At New York Comic Con's press day on Thursday afternoon, the makers of the popular cross-platform app Comixology, which is designed to be a digital bookstore for graphic novels and comic books, announced its latest platform called "Comixology Submit." The new program is built to allow any creator of comics and graphic novels to sell their creations on their popular platform, absolutely free.
"Comixology started with deals and a handful of creators, and with Comixology Submit, we're coming back full circle to where we've started," said Comixology co-founder John Roberts.
Comixology Submit is currently in private beta, and it's invite-only. Still, the company encourages users to check out submit.comixology.com to check out what the platform has to offer before it leaves beta, which Comixology marketing director Chip Mosher says will be in about 60 to 90 days. The best part of all is that for the producer of these comics, submitting their works via Comixology is absolutely free, and the special effects process to read the comics they were meant to be read -- a process Comixology calls "Guided View" -- will all be done for the authors, for free. After that, Comixology will sell the work on its worldwide digital platform for iOS, Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire and the Web, splitting the profits evenly.
"As a company, it's been very important to us, and it's something we wanted to get right," Mosher said. "There will be an approval process, which is a work in progress, but we'll be learning together on what should be and what shouldn't be on the platform. We don't want people to scribble stuff with a Crayola and submit it as a comic, but we're all about the customer experience, and part of that is having the widest range of comics possible."
At the Comic Con 2012 panel, Roberts and Mosher from Comixology, accompanied by featured artists Alex De Campi and Kurt Christianson, explained why theirs is the superior comics platform for readers and publishers alike. The foundation of their platform is making the digital product look great, which is helped by a unique feature called Guided View.
Guided View, as Roberts explained to the Comic Con attendees, is comprised of three basic storytelling methods: The Pan, The Zoom, and the Fade. Each of these design elements are geared towards mimicking and enhancing the experience of reading a comic or a graphic novel on a printed page.
"There are some people worried about building comics for digital only, but you shouldn't," Roberts said. "Worry about print later."
Alex De Campi was the first Comixology artist to feature the Guided View experience in her popular comic Valentine, even deciding to translate it in 14 languages for her global readers, which made the experience doubly difficult because some languages like Hebrew or Japanese are read from right to left, which calls for different reading experiences and effects in Guided View.
"When I set out to create Valentine I wasn't thinking about betraying print," De Campi said. "I made the somewhat rash decision to make Valentine widescreen format with big panels. It was very early on in the Digital Era and people wouldn't review a webcomic, and all of these old corporations that wanted to review the comic kept asking if we could send it to them... by mail. There are plenty of choices available for you, whether you just want to make an amazing digital comic with some animation and some music, or you're going to make a physical comic digital."
Kurt Christianson felt that Guided View was the standout feature that made his art enjoyable to read on a digital devices.
"Once you start coming up with your take on the different tricks, then it's just about you developing your story and putting it in there," he said.
Comixology, which launched in 2009 as an iPhone and iPod Touch app, is quickly approaching the milestone of 100 million comic and graphic downloads. The company boasts a selection of nearly 30,000 comics and graphic novels to choose from, with more than 900 of those available for free.
"We're really excited about this," Mosher said, referring to the new Comixology Submit platform. "The private beta, the announcement today... and most of all, we're looking forward to this brave new world of opening up our platform to creators worldwide."