Comic and pop culture conventions are often a great place to learn about upcoming and new movies, television shows, or books. However, many companies are choosing to use these events to launch new technology or celebrate new capabilities with existing tools to further drive innovation in that existing media.
New York Comic Con this year saw tons of amazing announcements, but two in particular stand out to me as major developments that are bringing great changes to comic books for technology-loving comic book fans.
One of the largest announcements from NYCC was from Comixology, a leader in digital distribution of comic books. While the publishing industry in recent years has been revolutionized by self-publishing, the comic book industry had not seen the same growth. Traditionally, comic books have had a DIY mentality that included self-publishing with self-printing or web comics. However, unlike Amazon and iTunes, comic book artists have not been given the same outlets for their work. Comixology is changing that with the launch of Comixology Submit. Currently in private beta, Comixology Submit is a new platform that will allow independent publishers and authors to distribute their work.
While the launch of Comixology Submit was a huge announcement, one of my favorite came from a small panel about a new iPad app based on Greg Pak's Vision Machine. A Creative Commons comic book, Vision Machine is about a world where a new technology called the iEye has enabled individuals to record and distribute their own POV to the public through glasses that record their internal thoughts and external sights. The book was originally released two years ago, but with the assistance of ITVS, a public media company, they have created a free iPad app that combines the original comic book with voice acting, animation, and videos on the themes.
The app is beautifully designed and well acted, but where innovation comes is through the connection of the audience to the material. Using social networking and the Creative Commons license, the app encourages users to interact and remix the work in side stories and creation of new stories. The makers of the app were enthusiastic and motivated towards the distribution of works of that explore the role technology plays in our life.
This year's NYCC may have had bombshells dropped on the current status of our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (Coulson Lives!) and opportunities to learn about new video games (Assassin's Creed 3!), but it also gave comic book fans a chance to get excited about a medium that they love. The future is bright for readers and exciting for anyone who wants to see the industry pushed farther.