As we stand on the precipice of war, I’d like to start with an inspirational quote:
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself…and that shitty comiXology update.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Uh, wow, Frank. That was mighty prescient of you.
More on comiXology in a bit, but if you’re one of the two people wondering where this newsletter was last week (Hi, Mom! Hi, Dad!), David Schrader and I were busy putting the finishing touches on the second volume of NIGHTMARE THEATER.
(It came out great, thanks for asking.)
If you’re a backer and you missed the update about claiming your digital rewards, click here.
Now, a little news roundup before I get to the main thrust of this here missive…
One of these things is not like the others…
Two weekends ago, I mentored creators in the first ever comic jam hosted by Comic Book Curious and Portland State University.
In addition to co-hosting a panel on Kickstarter, I wound up judging the contest and offering guidance alongside such luminaries as Tini Howard and Mark Russell.
(How I fooled anyone into thinking I belong in such august company, I may never know, but it was a blast to talk shop with such talented and accomplished creators.)
It was a pretty intense weekend, in which several teams competed by creating a ten page comic in just three days. The winners walked away with free Wacom tablets, gift cards to their local comic shops, and a commission to make a short comic, which I’ll be editing.
(Fooled ‘em again!)
The first mentoring session was this past weekend, and I’m excited to see what comes out of this crazy experience.
Trust the science
After our conversation last time about what audiences want, I ran a poll on Twitter to see what the people thought.
(I am, if nothing, a man of the people).
And the results are clear: the people want to be entertained:
I’m sorry, but 8 people voted, and the matter is settled.
Now, about that comiXology update…
When I lived in New York, I had my choice of great comic shops just a short subway ride away: Midtown Comics, Cosmic Comics, St. Mark’s Comics, Roger’s Time Machine, Jim Hanley’s Universe… It was a comic lover’s dream.
But now I live in a place where the nearest shop is 45 minutes away in good traffic, and while it’s a great shop that’s very indie-friendly, it’s not always easy for me to get down there. So I rely on comiXology for most of my comics-reading needs these days.
When Amazon bought them several years ago, the first and only real change of note was that you could no longer make in-app purchases. This led to a clunky user experience, but the fact that comiXology had such a robust website made it… well, if not OK, marginally less terrible.
On its website, comiXology would suggest titles I might like based on my reading habits. I could browse the week’s new releases by publisher. And I’d often stumble across some gem I’d never know about otherwise, thanks to the thoughtful, well-designed page.
Amazon has jettisoned the old comiXology site, and while you can still check out the week’s new releases on the Kindle Comics page, many of the smaller publishers are missing from that list. And, yeah, you can sort by publishers, but only the bigger ones are listed.
It’s a huge loss for comics creators and anyone who cares about digital comics.
Those companies he names are indeed putting out some of the best comics on the shelves these days.
Just take Aftershock, for one.
Their recent output is incredible, from SCOUT’S HONOR, to KNOCK ‘EM DEAD, to CHICKEN DEVIL, to THE GOD OF TREMORS (which might be the best work of Peter Milligan’s career). And yet, with comiXology’s dreadful redesign, you’d barely know Aftershock existed.
For my money, the update to the app itself wasn’t nearly as tragic as the site redo, but, yeah, that’s not great either.
Comics fans are LOUDLY expressing their displeasure, and even comiXology is retweeting articles about how crappy comiXology is…
But I want to end on a positive note, because I really hate to spread negativity.
So, while it’s sad to see something that was once great go downhill so quickly, I hope Amazon listens to the fans and makes some improvements.
Because, as we all know, Amazon is great at listening…
That’s all for now. Next time around, I’ll update you on what’s happening at the FRIED Diner, shoutout some great comic Substacks I’m enjoying, and (insert third thing here before you hit “publish”, dumbass).