You might have heard by now that Stan Lee passed away (which, sadly, is another celebrity death that I care about).
The only time I saw him was at FanExpo Vancouver 2013. Here he is, signing my friend’s Spidey book. “Thank you very much for all the stories” my friend said. “Oh, you’re very welcome” Stan said.
A bit later, all the Marvel cosplayers gathered for Stan, and for a minute he kinda looked like a nerdy version of Hugh Hefner.
News of movie or TV adaptations come and go all the time but today my io9 RSS feed brought me a trio of titles that are directly related to my tastes:
News that the Vampire Chronicles’s TV show seems to be coming for real via Hulu (I’m just sad Bryan Fuller isn’t involved anymore but apparently he’s good friends with the showrunner so it might still turn out pretty).
This week-end in Vancouver was FanExpo, with the shopping frenzy, celebrity line-ups, cosplay contests, and friendly comic-book sketching that you’ve come to expect from such conventions, albeit at a smaller scale for our relatively young Vancouver edition.
Here’s my artist-commission-focused loot this year:
Nadia (from Kukuburi) by Ramon Perez, Conan by Cary Nord, and Iron Fist by Kaare Andrews. And a nice Thundercats t-shirt because I always need a new t-shirt.
Me, a few months ago after the “scandal” of Comixology removing the ability to buy comics directly from inside their iOS app:
I would hope ComiXology manages to revert the change, but frankly I’d rather put my hopes in more DRM-free comics available directly from the creators and publishers instead.
Well my hopes have been answered in a way: Comixology announced last week that you would be able to download DRM-free versions of your Comixology books for publishers who are OK with that:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t have missed the news that ComiXology released a new version of their mobile app that drastically changes how comics are purchased. It was reported on technology, gadget, Apple-related, and of course comicbook-related websites. It was even discussed heavily on RPG forums.
A summary of the situation is that:
The iPad/iPhone app doesn’t have in-app purchases anymore – you’re forced to buy directly from the web by switching to Safari.
Image Comics is now selling DRM free digital comics on their website.
This is huge. Image Comics is the third biggest comics publisher in the U.S. after DC and Marvel. It “owns” famous titles like Spawn or The Walking Dead, and other very good series like Fatale, Invincible, Saga, or Morning Glories (I say “owns” with quotes because the whole concept of Image Comics is to publish creator owned comics, so those titles are actually owned by their respective authors).
JManga, a digital manga service created less than 2 years ago by 39 of the biggest publishers in Japan, is shutting down in a couple months. Most cloud services related fears became a reality when it was clear no refund or backups would be offered. Check out their “Urgent Message” for more details, but believe me when I say it can’t get any worse:
It is not possible to download manga from My Page.
In the previous step in the journey to digital comics we looked at american comics – my main source of graphical entertainment. This time, we’ll look at mangas and its derivatives (manhwa, etc.), which used to be my close second until I became too old to read about high-school girls, alien high-school girls, demon alien high-school girls, and miniature gender-swapping demon alien hunter high-school girls. But then I figured, fuck it, I’ll just look like a creepy old guy in the bus.
The first step in the journey to digital comics was to figure out what kind of hardware device to use. I concluded at the time that either the Transformer Prime or the iPad were the best choices available (the first one for its ideal aspect ratio and superior resolution, and the second one for its better use as a general tablet device). Since then, the New iPad (or iPad 3 if you read this 2 years in the future… thank you Apple) was released with a new fantastic display that makes it the best reading tablet on the market, so you may want to look into this one as well.
The first step in the journey to digital comics is to figure out what you’re going to read them on. These days, the answer is pretty much going to always be “a tablet”… but which one?
I had a quick look at the market back in late 2011 and here’s how I made up my mind. First, I focused on the main ~10 inch tablets of the market. This included, for instance, the Motorola Xoom, the Asus Transformer and the Apple iPad 2.
You may have noticed that, a couple months ago, I bought myself an iPad 2 as an early Christmas present. This was the result of some market research based on a few requirements I had for my next big household change: transition from paper comics to digital comics.
The incentive to start reading digital comics was pretty obvious: after moving my music, movies, TV shows and books to the digital world, it was only a matter of time before I would do the same with my comics.