The Isotope Communique
Posts Tagged ‘industry thoughts’
Where Analog and Digital Meet

Publishers, distributors, creators and fans of sequential art have all been looking for the nexus point where analog and digital comics meet. It’s been fascinating to see opinions from all sides of the so-called “digital divide.”

We here at the Isotope aren’t format snobs, we’ll stock the comics people want no matter what they’re printed on or how they’re distributed. And we’ve been providing customers from the four corners of the map with their digital fix for many months now. We’ve tailored the experience to be truly “more Isotope” and have been providing our virtual customers the kind of curation and personalized recommendations you simply can’t get anywhere else. Or for those folks who just want to jump right in, we invite you all to feel free to poke around our virtual longboxes and see what else we’re stocking.

Our friends over at Marvel have been experimenting with a bunch of different digital funnybook ideas over the past year. As with any innovation, some of their ideas and implementations are pretty cool, some are just really not as cool as they sound, and some of them just kind of suck.

Their latest announcement, made at SXSW just today, sounds like will be in that kinda cool camp. The marketing folks at the company are calling it Marvel ReEvolution (which inspired my Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution poster at left). Using a swanky new Augmented Reality app, which is debuting soon, Marvel’s wants to “build out DVD and Blu-Ray extras into the comic book itself. Whether users buy a print or digital version, they’ll get to check out animated videos, pencils, colors, and primers on past issues in a series.” These new features are coming in the highly anticipated Avengers Vs. X-Men series (you’re signed up for a subscription at the Isotope already right? If not drop us an email.)

Well, nicely done, Marvel! This is so much more interesting than the simple digital shovelware publishers have been doing up until this point and I have to applaud them for it. You can read more about the Marvel ReEvolution app here.

Of course we all know that the Isotope is truly where the worlds of Analog and Digital meet (or at the very least the absolute sexiest nexus point of the two), but it’s great to see Marvel getting in on the action too. We are definitely looking forward to checking their new application out.

UPDATE: Well I have to admit I’m considerably less excited after checking out this video of it in action from SXSW. It will be neat, I suppose, the first time we see a book on the stands. But personally I was bored watching Iron Man move his arms around even before the 33 second video was over. While the program has some very interesting possibilities (which I hope someday we’ll see) right now it’s only marginally less snooze-inducing than the other guy’s talking poster.

Image Expo: Retailer Panel

People know I love sharing my enthusiasm for the wonderful world of comics and the broader culture that surrounds it, so I’ve been asked to be a featured guest on more comic convention panels than I can remember. The most fun ones for me personally have always been as a moderator, as a naturally inquisitive person I just love asking people questions. And I’ve also been thrilled about being on several panels at non-comic related tech and social media conventions, because it’s great to have an excuse to talk about comics to an even broader audience of folks who probably wouldn’t attend the likes of a WonderCon or a Wizard World.

After several years of being a guest on panels focused on comics retailing, I swore off doing them. In my experience it was always the same retailers up there talking about the same stuff year after year, with a real lack of diversity in their retailing philosophies. I suppose it was fun a couple times being the odd man out, talking about the economy of experience and the fact that the Isotope’s target audience has always been traditionally ignored customers (women, non-collectors, new readers)… but man, those retailing panels always struck me as kind of a waste of everyone’s time, especially as most of the panels were of the “so you want to be a comic retailer?” variety. With the radical changes in the industry in the past decade it was bizarre to me that most of the guests you’d see year after year were all people who’d been in business for half a century. Wouldn’t it be more useful to get some new blood up there behind the mic who just went through the hardships of signing their first lease or getting their first Diamond account? A bunch of old wolves telling ancient war stories might be a fun panel to see, but not particularly useful to anyone except as a marketing opportunity for those retailers. And if that’s all they were going to be, I’d rather flex my marketing muscle elsewhere.

So… I just stopped doing them.

This weekend at the Image Comics Expo is the first time I’ll be on a comics retailer panel since 2006. Because the topic of this retailer panel interests me and I think it will ultimately be useful for folks. If you’re going to the con on Sunday, stop by and check it out. Especially if you’re an indie comic creator (or a prospective indie comic creator)… it should be full of useful information to help you help us retailers sell more of your comics.

Retailing the New Generation of Comics
With creator-owned hits like The Walking Dead, Morning Glories, and Chew grabbing their places on the sales charts and bringing in new readers to comic shops, the comics industry is excited about new titles and new ideas. What are the best retailers in comics doing to strengthen and support the creator-owned comic revolution while competing with faceless online outlets or big box bookstores? If you’re a comic creator, retailer or fan, we’ll help you understand how to stay on top of the next wave of hidden gems.
PANELISTS: Brian Hibbs (Comix Experience), Steve (Third Eye), James Sime (Isotope), Todd Martinez (Image Comics), Jim Zub (Skullkickers)
1pm – 2pm in Workshop Room B

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