Surveying the original digital comics landscape

bandette-coover.jpgMy new logline on all things comics is that in two or three years (probably two) original digital comics will be where comiXology is now—a major player in the game. Over at Publishers Weekly, Matt White provides a foundational, publisher-by-publisher look at what is going on in the digital-first arena, and it’s a LOT.

Over the last year or so, a new phrase has entered the comic book lexicon: digital-first. This refers to comics that are released in digital format before they eventually reach print. While the majority of digital comics are just digitized versions of print comics, available simultaneously (known as “day-and-date”) or after the physical version hits shelves, current digital-first offerings seem to represent an alternative, more specific market as publishers begin to treat digital more as a complement to print rather than a replacement.

And more are coming every day.


  1. says


    Surprisingly, Image Comics, while leading the industry in terms of creator-owned comics, has yet to announce any digital-first or digital-only titles.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa… Image Comics is made up of different studios and imprints. One of them is Shadowline, by Jim Valentino. has been dishing up digital-only content for a long time — all directed by Image founder, Jim Valentino.

    Some of the books have gone to print, others are still digital only.

  2. says

    Matt did a nice job here but as Jimmie mentioned, Shadowline has been providing ORIGINAL online webcomics for years now…formerly on what was and now on I should know since I’m the guy who makes sure the content is there every week.

    Dirk Manning’s NIGHTMARE WORLD started ran for a few years and eventually went to three published volumes. He followed that up with a yead of TALES OF MR. RHEE. And now Manning and Friends are offering LOVE STORIES ABOUT DEATH, running with original material twice a week.

    In the past we’ve had HANNIBAL GOES TO ROME, CHICAGO: 1968, ACTION: OHIO, and others.

    As Jimmie said — Image is made up of more than a few different partner studios, so please don’t write us off so quickly.

  3. says

    As a guy who has three digital series to date through Image Comics currently running at the site (NIGHTMARE WORLD, TALES OF MR. RHEE and LOVE STORIES ABOUT DEATH all via, yeah, I was a little bummed to read that article.

    Also, while it’s a bit older, the article failed to mention/acknowledge Dark Horse’s MYSPACE/DARK HORSE PRESENTS series too.


  4. says

    Glad to see The Lookouts given a bit of a highlight. That’s been one of the best Indy comics I’ve discovered on ComiXology lately.

  5. says


    While it might seem a little counter-intuitive given the art, the stories themselves are written for teens (read: nothing PG) and the original art itself draws on anime and manga, which have a much greater female readership than North American comics do.

    Of course, Power Girl’s wearing a version of her traditional costume, so there’s only so far you can take the young woman friendly argument.

  6. Matt White says

    Thanks Dirk, Marc and Jimmie for bringing those books to my attention. I’ve added them to the article.

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