Free pirate comics! Swords of the Swashbucklers, by Bill Mantlo and Jackson Guice, will be available for free download on Wowio.com next week. Here’s an interesting wrinkle, from blog@Newsarama’s coverage:
â€œThe downloads are completely free. Creators get paid due to Verizon and Careerbuilder sponsorship,â€ said Steve Horton, Smashout Comics publisher. â€œThe catch is you have to be in the U.S. to download.â€
I was at the New York Anime Festival last week and heard a lot of talk about online downloads of manga and anime, which are clearly coming (well, they’re already here, but I’m talking about legit versions). A lot of people are thinking sponsored downloads are the way to go, although one top guy felt that they lead to a winner-take-all marketplace with little room for niche properties. Since Wowio is pretty niche to begin with, maybe this will prove him wrong.
Killing the trees: We may not be good enough for Wikipedia, but the New York Times is taking note of webcomics, at least when they break into print. This week, Motoko Rich looked at two very different properties that got their start online, the Eisner-nominated Shooting War and the best-selling Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The focus is clearly on the transition to dead-tree media, but it’s interesting to note the different approaches. (Also via the blog@Newsarama.)
Take that, Marvel DCU: The weekly British sci-fi comic 2000 AD is going online, with the cheaper download available just a week after the print edition hits the streets. Discussion ensues at Warren Ellis’s latest site. (Both links via Journalista.)
Creepy but interesting: When Daisaku Chiba, a student in Kyoto Seika University’s manga program, was murdered, his professors and students decided to create a manga about him. (Click on the link halfway down, below the phone numbers, to read it.) It’s all in Japanese, so the story is hard to follow in places, but it’s a fascinating hybrid of memorial tribute and police report, with the first half of the manga devoted to the details of the murder (in hopes of finding a killer) and the second half the story of Chiba’s life. (Via Anime News Network.)