’s books.

Still, it’s nice that Google’s providing the option of downloading a backup copy of one’s purchased files.

Conclusion

Overall, the digital comics landscape is still dominated by Comixology. Still, the number of alternatives has grown over the past year alone. Hopefully the competition will lead to improvements in Comixology’s service as well, particularly the DRM aspect.

If curious, most of my digital comics purchases are through Google Play these days, though I’ve also used Nook in the past.

The best and worst of 2012 in comics

Life With Archie #16Since it’s time for “end of 2012″ lists aplenty, I thought I’d get in as well. And since everything seems to be couched in “best of”/”worst of” lists, I’ll go that route as well. So let’s start off with a look back at the best and the worst of comics over the past year.

Best

  • The wedding of the adult Kevin Keller in “Life With Archie” selling out, as well as One Million Mom’s boycott of “Toys R Us” for carrying the issue backfiring hard. 
  • Similarly, the wedding of Northstar in the “X-Men” comics.
  • “Batwoman” winning a GLAAD award.
  • The present-day Kevin Keller’s own comic, which continued to be entertaining.
  • “Reed Gunther,” a fun Western/light-horror comic. Unfortunately, it’s been canceled.
  • DC Comics selling same-day digital comics through the Nook and Kindle stores. A move away from Comixology’s digital monopoly and their heavily DRMed comics model is a good thing. (Yes, the Nook/Kindle books are still DRMed, but at least they’re actual files one can remove the DRM on and back up…)
  • The 2012 C2E2 show in Chicago. Still fun, even if I could only spend a single day there.
  • Another “Love and Capes” series!
  • “Superman Family Adventures,” the one DC book I’m still reading (unless waiting for the trade paperback for Morrison’s “Action” run counts).
  • Archie’s “New Crusaders” has been enjoyable.
  • Dan Slott’s run on “Amazing Spider-Man,” and Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Miles Morales’ title.

Worst

  • The “Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes” miniseries. Dragged out plotline + my existing dislike of Q (even if he apparently got rather easily captured by Fred Flintstone’s evil cousin, a.k.a. Vandal Savage) + the predictable “reset button” ending rendering it all even more pointless = “hoped that Star Trek/Dr. Who crossover did better with Who fans.” Still, at least this series acknowledged the Kal-El Superboy was a Legionnaire.
  • The shutdown of Graphicly, with the promise of keeping their comics servers up for those that bought books through them…for now, anyway. A big reason I don’t like the Comixology digital model of (basically) paying full price for what amounts to renting comics long-term, as long as the company stays in business/with files tied strongly to a proprietary app. I can only hope the recent move by DC to sell their books as actual digital files via Kindle and Nook stores means Comixology’s glorified-rental model won’t last, and that some changes are in store.
  • The Meaning of Lila” ended its newspaper run. I’m currently reading the strip’s reruns on GoComics.com.
  • DC Comics overall is definitely on this list. Long story short, the “New 52″ reboot bites, and I still wish DC had different, more progressive-minded leadership as a company. To wit:
    • The cancellations of Mister Terrific and Static’s books. As troubled as they were, they could’ve at least tried to keep them around a bit longer, or clear up their writing/editing situations. Instead, they’re both axed to make room for Yet Another Batman-related Book, among other things.
    • DC’s ugly new “Peel” logo.
    • Captain Marvel is now called “Shazam“… and Billy Batson’s been turned into some obnoxious, rude brat.
    • “Watchmen” prequels nobody wanted or needed, despite the otherwise excellent staff involved in producing them.
    • Re-introducing the “New 52″ Earth-2 Alan Scott as gay is OK, albeit at the expense of his now-nonexistent gay son Obsidian, since they’ve also de-aged Alan into his 20s like the rest of the characters in “New 52″ line. (Even Bronze Age DC’s timeline with Superman being 29 wasn’t as extreme as the take in the “New 52″—the JSAers were allowed to age!) However, what happened to Alan’s better half—being killed off right after being introduced—puts this on the “worst” list.
    • Superman being written out-of-character. Clark Kent should never say the words “booty call,” DC. And the “Little Abner” “early days” costume is still dumb.
    • Lois’ treatment in the “New 52″ is still lousy. Given they have a major movie coming out starring, among others, Lois, can’t see DC keeping this up through 2013 (Superman’s 75th anniversary)… then again, this is DC…
    • The Superman-Wonder Woman romance. Bad fanfic/fanboy fantasy ideas given the “green light?” Um, no. Again, “major Superman movie out in 2013″ (see Lois above)…
    • Plenty more I’ve probably missed, but it’s probably easier to read this blogger’s post about DC this year, which sums things up pretty well.

As lousy as the worst of the above could be, the best of comics this year, as always, will leave a much better impression of the medium. I look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for comics!

 

DC Comics to sell same-day digital comics via Nook, Kindle, and Apple

DC ComicsYesterday, DC Comics announced that they’ll start selling same-day digital comics through several non-Comixology sources. These sources include Barnes and Noble’s Nook store, Amazon.com’s Kindle service, and Apple’s iBookstore service. The comics will apparently be priced similarly to Comixology’s (i.e. the same as the paper copies). Details may be read here.

I view this as a big step, plus a positive sign. Perhaps someone at DC’s realized that giving Comixology a complete monopoly on digital comics was a bad thing, or would put them in the same situation as that for the monopolistic distributor for comic book shops, Diamond. Still, an actual wider range of choices to buy comics from is a good thing. Said bookstores are also much more prominent among the general public than comic-specific apps; one can buy comics alongside “regular” text books, magazines, etc., just like the old days (when comics were sold at newsstands).

The usual downsides are that the comics are still overpriced (a reason I’ve mostly moved to trade paperbacks, which fortunately are also sold digitally via the above sources), and that they’re still DRMed as ebooks. However, the biggest advantage over Comixology is that they’re in EPUB format (or Kindle’s non-EPUB format) like any other ebook—and that means there’s an actual file I can back up on my own, plus remove the DRM myself. While I’d prefer DRM-free materials, as long as I can perform the latter (which with Calibre and a few plugins is easy… future blog post on this, I suppose), I can finally switch to buying “Superman Family Adventures” digitally, probably via the Nook app on my Nexus 7.