Today, the first issue of M.I.A. has been released on ComiXology!!!! I'm beyond pumped and excited. There is no website I frequent more than this one so it's surreal to see this issue my sister and I worked on up on the site.
Part of the dream was to hold a finished product in my hand, but most of my aspiration was geared around seeing my created panels in their trademarked Guided View format. But before I describe how I believe this platform is improving upon this sequential art form, let me talk about how I was against this movement years ago.
Comics were meant to be hunted and bought at small shops wherever I was, bagged and boarded, and kept in long boxes. When the digital option started coming into the market, my gut check was uncharacteristically against progress and technology. I feared this was a gimmick publishers were testing in order to lower costs and make a quicker buck. Chances are, if you haven't really embraced the digital format yet, these are some of the same reasons why.
But over time, ComiXology rose above the other platforms because it embraced the elements of story telling and curated a way to enhance it. Comics are written in a way that you turn a page for the reveal. Naturally, our eyes are drawn what is on the page before we read up to that moment so this trick of the trade is essential to pacing the reader for those dramatic moments. What comiXology's Guided View does is take that element to the next evolutionary step. The transition between panels now keep the entire page a reveal. If you want Guided View at it's best, I urge you to read Lazarus #15 with the GV turned on. 13 full pages and over 60 panels are devoted to silent action of a duel which I was grateful to have read the first time in this way. Had it been hardcopy, my eye would have naturally glanced at what would occur. In guided view, I am feeling each panel and absorbing the growing tension Greg Rucka and Michael Lark methodically mapped out when choreographing this fight. It felt like watching a real fight where I had to watch each blow by blow before seeing the conclusion.
If you fear this movement replacing your favorite local shops here's an argument how it will help. Collecting #1's and back issues in print are not going anywhere. There will always be a natural gravitation towards something printed, and this helps spawn other material. Check out Image's oversized artist's proof's for example. I read Rick Remender's Tokyo Ghost digitally, and then bought this in print to see Sean Murphy's insanely detailed art. I believe these two formats can coexist and even grow off each other. Even Marvel issues offer a free digital code on their books if you happen to get to a shop and can keep your digital library growing.
The main attraction to ComiXology are the sales. They are frequent, multiple, and substantial. I'm talking 50%-75% off most time. As mentioned, it's a daily visit of mine just to see what promotions they are running. If you ever want to catch up on all those back issues or story lines you meant to check out, this is far better then trade purchasing. Just check out the site for a month, two weeks at least and you'll see what I mean.
I could go on but I want to keep your focus for this last point - my main campaign for this company is the people which make up the company itself. This was a company established by a couple of fans of the genre and maintained it's passion even after it's mega Amazon purchase years later. Once I purchased a book by accident and I got a quick friendly reply by a customer service rep to my request to reverse the transaction. I set up my W-9 to sell this M.I.A. comic, but I inadvertently sent them a blank form. Instead of dismissing or calling me an idiot, I received a friendly personalized email from an actual patient accountant.
However, the true spirit of what is embodied of the great spirit of this company are the individuals who put together the weekly ComiXology podcast. Week in and week out, I anticipate Slim and Lou in my ears more than the new comics they recommend which are released on the same day. Recently established facebook live videos are also being aired for a chance to get to interact with them. I'm obsessed with Slim and at the risk of being a virtual fanatic of this show, I will just encourage you to give it a shot.
Whether M.I.A. is your first or latest purchase, click that GV and launch that ComiXology app now.