Comics Creators

Digital Comics


The current Scott Snyder sale on Comixology has convinced me to give Metal a shot digitally rather than waiting for the trade.

The first two one-shots (The Forge and The Casting) - well, two-parter really - are pretty good and set up quite a few interesting ideas, using the multiple artists well. I’ve only just begun reading the main series but it’s off to a fun start.


Oh, and I’ve also picked up Secret Weapons in the Valiant sale after Ben’s review a while back.


Having also grabbed the second volume of Black Hammer in the Dark Horse sale, I noticed that it omits issue #12 (which I gather sets up some spinoffs) and the annual. I’ve bought both separately as they’re also in the sale, but I’m wondering whether the spinoff books are also worth picking up? Or should I just read #12 and see what I think?


The spinoff books so far are not essential reading from a story point of view. They are from a quality aspect and are just as good as the main series.


Ah great, that’s what I was getting at really. I’ll pick them up while they’re cheap.


They are not essential but they do add depth.

I’d also say that Doctor Star (a riff on Starman) and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, in particular, is excellent and really touching.


Thanks, Black Hammer is a great read so far


A few bits and pieces I’ve picked up in sales recently:

VS #1-2

A beautiful looking book, but one that hasn’t really hooked me with its first couple of issues. The concept is decent enough, and the sci-fi gladiatorial combat allows for some cool designs and action sequences, but I don’t have much of a handle on the characters and the overall story just doesn’t seem that interesting.

Metal #1-3

After quite enjoying the two lead-in issues - The Forge and The Casting - the main event felt like a bit of a letdown for me. Especially as it suffers from the malady that afflicts so many crossover books, in that huge chunks of the story are missing if you don’t read the tie-in issues. As such, issues #1, 2 and 3 simply don’t follow on from one another, with the cliffhangers of #1 and #2 more or less ignored by the following issue, which picks up some way further on in the story and assumes a lot of knowledge that you simply don’t have if you’re reading this outside the context of the rest of the event.

Aside from that complaint, the art is nice but the story was a bit of a mess for me - it felt like a bit of a hodgepodge of other (better) crazy cosmic DC stories without much of an identity of its own.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #1-4

This is more like it. This mini that spins off from Black Hammer is great fun, setting out an entire history of Jeff Lemire’s superhero universe via the story of Black Hammer’s daughter trying to find out what really happened to her father. There are some great character ideas here, from the silly riffs on punning names (Cthu-Lou is a favourite) to more fully realised personalities like the title character, who gets a surprisingly compelling backstory set out over the course of the series.

Some of the allusions to the real-life history of pulp heroes and superheroes are a bit blunt and on-the-nose, but in general this is a fun read that’s packed with inventive and amusing details.

I hope the main Black Hammer series comes back soon (after picking up volume two I’m now fully up-to-date with that - which is still great) but in the meantime stuff like this fills the gap nicely.


It’s back now, under the name Black Hammer: Age of Doom with the numbering reset. I think it was about 3 or 4 weeks ago.


Yup it was last month (I bought it in the ‘recently reduced’ section as I’m a cheapskate). They seem to be taking the Dark Horse Hellboy approach of a series of mini series, which suits me just fine. I wish more publishers would.


Ah ok, thanks guys - I assumed that was another spinoff mini.

I plan to pick up the other ‘Doctor Star’ mini, and then after that I’ll jump back into the main series.


comiXology have sent a notice out to press advising of “a major announcement from comiXology Originals via livestream.” The event is scheduled for June 1 at 5 p.m. EDT, with Amazon (comiXology’s parent company) planning to host viewing parties at its various Amazon Books retail locations and Amazon Pop-Up kiosks.

The livestream is scheduled to be hosted by Marcus Graham, director of Twitch Studios (another comiXology subsidiary). Graham will be joined by unspecified “special guests including noted comic book writers and artists.”


I wonder if they’re making a bid for a new publishing line of digital comics. Could be interesting if they throw money at it and rope in a bunch of great creators. Marvel are weak and Image are scattered so it’s a good time in the market for something fresh.


It certainly looks that way doesn’t it? Comixology ‘Originals’ and bringing in guest creators.

It makes sense, they currently take their 30%, publish their own and they take 100% (minus salaries for the creators of course).


More than that it can become a feed for Amazon original series. Infinity War proved that the appetite for comic adaption is still pretty large, we have dozens of properties already and things are going no stop. Netflix are about to go all in on Millar and have a bunch of other deals they might be brewing. Amazon having their own pipeline makes sense, particularly if they throw money at it and steal talent from Marvel and DC. Hell, if they do this right they could easily kill Image as an outlet for indie works. Digital publishing with print support, and a landing place for adaptations if they think your property is suitable. If this is what they’re planning you wonder what took them so long.

This destroys Marvel and DC though. We might get comic wars to go along with streaming wars.


It might heavily damage comic shops too. Take out the cost of printing and Diamond distributing and the retailer’s margin and you can sell comics for a dollar and make the same money or maybe more as a print publisher does.

Jonathan Hickman mentioned this a long while back where those $4 CD singles became 99c in downloads but understood why the publishers held off because of the comic shop infrastructure. That holds no value to Amazon/Comixology.

Those wary of digital comics and still want print may have to get used to it if they decide not to do any paper editions and they sign up A list talent. That is a lot of speculation of course when we don’t know what they’re doing but all possibilities.


My other thought was not to ‘sell’ them at all. I mentioned a while back that I looked at Google Play reviews of Comixology and by far the biggest complaint was it wasn’t a comics Netflix, that you had to buy individual books rather than subscribe to read them all.

Now they do have Comixology Unlimited but I don’t think many have signed up (at least not here) because it tends to be the start of series to tempt you to buy the rest. What if they throw that service in free with Amazon Prime?

It could of course be useless but I suspect we may see a major change with whatever this announcement is. There are a lot of possibilities.


There are lots of possibilities here, so I’m not going to try and guess exactly what they’re going to be announcing.

The presence of comics creators as special guests does make me think it’s going to be oriented around content though, rather than a major change to the business model.

Comixology already provide original material, of course, but it would be interesting to see them take a more bold step into acting as a publisher.


Unless I am missing something they kind of do. Comixology Submit allows small guys to do exclusive to digital stuff (at 50% commission rather than the 30% the pro publishers have) but they still own it. So far I don’t think anything is instigated by them.


I think Comixology Unlimited is still US-only, despite their constant emails to me about it.