NEW YORK / BURBANK, Calif., June 23, 2010 – DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Fables, is partnering with comiXology and PlayStation®Network for two separate digital comics distribution deals launching today, Wednesday, June 23. In addition, a DC Comics App for the iPhone®, iPad® and iPod® Touch is available allowing consumers an easy way to access DC Comics’ content. The announcement was made jointly today by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.
Bonus: Now we can finally read Zuda comics without that horrible Flash interface, since Flash is to Apple mobile devices what garlic is to vampires.
DC has gotten a lot of flack for not throwing their hat into the iPod/iPhone/iPad ring along with… well, every other publisher under the sun. Comixology paved the way with the debut of their comics reading app last July and even created an app specifically for Marvel. The stakes got a bit higher recently with Marvel going day and date with one of their comics, albeit for a markup. But now that DC has launched its app they’ve also taken the full plunge, putting day and date comics on the app at shelf price, as well as making a more competitive pricing structure: prices range from free, to $0.99, and up.
Anyway, I’m sure you can find plenty of talk about the impact this will have on the publishers online, but my initial thought is that ComiXology has now officially and completely changed the game. A few years ago comic reading interfaces on the iPhone/iPod were counterintuitive, and the selection was grim. Marvel and DC had no presence, and the only Image book available to download was Elephantmen in its own app. I remember seeing the Comixology Comics app before it hit the store and thinking it was unbelievable, and an incredibly easy and fun way to read comics. Fast forward a little over a year later the app was so successful that now Marvel and DC (that’s Disney and Time Warner) have reached out to the company in order to build their officially branded apps. That’s an incredible leap, and add that to the hundreds of other comics on the official ComiXology app that are available to read and what you’ve got is a legitimate stranglehold on the market. That’s huge.
Think about it this way: Diamond was/is the number one source of distribution for comics in this country. The big two comic companies no longer show any faith in Diamond. (DC for quite some time.) Both have latched onto ComiXology as a form of digital distribution. If there needed to be some impetus for the “digital revolution” in comics I think we may have just seen it.
UPDATE: And for all the retailers out there…
“Staying true to comiXology’s support of comic retailers, DC’s partnership with comiXology also includes a first-of-its-kind Retailer Affiliate Program, which will collect a portion of digital revenues to be invested back to and on behalf of comic book retailers in a variety of initiatives.”