Greg Baldino’s C2E2 Report #9 – At Your Digital Service

Greg Baldino continues to report for Bleeding Cool from the floor of C2E2.

My name is Greg Baldino. C2E2 is my beat this weekend.

David Steinberger was onhand to talk about his digital comics service ComiXology. The company had started out as a service for people to make online pull lists which could then be uploaded to their local comic book store. Now they’re getting into the digital comics business. According to Steinberger, they have the most available comics of any app currently available for the iPhone and iPad, with the majority of their issues priced at a buck, although a few titles are priced at $1.99.

The application itself was originally designed for iPhones, but for the iPad has retained the function of being able to scroll through a comic page or view it as individual panels. While a standard J H Williams III page might be tricky to render in this manner, it’s worth noting that for the visually impaired this may make it easier to read comics.

One of the big issues we talked about was ownership rights, as in the early stages of ComiXology the comic book Jesus Hates Zombies was pulled after only six hours of availability when Apple said to take it down. In response, Steinberger has seen to it that customers will continue to own things they have purchased regardless, and has set it up so that non-Apple approved material can be acquired from outside of the app but still used by it. In comparison to the debacle with Amazon’s Kindle and 1984, ComiXology users are purchasing content rather than leasing a service.

The company is also setting up a kids’ app, which will only allow users to access all-ages appropriate material. “My nieces got iPhones for Christmas,” said Steinberger, “and my brother called to say ‘Hey we got your app on there!’ and I said ‘You’ve gotta take that off!’” Steinberger is also interested in making public domain comics available, and is very interest in making creator-owned work available as well.

Greg Baldino lives and writes in Chicago, where he watches over the local comics scene like a posthuman autocrat. His fiction and journalism has appeared in many publications internationally. He can be contacted at greg.baldino@gmail.com.

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