In a long awaited announcement, DC Comics has teamed with the comics resource site and app developer Comixology to make its comics available through the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch beginning today; and in a separate deal, DC’s comics will also be distributed through the PlayStation Network. Both deals will launch with more than 100 issues of DC comics content—featuring classic issues of Batman, Superman and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series—as well as a free 10-page preview of “Grounded,” J. Michael Straczynski and artist Eddy Barrows’s specially commissioned 700th issue of Superman.
The DC Comics-branded iPhone/iPad app is developed by Comixology, which also developed its own general comics storefront app along with the much praised Marvel-branded iPhone/iPad app. DC’s digital comics will be offered at prices ranging from $.99 to $2.99 per periodical issue and going forward digital comics will be released on the same day as print versions. In addition to DC Comics, works from its imprint Vertigo, WildStorm and Zuda lines will be available as well as such classic titles as Batman: Hush, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Fables: Legends in Exiles and Planetary.
The PlayStation distribution deal will launch with about 80 issues available through the PSP portable gaming device and subsequently will offer as many as 50 new comics each month. Issues will also be priced from $.99 to $2.99. DC Comics based on videogame properties will be released exclusively through the PlayStation network.
The comics industry has been waiting for DC to announce its digital strategy. While the house manages Zuda.com, a site hosting original web comics, some of which have been brought into print, this is the news that the industry has been waiting on—digital distriution through the iPad/iPhone App Store. And after the wildly positive reviews of its general comics app and Marvel’s iPad app, Comixology has become the go-to developer for comics reading and retail applications.
Comixology’s iPhone/iPad app also works to connect consumers with physical comics shops and the DC Comics app will feature a Retailer Affilitate Program, which will collect a portion of digital revenues to be invested in real-world comics retailing. More details to come. Joe Field, owner/operator of the comics shop, Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff and a member of the retailer association ComicsPro, said the ComicsPro board, “is looking forward to continuing our dialog with DC Comics to figure out how their digital strategy can lead to new customers for storefront retailers.”
DC Comics co-publisher (and superstar DC Comics artist) Jim Lee, said, “it has been a top priority that DC forges a meaningful, forward-looking digital strategy. As both a comic book creator and Co-publisher, it was incredibly important that our plan includes not only creator incentive payments, but also an innovative component that supports comic shop owners. We see digital as an opportunity to grow our entire business.”