Moon Digital Comic Update

Those of you who follow such things will know that there have been some changes in the world of digital comics recently. A couple of weeks ago, Graphicly announced that they were moving out of digital comics distribution and instead focusing on the wider world of digital publishing. It’s a smart business move as Comixology pretty much has the comics market all sewn up but it does have certain implications for our operation.

As you may know, Graphicly were our partners in terms of bringing Moon onto digital devices and for a time you were able to buy a very nice digital copy of the book for a mere 99c. Sadly with Graphicaly closing that part of its business, this has come to an end. If you already purchased a digital copy of Moon #1 then you will still be able to read it via the Graphicly app on your phone, tablet or desktop. As of now however, the book is no longer available for sale to new readers and I’ll be taking the links down from the site today.

It’s a big shame because we put a lot of time into getting the book ready for digital, but Graphicly are a business and you can’t fault them for wanting to find more profitable ways of operating. Despite the problems it causes us, I actually think that what Graphicly are doing is quite exiting for e-publishing in general and there are certainly no hard feelings at our end.

I’m now looking into a new option for distribution Moon digitally. It’ll most likely take on a slightly more low-fi format, such as emailed PDFs or some-such but right now I’m not 100% sure. A lot of the doors that were open to smaller publishers a few years ago have been closed in favour of deals with bigger names but the changes are far from over and with every shift comes opportunities. I firmly believe that digital comics are a huge aspect of the future of our business and that independent publishers have a part to play in that evolution.

We’ve been forging our own path here at BTB since day one so it’s not like this is new ground for us. We’ll find a way and be the better for it, of that I have no doubt.

In the meantime, you can continue to buy Moon in print from our shop or at any of the conventions you see on the right hand side of the screen.

Thanks to everyone who bought the book while it was available and thanks to Graphicly for giving us a home, albeit for a short time.

Here’s to the future.

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iPad 2 and Comics – 5 Things You Need to Know

If you’ve not noticed from the sound of a thousand apple enthusiasts hurling their old models from balconies and shuffling, zombie like towards the high street, the new iPad has been announced. We know that some of you have iPads and that some of you like to read comics on your iPad so I thought it’d be nice if we had a sift through the piles of release notes and plucked out the choice bits that are of interest to you good people.

1 – Thinner and lighter

The original iPad is hardly a heffer (it’s one of the things that makes it so good as a digital comics reader) but it’s sexy new sibling takes this to a whole new level. It weighs in at an impressive 1.33lbs making it 15% lighter than the first iPad and at 8.4mm thickness it’s a full third slimmer, heck that’s slimmer than an iPhone! Carrying your entire comics collection around with you just got even easier.

2 – No change to battery life

If you were worried that the iPad 2’s new trim waistline was going to affect the run time then you may breath a sigh of relief. Battery uptime is staying put at a very respectable 10 hours. This may drop slightly if you want to play games on the damn thing but if you’re just reading comics then it should be just fine. Let’s be honest, if you’re starring at your iPad for more than 10 hours without a break then you’ve probably got bigger problems than battery life. One word of warning – Apple are still being their usual evasive selves about what the standby time is on the device so if the phrase “about a month” is too vague for your tastes then you’ll want to check the charge from time to time if you’re not using it for long periods.

3 – It looks better than ever…but not quite as good as it could

Apple have promised the best graphics ever but then it’s only the second in the series so you’d kinda hope they’d do that anyway. Nonetheless the step up is impressive. The iPad 2 boasts 9 times the graphical processing power of it’s predecessor and has brought a duel core processor to the fight to help back that up. Will this increase in processing speed affect your comic book enjoyment? Well maybe, but not by much. Digital comics load pretty promptly anyway so the difference probably won’t be that noticeable. The extra graphical power however will be a welcome addition to those of us who like to get in close and study artwork in detail, you’re paying for the artist’s pencils after all, not his pixels. But don’t get too excited, Retina Display (the iPhone 4 tech that renders images at the highest possible resolution perceivable by the human eye) is sadly missing from this version of the device. If that’s your thing (and it is awesome) then you may be better off waiting for the iPad 3.

4 – The stupid button problem has been fixed!

