As the comic industry whirls with the sound of a hundred new digital projects being launched every day, one of the most promising and exciting new launches is Sequential, an app offering a marketplace to buy comics from publishers like Blank Slate and SelfMadeHero – and entirely shunning the output of ‘mainstream’ super hero comics.
Launched last week, the free app offers Apple users a digital marketplace to download graphic novels through their iPad, and is promised to be made available on Android by the end of the year. The create of Toyko-based company Panel Nine, CEO Russell Willis released a pretty challenging press release which I’m going to quote extensively in just a second.
Currently available in the UK and Ireland, Sequential is going to move to America later this month, and will then start building up a presence round the world. A number of publishers have joined up with the service, including Blank Slate, Myriad, Walker Books and SelfMadeHero, and there’s a lot of familiar names available on the app already – Alan Moore (looking just now, it appears today is ‘Alan Moore day’), Darryl Cunningham and David Lloyd amongst them. Perhaps most excitingly, it looks like the work of Raymond Briggs will soon be made available for purchase as well.
The most noticeable aspect of the app is that it rejects superhero comics entirely, a move which should raise a few eyebrows. Let’s take a quick look at a segment from Willis’ press release, explaining the idea of Sequential.
We’re working with the world’s leading graphic novel publishers and creators to expand the market for one of the world’s most under-appreciated art forms — and rather than go the tired old commercial route with the inclusion of superheroes, a genre that has tainted and held back the art form for too long, we stand in *opposition* to what that genre represents and instead will feature only accessible, intelligent, entertaining, life-enhancing storytelling at its visual and verbal best.The time is right to evangelise graphic novels and sequential art anew. Quality graphic novels are being nominated for – and winning – awards such as the Costa prize; digital is making material available to most, and British publishers are leading a renaissance in quality material. Sequential will be making quality graphic novels easily available to all in a specially-engineered deluxe format, acclaimed as the ‘gold standard’, with new features that expand the way in which graphic stories can be told. We expect this to help to expand the market for graphic novels for adults in a way that hasn’t been seen before.