AllthefacesofSuperfreaks
Superfreaks concept art by Margaux Saltel

ComiXology and Amazon have been teasing a big announcement about reviving their comiXology Originals line, and this afternoon hey made it official with a roll-out via Twitch and selected Amazon stores and pop-ups. It’s Comixology’s first original creator owned line of comics.

The line – which is spearheaded by Chip Mosher, Comixology’s Head of Content – has launched today with titles available right now, including: Savage Game created by NFL player Ryan Kalil, written by Shawn Kittelsen, and art by Chris B. Murray; Superfreaks from writers Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet, with newcomer artist Margaux Saltel; Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty from writer Richard Starkings, and artists Axel Medellin and Boo Cook; Ask For Mercy from writer Starkings and newcomer artist Abigail Jill Harding.

These titles will be available in a variety of formats and platforms. All five issues of Superfreaks are available now for “binge reading,” similar to binge watching streaming shows. Other titles will be serialized an issue a month. All the comics will be available for sale for $2.99 – but also readable for free for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comixology Unlimited.

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In perhaps the most innovative part of the program, books will be available in print via Amazon’s POD system. One series is listed at $6.99, but other prices are not given.

It’s just the beginning of a large program. Creators on upcoming projects include: Tyler Crook, Kristian Donaldson, Alti Firmansyah, Sam Humphries, Megan Kearney, Kel McDonald, Hope Nicholson, Mike Norton, MK Reed, Mark Sable, Tim Seeley, C. Spike Trotman, Jen Vaughn, and Magdalene Visaggio.

More details on upcoming releases will be unveiled during Comic-Con International San Diego 2018.

 

comiXology_CO_6.1_Reveal.jpgMaking these comics available via Amazon Prime, Kindle Prime and Comixology Unlimited obviously gives them a huge potential audience, but that’s only part of their strategy.

ComiXology CEO and co-founder David Steinberger acknowledged that the launch was taking advantage of Amazon’s ability to test various marketing strategies – and which ones work will influence how future releases roll out. “Some of this is just being done for the first time so that we can see how it works,” he told The Beat. “As a part of Amazon, there’s a culture of trying big ideas and seeing how it goes.” The “binge” option for Superfreaks is an obvious nod to the popularity of binging TV shows, but other titles will be closer to traditional serialization. “We’ll see how that works comparatively. We’ll talk to our publishers about how it’s all going, and share the knowledge.”

Mosher noted that the line has been in the works for over a year, and he’s excited about giving a lot of young talented artists a chance to be seen but it’s also about availability. Because of the digital nature, there’s no set number of monthly releases. “We’re not really beholden to those kind of schedules. The books we’ve announced on Twitch are available on right now. We’re not asking people to preorder or anything like that. We’re doing this launch looking at the data and making tactical strategic decisions from there on the different release strategies.”

One of the more interesting tidbits from the press release is Richard Starkings’ statement that he realized his Elephantmen series sold better in digital than print. And he was a key part of adding the print on demand option to the launch.

“We talked to a select group of people at last San Diego and had our current on demand tests. Elephantmen is one of the books we first used for Guided View, and given Richard’s print and digital background I really wanted to get his opinion on our print on demand capability. I showed him the samples I was very happy with, but I needed get a gut check from him and he was just over the moon with [the samples.]”

For both Mosher and Steinberger, this lunch is a chance to find out more ways to get more people reading comics. “When we look at material our number one criterion is ‘Will this be a great comic book for first time readers,’” says Mosher. “All these series are great jumping on points for readers.”

Below you’ll find details on the five new series as well as some EXCLUSIVE process art from Superfreaks.

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Savage Game

Created by Ryan Kalil, written by Shawn Kittelsen, with art by Chris B. Murray

From NFL player Ryan Kalil and his company Strange Turn comes an original 60-page sci-fi graphic novel that is a high tech version of The Island of Dr. Moreau. What happens when a rogue titan of Silicon Valley creates his own island nation with no laws to hold him back? You get the Savage Game, where audiences watch genetically modified hybrid creatures fight to the death in a fantastic gladiator-style battle. But Conner Bowen isn’t having it. He’s on a quest to stop his mad father and the Savage Game. But is it too late?

· Original 60pg Graphic Novel – $4.99 on Kindle and comiXology

· Free to read for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited

· Available in print for $6.99 as a Print-on-Demand graphic novel exclusively on Amazon.com

“Working on Savage Game has been a labor of love for everyone and I am really thrilled that it’s finally coming out with comiXology Originals and via Amazon’s Print-on-Demand,” said Savage Game creator Ryan Kalil. “I am very excited for the reader response and for the future of Savage Game.”

