By Todd Allen

iVerse is tweaking their Comics+ app and is in the middle of a roll-out of some new features and a little rebranding.

The biggest news at this point is probably the increased partnering up with libraries.  Digital comics and libraries are an under-utilized connection.  You’ve got a little bit of material released through OverDrive Media, but there’s room for a lot more penetration.  As they note, manga does well at libraries and you’d think digital options would be popular both with patrons and for driving young adult engagement.

When you get into upping the social media/promotions engagement, that’s something was pushing, but is also a standard toolset for web-based digital media.  Enhanced content speaks to some of the DVD style extras Marvel is pushing with their AV platform (though presumably Comics+ won’t be tying digital bonus content to print).

The rest of the tools are just teased, but it sounds like iVerse is getting ready to make a run at getting more independent creators on their platform.

Rebranded ComicsPlus Platform to Offer Enhanced Features for
Content Creators, Publishers, Retailers and Consumers
(June 7, 2012—Waco, TX) – iVerse Media, creators of some of the world’s most
popular and widely used technologies for reading digital comics, today announced
several new enhancements to their “Comics+” platform. Individually, each of these
initiatives provides users with advanced tools with which to read, create, fund, publish
and even promote original comics content, as well as maximize the enjoyment of
comics and graphic novels from leading brands including Marvel, IDW, Archie, Image,
Boom!, Ape Entertainment and others. Promoted together as the more powerful “plus”
in a newly rebranded “ComicsPlus,” these advances strengthen iVerse’s position as
the pioneer in digital technologies that engage all sectors of comic culture – readers,
retailers, publishers and, not the least, creators.
“One of the things the iPad and other mobile tablets do is give us an unprecedented
opportunity for innovation in comics,” said iVerse CEO Michael Murphey. “Comics –
creator owned comics in particular – have a great opportunity to truly take things to the
next level, and we want to help them do just that.”
“There is a lot we can do to “plus up” the digital comics experience, and we want to
emphasize that in our branding,” added Tony Hobdy, iVerse Chief Operating Officer.
To help promote the amped up ComicsPlus both within and outside of the comics
community, iVerse has retained the services of advertising and marketing firm, Bonfire
Agency, LLC, specialists in building bridges between brands and what is loosely
referred to as “geek culture.”
“One of the first orders of business was to evolve what was the Comics+ brand toward
something that represented the stronger, more robust ComicsPlus of today – and
tomorrow,” said Steve Rotterdam, Bonfire Partner and Co-Founder. “The new identity
emphasizes that all-important word “plus,” a word that evokes exactly what users want
from the platform – more content, more features, more power, more versatility.”
Debuting today, the new look also lends itself to highlighting featured content from
participating publishers and creators – and will soon be incorporated into all aspects
of the ComicsPlus platform, as well as across brand partnerships and merchandising.
Bonfire is also working with iVerse leadership in developing strategic marketing
initiatives, targeted advertising, promotions and alliances.
Among the enhanced features introduced by iVerse through ComicsPlus are tools
designed to furnish the creative community with greater resources for the publishing
and promotion of original content. Facebook and Twitter sharing capabilities are also
prominent in the enhanced platform.
“Full details will be announced soon, but one thing that’s true about comics is that
sometimes the story of how the comic was created can be just as interesting as the
comic itself, and we want to help creators tell that story, and help accelerate the growth
of creator owned comics,” said Steve May, iVerse Director of Business Development.
Extra content will be key to the new ComicsPlus. “Fans want to go behind the scenes of
the comics and graphic novels they love to read,” said Murphey. “They want to get into
the minds of the creators. We’re working with publishers to make that happen.”
Another area of emphasis will be in working with the American Library Association
in reaching out to libraries across North America with more effective models to boost
distribution of digital content and leverage the appeal of comics – particularly manga
– to drive and sustain increased usage within the communities they serve.
These initiatives follow the recently announced ComicsPlus: Library Edition, a special
version of iVerse’s ComicsPlus app accessible through library web portals. The app
runs on iOS, Android and any device that can run HTML5, including laptop and desktop
computers. Depending on the device used, patrons are able to download comics or
stream them over the Internet.