Big growth for Digital Comics in July (and Comic-Con hasn’t even happened yet!)

While publishers are quick to remind us that digital comics sales are only a fraction of print sales, growth continues as more outlets emerge. Digital comics were initially restricted to the iPhone but now they can be enjoyed on the iPad, Android, Windows 7, PSP, and perhaps most importantly, on the web using any ol’ browser you like. This month in particular has seen a flurry of activity. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened just since July 1st. And there’s bound to be a bunch of big announcements during Comic-Con, which starts tonight for a special preview night and then officially gets underway tomorrow.

  • DC Comics now has an app on the Android courtesy of comiXology. (ICv2)
  • Upscale comics publisher Top Shelf has over 70 comics now available on iVerse‘s Comics+ app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Top Shelf publishes award winning and critically acclaimed graphic novels like the young reader series Owly by Andy Runton, the great Essex County by Jeff Lemire, the Transformers parody Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown, a bunch from the brilliant James Kochalka and much more. (Top Shelf)
  • The Father of Manga goes digital: 62 volumes of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy and Black Jack (plus Ode to Kirihito, Apollo’s Song, Dororo, Phoenix, Buddha, MW, and Adolf) and 39 episodes of “motion manga” (audio manga with English subtitles) from Tezuka Productions and SOBA Project on the iPad. App is free. Monthly subscription fee: $9.99 (Mainishi Daily News)
  • Graphicly partners with G4′s Fresh Ink with Blair Butler for a weekly free digital comic selected from the review show’s picks. (Graphicly)
  • comiXology launches Bone and RASL apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and online. Apps and first issues are free, subsequent issues are 99 cents until 11 PM tonight. Creator Jeff Smith did a Q&A on Reddit to promote the launch. (comiXology)
  • Planetary Omnibus sale on comiXology experiments with selling a massive collection of issues. All 27 issues plus an 8-page introductory story were sold in one bundle for $24.99. (comiXology)
  • Even small publishers like Arcana Comics are releasing their own comics apps. (Robot 6)
  • A number of media crossover comics and promotions have been or are about to launch to promote Smurfs, Transformers, Planet of the Apes, Burn Notice, Mass Effect, Lord of the Rings: War in the North, and more.
  • Even when it looks like bad news, it seems it’s only temporarily bad news. Sony discontinued adding new comics to their PSP-based PlayStation Digital Comics store, but it appears they intend to expand the program to new devices, at least for the upcoming Playstation Vita, which is replacing the PSP, and possibly to the larger Sony tablet device. (PlayStation)
  • Marvel Comics hired Peter Phillips to fill the new position of Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media Group, no doubt with the hopes that he will continue to expand their digital initiative. (Comic Book Resources)
  • Dark Horse Comics began a 3-month test run of exclusive digital comics for brick-and-mortar retailers, releasing special download codes to be given out to customers. (Dark Horse)
  • Archie Comics expanded the digital comics territory by launching an app on the Windows 7. (Comics Alliance)
  • A big showing from digital and web comics at this year’s Harvey Award nominees. (CoreyBlake.com) (Hey that’s me!)
  • Diamond Comics Distributors is launching their digital comics affiliate program for brick-and-mortar retailers with iVerse in September. Retailers can sign up at DiamondDigital.com. (The Beat)

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