ComicsX ComixologyFollowing its launch in 2007, ComiXology established itself as the dominant player in digital comics distribution — largely on the strength of its Guided View technology, which offered a more fluid reading experience than previous apps had afforded. Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics adopted Comixology's platform in their digital storefronts.

And in the last week of May, Comixology pulled off a major surprise with the launch of Comixology Unlimited, a monthly subscription service that’s hoping to be the Netflix of comics, the Spotify of sequential art, the Marvel Unlimited of books not published by Marvel.

lex Spencer at comicsalliance.com reports that “the Twitter reaction since the launch suggests the news wasn’t just a surprise to readers, but to many of the creators involved too.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


The digital revolution has wreaked havoc in nearly every corner in the print publishing game — except, surprisingly, comic books. According to Tom DiChristopher at cnbc.com, print sales in comics are thriving alongside the rise of their digital counterparts.

“Print comic book revenues have been on the rise in recent years,” DiChrisopher says, “even as digital comics' sales boom. Print receipts have held up at a time when publishers have introduced all-you-can-download subscriptions that offer thousands of comics for a flat monthly or annual fee.”












In 2014, digital comics revenues excluding unlimited subscriptions reached $100 million, according to ICv2— up from just $1 million seven years ago, when ICv2 started collecting data. Meanwhile, the North American market for print comics grew from an estimated range of $650 to $700 million in 2009 to $835 million in 2014, according to ICv2 and the Comics Chronicle. That includes sales of single issues at comic shops and newsstands as well as book channel sales of trade paperbacks, or collected volumes of comics.

There are signs digital comics are butting up against the law of large numbers. Sales growth slowed in 2014 to 11 percent, down from 29 percent in 2013 and 180 percent in 2012. In the coming years, it could be more difficult to keep growing the readership.

Weekly circulation of newspapers is down 17 percent over the last decade, and advertising sales have plummeted more than 50 percent, according to Pew Research Center. Magazine ad revenue is forecast to see only minimal growth through 2019 on the strength of digital sales after five years of decline, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“To be sure,” DiChrisopher continues, “comics are relatively new to the digital domain [and as time passes, the situation for comics may change and parallel the fates of music and print media]. Creators have been uploading web comics since the rise of the commercial internet in the '90s. However, mainstream comics didn't migrate online in any significant numbers until smartphones and tablets became commonplace.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


Less than a month into his new job at the Web’s PandoDaily, Ted Rall, the ever-outspoken gadfly of editorial cartooning and Internet columning, was fired. His PandoDaily gig was the first regular job with a predictable paycheck that the notorious freelancer has held in his cartooning career (see our entry from July 11th, below). No reason was given for the termination, but Rall’s dismissal was accompanied by another, that of columnist/reporter David Sirota, known, like Rall, for his aggressive journalism.

According to Nitasha Tiku at valleywag.gawker.com, “Sirota recently broke a big story about Chris Christie's administration awarding pension contracts to hedge funds, private equity groups, and venture capital firms whose employees donated to the governor's reelection.” Rall had similarly ruffled feathers by reporting that “some Uber drivers made less than minimum wage, contrary to the company’s claims.”

The general supposition swirling around the news was that PandoDaily’s investors were uncomfortable with the direction these two were taking in their reporting. Pando factotums denied any such thing. And Tiku quotes Rall as saying: “"I loved working for [editor] Paul Carr. I had complete editorial freedom. When I wrote stuff that he disagreed with, he not only posted them without comment, he promoted them. I thought, 'Here's a guy with a lot of integrity.'"

Neither Rall nor Sirota had any advance notice of their impending dismissal. Rall told Tiku that the decision was “really truly out of a clear blue sky. I literally never got anything but A-triple-plus reviews.” At first, neither of the newly unemployed would comment on their firing. Later, Rall reportedly said: “Reason given was my work was too political, strayed from core mission, covering tech.”

But, said Tiku, “that complaint about the lack of tech coverage seems tenuous considering that Sirota and Rall both cover the intersection of tech and politics, taking a broader perspective than your standard press release reblog, which is what the NSFWCorp acquisition [by Pando] promised. The flow of tech money into politics is an increasingly vital topic. Earlier this month, for example, Chris Christie traveled to Silicon Valley for fundraising.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com