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Superfreaks

Written by Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet with art by Margaux Saltel

An all-new 5-issue superhero mystery debuting digitally in its entirety – a thrilling story perfect for binge reading – with art by rising star Margaux Saltel. All the world’s superheroes have disappeared overnight, and it’s up to their untrained, largely overlooked teenage sidekicks to find out what happened – while dealing with the biggest crisis Earth has ever known — much to the public’s displeasure. Can they save the day?

· 5-issue series – all issues available to binge read now

· Issue are $2.99 each on Kindle and comiXology

· Free to read for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited

“Not only am I ecstatic about Superfreaks being released today, but doubly so having the entire series being available all at once,” said Superfreaks writer Elsa Charretier. “Readers will experience all the cliffhangers we intended as storytellers, while binge reading the entire series the same day it’s released. And when the world’s superheroes have disappeared overnight, you don’t want to wait to see what’s happened.”

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Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty

Written by Richard Starkings with art by Axel Medellin and Boo Cook

The iconic Elephantmen debuts as a comiXology Originals title with issue 1 of Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty, a 5-issue monthly mini-series. Described by J.J. Abrams as “An Awesome and Unexpected Story. You Must Check it out!” and lauded by Andy Serkis as “Bold, mythic and heartbreakingly cool, Starkings’ universe is a breed apart!”, Elephantmen 2261: The Death of Shorty, is the next adventure of the pulp science fiction series Elephantmen, which debuted nearly 15 years and 80 issues ago from Image Comics. This all-new story is a whodunit that draws our heroes, Hip Flask and Jack Farrell, into the curious death of an Elephantman known to his friends as “Shorty”.

· 5-issue miniseries – issues will be available monthly – $2.99 per issue on Kindle and comiXology

· Free to read for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited

· Print collected edition will be available via Print-on-Demand exclusively on Amazon.com

“Once I realized Elephantmen sold more digitally than in print, I suggested to my friends at comiXology that we create a brand new Elephantmen series exclusively for digital readers,” says Elephantmen creator Richard Starkings. “And yet – for those who’d rather hold a print version – you’ll still be able to order a Print-on-Demand paperback collection as soon as it’s complete! I’ve seen what Amazon can do with Print-on-Demand and it’s absolutely unbelievable!”

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Ask For Mercy

Written by Richard Starkings with art by Abigail Jill Harding

An action-packed and artistically stunning dark fantasy story from Elephantmen creator, Richard Starkings and breakout talent, Abigail Jill Harding. Ask For Mercy is a World War II fantasy horror story in the tradition of John Carpenter’s The Thing and Sandman. Mercy is snatched from her own place and time to join a team of Monster Hunters who are actually Monsters themselves, and together they have to take on a Pantheon of Hideous Creatures summoned to our world by Nazi evil!

· 6-issue series – issues will be available monthly – $2.99 per issue on Kindle and comiXology

· Free to read for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited

· Print collected edition will be available via Print-on-Demand on Amazon.com

Customers can enjoy today’s releases on a variety of Amazon’s membership services. Prime Reading offers Amazon Prime members a rotating selection of over a thousand top Kindle books, magazines, short works, comic books, children’s books, and more – all at no additional cost. Kindle Unlimited offers over 1 million titles, thousands of audiobooks, and select current issues of popular magazines for just $9.99 a month with a 30-day free trial at amazon.com/kindleunlimited. ComiXology Unlimited now offers over 15,000 comics, graphic novels and manga for just $5.99 a month with a 30-day free trial at comixology.com/unlimited. All titles are also available as individual purchases on Kindle and comiXology.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I am very curious about the quality of the print-on-demand graphic novels, but it sounds truly innovative for the comic market. Imagine if you could buy even a cheaper quality paper TPB of your favorite old comic series (think Marvel Epic Collection, or DC’s recent reprints of notable runs) without the publisher having to limit print runs or charge all the money up front. And readers wouldn’t be at the mercy of that publishers trying to prioritize which series they think will presell the most copies. If it’s available digitally already, it can be printed on demand with minimal extra investment as a collected edition.

    As for the binging, that’s a perfect exploration of the digital format. Essentially a straight-to-trade concept where all the work is done up front, so why rely on readers remembering to come back for more each month? Get their money and attention all at once. And if the issues are all available individually, a reader can still sample a first issue and read at their own pace like they do now. You couldn’t do that with every series, but it adds some nice variety to the material available through Comixology.

  2. My biggest issue with this concept is that ComiXology unlimited is STILL US only. I just don’t understand why. It’s not like comic rights are being sold to different platforms worldwide…

  3. Isn’t “binging” a 5-issue series just called reading a book with 5 chapters? Assuming that each “issue” is a standard 22 page comic, that’s only 110 pages. How is this any different than reading a short-ish graphic novel?

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