Digital comic

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Digital comics (also electronic comics,[1] eComics,[2] e-comics,[3] or ecomics[4] /ˈˌkɒmɪks/) are comics released digitally, as opposed to in print. Digital comics commonly take the form of mobile comics. Webcomics may also fall under the "digital comics" umbrella.


With the growing use of smartphones, tablets, and desktop screen reading, major publishers begun releasing comics, graphic novels and Manga in digital formats.[when?] Declining sales and copyright violation have led some publishers to find new ways to publish their comics, while others are just adapting to the digital age while still having great success with the printed comic format.[5] American publishers' attempts at creating digital publishing platforms for local comics and Manga have thus far been more successful than attempts with digital Manga publishing in Japan, which have lacked a coherent strategy to create successful digital platforms in which to publish, and had revenue considerations from the impact of illegal scanlation.[6] Some attempts in Japan have been made, but failed, such as JManga; while others merged with larger worldwide distributors as in the case of Square Enix digital publishing joining the Hachette Book Group for distribution in over 200 countries.[7] Some western notable platforms such as Graphicly have closed down due to the creators getting hired by the self-publishing platform Blurb.[8]

Notable digital distributors[edit]

comiXology is a cloud-based digital comics platform that offers material from over 75 publishers and independent creators, which can be bought or downloaded for free.[9] Its publishers catalog includes both big western publishers such as Marvel Comics and DC; and translations of Manga through publishers such as Tokyopop.[10] As of 2014 the platform is owned by[11]

Marvel Comics launched Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, a subscription service allowing readers to read online many comics from Marvel's history, on November 13, 2007. The service also includes periodic releases of new comics not available elsewhere. With the release of Avenging Spider-Man, Marvel also became the first publisher to provide free digital copies as part of the print copy of the comic book.[12]

Image Comics launched its 'Image Digital Comics Store store' in 2013 which is a part of its company website.[13] It got attention for selling comics digitally that are DRM-free, thereby allowing users to download their comics in PDF, EPUB, and the CBR or CBZ Comic Book Archive file formats to their various electronic devices.[14] It also has exclusive digital releases on its website and offers 5-page previews of its comics online.[15] Image Comics was the first big publisher to offer DRM-free digital comics in the U.S., stating that it believes that consumers should be able to own what they have bought in the case of a platform having major technical problems or leaving the market altogether. It also stated that it does not see infringement as a big problem as most consumers will buy comics that are of high quality.[16]

Since 2012, DC Comics has offered to sell its comics through all three major E-book stores: Amazon Kindle Store, iBookstore and Nook Store, as well as through the site and through comiXology. DC Comics was the first to offer readers multiple formats to download and digital issues releases on the same day as their printed counterparts.[17] The company stated that it sees the future in digital comics, but its digital sales also help the printed books.

Dark Horse Comics launched its online digital store in 2011 which supports both computers, iOS and Android devices. The site allows over 2,000 comics to be previewed.[18]

The website Humble Bundle was originally created in 2010 for selling time-limited pay-what-you-want indie game bundles. Since 2012 it has been putting up pay-what-your-want book bundles, which now and then featured comics. The first fully dedicated comic bundle was in April 2014, hosting material from Image comics.[19] The Humble Comic Bundles are digital rights management-free and support charities.[20] The website has hosted comic bundles from some publisher such as Dark Horse Comics, Top Cow, Oni Press, Boom! Studios and Valiant Comics, among others. The idea behind the bundles from publisher standpoint is to try to find new audiences for their products at heavily discounted prices.[21]

In 2013, Panel Syndicate received critical acclaim and media attention for its role publishing one of the first DRM-free, pay what you want comics by high caliber creators.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ian Hague, Comics and the Senses: A Multisensory Approach to Comics and Graphic Novels, Routledge, 2014, ch. 2: "Sight, or, the Ideal Perspective and the Physicality of Seeing".
  2. ^ eComics – Dark Horse Comics
  3. ^ Evan Dorkin (w), Jill Thompson (a), "Grave Happenings," Beasts of Burden #4, Dark Horse Comics, December 2009, letter column.
  4. ^ Don Macnaughtan, The Buffyverse Catalog, McFarland, 2011: "The BBC collected 14 Dark Horse Buffy stories into an "ecomics" or webcomics collection."
  5. ^ Jackson Miller, John. "Overall print comics market topped $700 million in 2012". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Jason. "Why Manga Publishing Is Dying (And How It Could Get Better)". io9. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Discontinuation of the Manga Content-Browsing Feature". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Melrose, Kevin. "Graphicly to shut down as Blurb acquires employees". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "About comiXology". Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "ComiXology Publisher List". Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "ComiXology bought by". Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Avenging Spider-Man #1 Makes Digital History". 12 October 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Welcome to the NEW". Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Digital Comics Formats". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "Image Comics Now Selling DRM-Free Digital Comics From Its Website". Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "DC Entertainment Digital Comic Books Now Available on Kindle Store, iBookStore and Nook Store". DC Comics. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "Dark Horse Homepage Features". Darkhorse. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Humble Bundle, Image Offer All-Graphic Novel e-Bundle". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Valiant Gets Into the Charity Game With a Massive Humble Bundle Deal". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "How Humble Bundle is Changing the Face of Digital Comics Buying". Comicbook Resources. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  22. ^ Sava, Oliver. "Brian K. Vaughan's The Private Eye is a bold move forward for digital comics". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  23. ^ Johnson, Mark. "The Private Eye: The First Digital Blockbuster And How That Changes Everything". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 


  • Moreno, Pepe & Gold, Mike (Introduction) (1990). Batman: Digital Justice, DC Comics
  • Parker, Charley (1997). Argon Zark!, Arclight Publishing
  • McCloud, Scott (2000) Reinventing Comics, pp. 140, 165, Paradox Press
  • Withrow, Stephen (2003). Toon Art: The art of Digital Cartooning, pp. 12–21, 45, 118-119, 170-171, 174-175, 184-187, Watson-Guptill

External links[edit]