Where’s the Digital Self-Pubbed Comic App?

This post is reposted from my website mispeled.net.

So, I’ve been diligently working on a comic book. It’s called Tune (part 1 of 5) and it’s awesome. The whole thing is written, the panels are laid out, and ten pages of art are done (out of 32). I’m having a goddamn blast. I’ve included a couple of teaser panels in this post to give you a taste.

Tune Panel
(click on the image to see it better – the AA is junky shrunken down)

But I’m not really posting to pimp Tune – I’ll let it speak for itself when it’s released. Instead, I’m here to talk about something else – self-pubbed digital comics. Where’s the love?

This year has seen some great strides in digital self-pubbed books. All the major retailers (Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Noble) now offer a way for self-pubbers to get into the action, by going direct to each one or via the aggregator Smashwords. This is widely regarded by everyone in the universe as awesome, except by the people who don’t think it’s awesome (but as Confucius once said, “H8r’s gon h8.”)

But we still gotta keep pushing. So where’s the love for self-pubbed digital comics? I don’t mean web comics – those are more akin to a daily strip in the newspaper and a website will do just fine for that. I mean comic books and graphic novels – things with beginnings, ends, and lots of panels in between.

There are already places like comixpress that specialize in print self-pubbed comics. Those resources already exist, so we have options. But right now, there is no way for me to get Tune on a device, say, like the iPad. The Marvel Comics App is closed, and the two other major Apps, Comixology and iVerse, don’t really have streamlined submission processes. Comixology doesn’t seem to have a submission process at all (as far as I could tell on their website) and iVerse’s submission process is something like, “send us your stuff and if we like it we’ll talk.” That’s fine, but more akin to traditional publishing, three-headed dog (that’s a Cerberus reference, folks!) and all.

Tune Panel
(click on the image to see it better)

Now, I plan to hit up iVerse once I finish the first issue of Tune, since I’m proud of it and they might like it and let me in. But since I’m one guy who’ll have the first of a five-part mini-series done and a four to five month timeline for the next issue (damn you, day job!), I’m not sure they’ll bite. That’s the main reason why I’m interested in self-publishing the comic, not because I’m afraid of the gatekeeper, but because it allows me to work at my own pace.

So where’s the iPad/web/whatever application and portal for self-pubbed digital comic books? Something like Smashwords where a creator can upload once and get onto a bunch of different devices? Has someone built it already? Did I just miss it somewhere? Is someone working on this at least?

  • I hope it’s something forthcoming but haven’t really seen anything. I think one of the biggest obstacles for something similar to kindle or smashwords, etc., platform is the download size. Although hidden object games eat up a lot of bandwidth too and there seem to be lower threshold platforms for those.

    I plan on adapting most of my novellas to comics.

  • “Is someone working on this at least?”

    Yes, panelfly are. I’m not affiliated with them so I can’t tell you any more about it, but the page is here http://www.panelfly.com/myfly/
    Good looking app, though.

  • The panelfly website does hint at this sort of thing with the whole “a place for artists is coming soon” bit. That’s nice to know.

  • I noticed that now Stanza supports .cbr files [iPad only], and can also open books from a URL. So a channel like Feedbooks is not there yet, but the roadwork is there.
    What is needed is an (HTML5 based?) open eComic format. Kind of ridiculous to go with “a bundled of compressed, page sized, fixed resolution jpegs” if you’re not scanning paper.

  • spearcarrier

    Apparently there WAS a place called ashcan, but I think they’re defunct. Which is depressing.

  • There is this. I’ve purchased but haven’t used it yet.

  • Chance Valentine

    Thanks for the link, Shawn!