Tag Archives: Digital Comics

How Soon Will We See a Digital-First Flash Comic?

Flash TV logo on a tablet

DC’s new digital-first Sensation Comics series starring Wonder Woman got me thinking about the publisher’s digital-first strategy. In addition to continuity-free stories about Superman, Batman, and now Wonder Woman, it’s also their platform of choice for media tie-in comics to their games and TV shows: Smallville, Batman ’66, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Scribblenauts, Infinite Crisis, Arrow…

There’s an excellent chance that, with the Flash TV show launching in October, we’ll see a TV-continuity digital-first Flash series by the end of the year.

Double Your Flash!

If so, this would be the first time in years that we’ve had two Flash series running concurrently, unless you count the Rogues-heavy miniseries tied to Forever Evil, Blackest Night, and Final Crisis. (And really, isn’t it awesome that DC has been doing Rogues miniseries with so many of their big events lately?) Flash and Impulse ran together from 1995-2002, and All-Flash ran alongside Flash Comics from 1941-1948, during which time the Flash also had a regular solo spot in Comic Cavalcade.

Admittedly, the Arrow tie-in comic only ran during the first season of the show, but maybe the Flash’s higher profile among comics readers will translate to better sales?

Digital What?

For those of you who haven’t looked into DC’s digital-first comics, they typically release three chapters a month at 99 cents through services like ComiXology, Kindle, iTunes, Google Play, and DC’s own branded portal. Each month’s chapters are then collected in a $3.99 print edition. The comics are designed around a horizontal page layout to make them fit better on tablets and widescreen monitors, with two digital pages stacked vertically to make each printed page. (It typically ends up being about 30 pages of story instead of 20.)

You can read on a tablet, a phone (panel-by-panel view can be awkward for converted comics, but these are designed for, well, digital first), or a desktop/laptop through the ComiXology or DC websites. Or you can wait a month or two for the print edition, or a bit longer for the trade paperback.

Digital Flash Collections at ComiXology and Google Play

DC has added dozens of digital collections to ComiXology and Google Play, including four Flash books:

  • Move Forward
  • Rogues Revolution
  • Flash: Rebirth
  • Flashpoint

In the case of ComiXology it’s not a big change, since the individual issues have been online since 2011 (along with a much, much deeper catalog). It just makes it a little easier to buy a complete story, and it looks like it’s slightly cheaper to buy the collection than the individual issues.

In the case of Google Play, it opens the audience up to Android tablet owners who don’t have a dedicated comic book app such as ComiXology or DC’s branded ComiXology app.

DC has a much fuller catalog in individual issues on ComiXology, as well as collections on the Kindle, iBooks and Nook stores. And apparently I missed the fact that individual issues are also available on those platforms as well, and have been since last November.

It’s not clear how much of the back catalog can be found on these sites. I can’t see the iBooks store at all, and Amazon isn’t set up to make it easy to browse a long series. The Nook store does let me look at a series, but only seems to have backissues that were released since early 2013. No sign of the Brightest Day Flash issues, though they have the collections of Dastardly Death… and Road to Flashpoint, and the Wally West issues start at #84 and have a lot of gaps. I suspect if I went back over my weekly release posts, I’d find those gaps are where DC skipped over issues that had already been posted on ComiXology. I’ve spot-checked a few issues I saw (and didn’t see) on the Nook store over at Amazon, and it looks like the same issues are present — and missing — there. I’d guess iBooks probably lines up with that catalog as well.

Making Sense of Smallville’s “Haunted” Digital and Print Editions

For DC Comics’ same-day print-and-digital releases (i.e. most of their line), the print and digital editions line up exactly. But things get a bit confusing with their digital-first comics, because they run smaller weekly chapters online, then collect them together for the print editions.

In the case of Smallville Season 11, currently running a storyline guest-starring Impulse, every three digital chapters are collected in a print issue the following month. Each digital page is the top or bottom of a print page, run landscape to make it easier to read on a desktop screen or a small tablet.

