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ComiXology is a cloud-based digital comics platform with over 200 million comic downloads as of September 2013. It offers a selection of more than 50,000 comic books and graphic novels across Android, iOS, Kindle, Windows 8, and the Internet.
ComiXology's digital platform and Guided View reading technology is used in the company's own branded applications, and is the engine used by most major comic book publishers in the United States, including Marvel and DC Comics for their privately branded digital services. With the release of the third generation iPad and its Retina Display, ComiXology released a high-definition comic format dubbed CMX-HD. The company also provides tools for brick-and-mortar comic book retailers to participate in digital comic sales.
- ComiXology.com (launched July 2007), an online community for comic book fans; the website allows readers to identify upcoming releases and develop Pull Lists (individual pre-orders) from local brick-and-mortar comic shops. The website displays weekly listings of new titles that can be viewed by issue: displaying cover art, credits, description, price, page count, and other information; the site also includes weekly columns, blogs, news, and podcasts. Users can rate and comment on individual comic books. As of July 24, 2014, ComiXology offers DRM-free downloads (in PDF and CBZ formats) for the comics available from selected publishers on its online store.
- Pull List (launched December 2008), a mobile comic book store locater providing readers with a digital Pull List tool, allowing fans to pre-order comics for pick up from local stores through the app. Comics by comiXology for the iPad and the web have the comiXology retail locator built-in.
- Retailer Tools (launched February 2009), a suite of out-of-the-box web solutions for brick-and-mortar comic book retailers to optimize their presence online. Numerous retailers worldwide have integrated comiXology's Retailer Tools into their operations, representing about 2% of all pre-orders in the market.
- Comics by ComiXology (launched July 2009), a digital comic book reader and store for mobile devices, including iOS (launched April 2010), Android, Windows 8 (via the Windows Store), and the Internet (web reader launched June 2010), that allows users to access their digital comic collection across multiple devices.
The company was founded in 2007 by CEO David Steinberger, CTO John D. Roberts, and Peter Jaffe. Subsequent to winning the business plan competition at New York University, the company received seed financing from New York Angels and Rose Tech Ventures.
ComiXology's patent-pending Guided View technology allows readers to read through comics in full screen or from panel-to-panel, mimicking the natural movement of the eye as though readers were experiencing reading a print comic book.
In September 2011, ComiXology's Comics application was the highest-grossing application in the App Store, and together with the branded applications for other comics publishers, accounted for a majority of the five top-grossing iPhone apps.
Having consistently ranked as one of the top-grossing iPad apps in iTunes, ComiXology was called the "iTunes of comics" by The New York Times in May 2012. In 2011, comiXology ranked as number 10 in the top 20 grossing iPad apps for year and also powered two other apps in the top 20 — Marvel and DC. In 2012, comiXology was ranked as the number 3 top grossing iPad app — the only app from 2011 to stay on the top ten list.
In March 2013 during SXSW, an issue arose when Marvel attempted to distribute over 700 comics for free via ComiXology for the Marvel #1 promotion. The ComiXology servers were unable to keep up with user demand, preventing users from obtaining the promotional comics, as well as from reading comics they had purchased. This led to a formal apology and the promotions being delayed. Soon afterward, the promotion was offered again and was reported to have "worked flawlessly". In the aftermath of the ensuing difficulties some users have raised concerns regarding access to their files should the platform ever shut down. To respond to this concern, in July 2014 selected publishers allow for DRM-free downloads of their comics.
On April 9, 2013, writer Brian K. Vaughan issued a statement on Fiona Staples's blog that Apple Inc. had prohibited the sale of Saga #12 through iOS. This statement was quickly reported by the media, the impetus for the "ban" was speculated to be in response to two panels that depicted oral sex between men in a small, inset image violated Apple's restrictions on sexual content. The issue was available through the ComiXology and Image Comics digital comics website stores. The ban was criticized by artists and writers, who pointed to similarly explicit content in previous issues and in other works sold through iTunes. William Gibson and others suggested that the restriction could have occurred specifically because the drawings at issue involved gay sex. A day later, Comixology announced that it had been they, not Apple, who had chosen not to make the issue available, based on their interpretation of Apple's rules, and that after receiving clarification from Apple, the issue would be sold on iOS devices. Brian K. Vaughan then issued a statement apologizing for the miscommunication.
Since Amazon's controversial purchase of ComiXology, the company has since removed the option of purchasing comics inside the iOS app. This change resulted in immediate internet backlash from the comic book reader community, criticising Amazon's acquisition of the distributor. This change to ComiXology's structure has made readers concerned about the future of digital comic distribution.
- ComiXology currently holds exclusive distribution rights on iOS to DC Comics digital content through branded apps and comics by comiXology.
- ComiXology holds exclusive digital distribution rights to:
- ComiXology’s first original digital title, Box 13, has been acquired by Red 5 Comics for print distribution. ComiXology also commissioned a sequel to the comic titled The Pandora Project. Both Box 13 titles were created by the Harvey Award-winning team behind the Zuda Comics title High Moon - David Gallaher and Steve Ellis
- Moon Girl is an original comic published by ComiXology based on a public domain comics character. Moon Girl's creators are Tony Trov, Johnny Zito, and Rahzzah.
Publishers available on ComiXology
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- The lesson of the comiXology blackout. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- APPLE vs. SAGA #12: ComiXology blocks sale of Image comic over ‘images of gay sex’; artist Staples reacts. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Robertson, Adi (9 April 2013). "Apple bans 'Y: The Last Man' creator's new comic from Comixology over sexual content: The distinction between app and art breaks down". The Verge. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Kovach, Steve (10 April 2013). "Comic Book App Comixology Holds Off On Publishing Comic Depicting Graphic Gay Sex Fearing Apple Would Ban It (AAPL)". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Brian K. Vaughan apologizes for saying Apple banned 'Saga' after ComiXology confusion. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
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- "Comixology Announces Highly Anticipated Sequel to 'Box 13' | Hypergeek". Hypergeek.ca. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- Parkin, JK (January 19, 2010). ""Moon Girl" Exclusive to comiXology". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved June 23, 2010.