When the first iPad came out it had a button on the side that locked the screen rotation so that you could tilt the device without the image on screen moving about. Awesome for reading comics as there’s nothing as annoying has having the page spin out on you just because you’re trying to read in bed. Sadly, earlier this year Apple decided to ‘fix’ this feature for no discernible reason and changed it to a mute button despite there already being a volume control on the other side of the device. Well you can stop throwing stuff at pictures of Steve Jobs now because the new version of IOS which goes live the same time as the iPad 2 will give you the option to decide which function you want the switch to have…and yes you will be able to do that on your old iPad as well. Internet, you may unbreak-in-half.

5 – No change in price

If the sound of all this has got you salivating then you’ll be pleased to know that the iPad 2 won’t cost you any more than the iPad did. The price is staying fixed at £439 for 16GB Wi-Fi and £539 for 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G and yes, you do want the 3G one.

So is the iPad 2 worth buying as a comics reader? Probably not if that’s all you want to use it for. Retina Display is the feature that will really make comics stand out on the device and the other tweaks, while nice, won’t make a tonne of difference over the last model. If you’re in the market for an iPad then you may be better off taking advantage of the inevitable price drop of the older model as rampant Apple devotees attempt to offload their once beloved devices in order to buy the new version. If, however, you like a spot of gaming with your comics, you like taking photos or you give a shit about Face Time (queue tumbleweed) then it’s a very nice bit of kit to own.

iPad 2 hits UK stores on 25th March. Oh and did I mention, it ships in both black and white. Yeah, now you want one. 😉

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Fallen Heroes panel at Cardiff featuring Barry Nugent and Steve Penfold

Geek Syndicate owner and original Fallen Heroes scribe and all round nice guy Barry Nugent had arranged a panel for us to get on to at the Cardiff International Comic Expo hosted by (top lads) Gavin and Dan from The Sidekick with Barry Nugent and myself …. My first panel I wasn’t sure what to expect but it all flowed pretty painless. Heroically filmed handheld by Stu Tipple of Fatboy Comics at Barry’s request (cheers dude). Sorry for the wobble and the sound but some insight into the thinking and process behind Fallen Heroes is available here if you want to have a look….

The book itself, surviving Insomnia and the team itself (Barry, Martin Conaghan, myself and Gat) the challenges in bringing it to the page and the decisions behind picking me as artist.

Visualising the book, the introductions of the crew and a possible trip to South Africa, Barry’s response to the comic strip, alterations and the only minor disagreement on Issue 1, distribution, Oxicomics vs Comixology, definition of success and a difficult question for me….

Spin-offs, Cy Dethan, TV, the extra 10 copies, the original offer, faithfulness of the TV adaptation, Self publishing, the Grand Plan, why small press doesn’t have to be small press. Round up and questions. Weirdly, occasionally it sounds like a hamster is drinking out of a water bottle somewhere close by.

Ah thankyou.

Pages? Where we’re going we don’t need pages.

Evening all,

As well as playing an insane amount of Fable 3, I’ve been doing a bit of site redecorating as of late so I do hope you like the way things are going. There’s a few more changes in the pipeline (including a fair bit of rather exciting Moon related news), so keep an eye out for those in the next few weeks.

I’m freakin in love with the Comixology app on my iPhone at the moment. I chewed my way through most of the free comics in about a day and am now well and truly a slave to Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead epic. I’m notoriously bad at resisting cool looking digital stuff and at £5.99 for 6 issues I’m having to make an active effort not to blow all my spare cash on zombie related goodies. The book itself is as awesome as everyone says it is. More than most, Kirkman really knows how to end an issue in a way that makes you go right out and buy the next one. It’s like the first season of Lost…but with fewer bears. The thing that’s amazed me so much is how quickly I’ve grown to love the Guided View style of reading comics (essentially the screen flows panel to panel, rather than showing you the entire page). The biggest difference is that you no longer have the idea of each page being a mini story and instead just push on continuously to the end of the issue. It’s a different style to the one I’m used to and given how much time I spend working on page layouts, I should probably be less enthusiastic about this change in the way our stories are told. But then, it wasn’t that long ago that we thought every issue had to start with a splash page or that thought bubbles were a good idea. Our form of storytelling is, by it’s very nature, a very fluid one and if new technology allows us to tell our tales in new ways then I that can only be a good thing…up until the point we’re all struck down with RSI at least.

Now if you’ll excuse me, me and my dog, Growlbion, have got a kingdom to save/wreck.

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