Comics resource site and digital developer Comixology has launched the Guided View Authoring Tools early adopters program, a new venture that will give independent artists and publishers free access to the development tools it uses to prepare comics for digital delivery through its Comixology app and digital retail channel.

Comixology, the developer of the Comics by Comixology app, an iTunes-like digital comics marketplace, as well as the developer of iPad and iPhone apps for DC Comics and Marvel, launched the invitation-only early adopters program with publishers--Tokyopop, Devils Due, Arcana—as well as several individual artists. This initial program will soon expand into a limited public beta program. Essentially, the new program gives users online access to the same digital tools Comixology uses to convert comics into its Guided View technology, a patent-pending animated display technology that allows consumers to read a digital comic panel-by-panel on a handheld device by just tapping the screen.

David Steinberger, CEO of Comixology, said preparing comics for the Guided View technology is a “labor intensive” process that has caused a backlog. While Comixology can convert up to about 200 new comics a week for delivery through the Comixology app, Steinberger said demand to get content in the channel has been overwhelming. By opening access to the Comixology authoring tools, Steinberger said he will speed up the process of getting comics into the Comixology digital marketplace. Once the beta program is complete, Steinberger said he hopes to launch the early adopters program as a suite of online tools open to anyone by early next year. Creators and publishers can sign up for the Beta program here.

“Creating opportunities for publishers and independent creators is a major focus for us,” Steinberger said. “We created these tools for ourselves—they are the actual tools we use at comiXology when creating Guided View—and realized the great opportunity for anyone to use them. The tools will give publishers and creators an equal opportunity for visibility, while creating more diverse content for our community.”

Comixology has become the go-to developer for app creation for Apple’s iPod and iPhone devices as well as a major digital delivery channel in the infant digital comics marketplace. The Comixology app/store offers a wide variety of comics by publishers and self-publishers who pay only a transaction fee to Comixology once their content is purchased and downloaded. Steinberger said the new program will appeal to young creators and self-publishers hoping to get their comics in front of readers as well as small or even larger publishers who want to speed up the processing and get their comics into the retail channel quickly.

Steinberger explained that once a creator or a publisher converts their content with the Comixology tools, “they can submit the comic to us and if it’s professional quality, we can post it to the site quickly once we get Apple’s approval. It helps us get more diverse content faster and if you’re a publisher or artist, you don’t have to have a distribution deal. We think its cool.”