The numbers get a little confusing because, starting with #28, instead of taking one week off each month to keep the print and digital runs in sync, DC started running a side story during those formerly-skip weeks, which is being collected separately.

Here’s how the digital and print chapters of “Haunted” line up.

Digital Chapters Print Issue
Chapters 25-27
Smallville Season 11 Chapter 25
Issue #9
Smallville Season 11 #9
Chapters 29-31
Smallville Season 11 Chapter 29
Issue #10
Smallville Season 11 #10
Chapters 33-35
Smallville Season 11 Chapter 33
Issue #11
Smallville Season 11 #11
Chapters 38-40
Smallville Season 11 Chapter 38
Issue #12
Smallville Season 11 #12

Two things stand out about the different covers that suggest different target audiences:

  • The digital covers by Cat Staggs go for a realistic look and focus more on the TV show’s cast.
  • The print covers by Scott Kolins go for a more stylized, comic book look, and focus more on the guest star and super-heroic elements.

This suggests to me that DC is aiming the digital editions at fans of the TV series and the print editions at more traditional comic book fans. It certainly makes sense — by numbers alone, a lot of people who watched Smallville don’t read comics, and it’s going to be easier to get them to buy online than walk into a comic store. I really wonder what DC’s market research has turned up as far as the digital/print audience breakdown.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Gets A Release Date and Two Collector’s Editions


Hey Speed Readers,

Some exciting news coming down the pipeline from Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment this yesterday afternoon concerning DC Comics latest video game venture, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Injustice is a fighting game developed in the same vein as Mortal Kombat and in fact is being produced by the studio who brought us Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, NetherRealm Studios (formerly known as Midway). The game is now set to be released on April 16th, 2013 here in the states for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii U game consoles. European gamers will have to wait 3 more days.

Continue reading

Jesse Quick Returns in Ame-Comi

Jesse Quick as the Flash in Ame-Comi: Duela Dent #2

Speedster Jesse Quick is back – not in the New 52, but in the digital-first series Ame-Comi as that universe’s Flash.

If you’re not familiar with the title, it started out as a statue line in which DC’s major female characters were re-imagined as anime characters*. They next moved on to adapting female characters who were similar to more well-known male characters: Jesse Quick as the Flash, Duela Dent as the Joker, etc.**

Earlier this summer, DC launched a weekly comic book online featuring these versions of their characters. Wonder Woman has the first spotlight miniseries, then Batgirl, Duela Dent and currently Power Girl. @TheFlashReborn points out that Jesse Quick makes an appearance as the Flash in Ame-Comi: Duela Dent #2.

There’s one more “solo” miniseries starring Supergirl, and then it rolls over into an ongoing Ame-Comi series. Here’s hoping the Flash will get some time in the spotlight soon.

New chapters of Ame-Comi go up online every Monday on ComiXology, and will appear in print starting in October.

*As I understand it, “ame-comi” is a Japanese term for American comics, so the terminology is sort of backwards – it’s an American interpretation of how the Japanese might adapt an American comic book character.

**Eventually they moved into stranger territory, like repainting Jesse Quick as the Black Flash.

This Week: Digital Flash(back) #34-36

Flash #34: Take off that uniform, West -- You don't deserve to be the Flash!

This week’s digital Flash back-issues at ComiXology are Flash v.2 #34-36 by William Messner-Loebs, Greg Larocque and Larry Mahlstedt.

In Flash #34-35, Wally West, recently moved to Keystone City, has vanished. All he knows is he’s surrounded by an empty void, his greatest failures come back to haunt him. Meanwhile his friends and allies begin the search for the missing Flash, and a criminal mastermind from the Golden Age resurfaces: The Turtle.

In Flash #36, the speedster gets involved when masked gunmen attack a spiritual medium on live television…and the ancient Atlantean spirit she claims to channel not only appears, but fights off the attack. Or does he? In next week’s issues, Wally’s self-doubt will lead him to join this cult, at the same time as investigative reporter Linda Park goes undercover to expose what’s really going on at the Celestial Enlightenment Ranch.