ComiXology has landed another exclusive creator, just as the company expands it horizons in the digital world and prepares for the launch of its new app for the Apple iPad.Artist Rob Liefeld has given ComiXology exclusive rights to his creator-owned comics for iPhone, offering users of the Comics app the chance to read comics like Youngblood and Armegeddon Now! digitally. Comics by ComiXology, the leading iPhone comics reading app, began the relationship with Liefeld just as their app is in development for the iPad, and is being featuring in Apple TV ads in Great Britain.
"I wanted to launch Youngblood with an exclusive relationship with ComiXology because I believe that they can provide the extra push that a launch like this requires," Liefeld told Newsarama. "Everyone at ComiXology has been very supportive and enthusiastic about getting Youngblood as well as the rest of the Awesome/Extreme catalogue online. Hopes are high that this relationship leads to more online comics."
The launch of Liefeld's comics begins today with the release of the creator's Youngblood mini-series on the "Comics" app for iPhone and iPod Touch. The first issue will be offered free, with subsequent issues priced at 99 cents.
And Liefeld told Newsarama he'll be launching an "exclusive to ComiXology" comic book soon, giving more incentive for digital readers to check out his work on the app."Rob has remastered the Youngblood series, so this is the right time for him to go digital," said David Steinberger, president of ComiXology. "It's cool to have an Image founder as one of our exclusives, because we're all about the creators. And Image is part of our comics history, and it's something I remember from growing up. We have a lot of great Image titles, and having [Robert] Kirkman on exclusive has gone quite well. With Image being creator-owned comics, these guys have to kind of find an avenue to digital themselves, and we can offer them a deal that works on their behalf."
Liefeld said he was influenced by Robert Kirkman's successful ComiXology exclusive and the unique 'guided views' the app uses to mimic the comics reading experience. The creator also said he was also driven toward going digital by seeing the reaction of his three elementary-aged kids to the Comics app.
"In the last nine months, they have all become addicted to their iPods and iPhones," he said of his kids. "They are constantly downloading games and music, and my oldest flipped out when I showed him Invincible on ComiXology. My kids love going to the comics store with me, but they have insatiable appetites for new apps, and I truly believe we have to be online in order to reach their generation. We give them budgets for apps and I know my boys will add comics to their ever-expanding app library."
But the creator said he was also impressed by ComiXology's commitment to print comics. "They fully support printed comics and the direct comics market with their 'buy in print' button that will lead the reader to a retail location," he said. "It encourages connecting digital readers with retail outlets. That's a win-win for all involved, encouraging the expansion of the market through digital and print."
ComiXology is hoping to get more exclusives, and although the company has dozens of publishers' comics on the phone, they hinted that there's one publisher they'd really like to see join the ComiXology site. "The point for me that I'd like to get across on this is we just love the fact that we can take care of creators," he said. "Don't get me wrong. We love Marvel; we love DC. Obviously, Marvel sells very, very well on ComiXology, and DC would if they would join us. But it's a particular pleasure for us to do our best with independent creators.
"I love the fact that we're the only ones who get to present the work of creators like Robert Kirkman and Rob Liefeld," Steinberger said. "I respect all the publishers and creators and all the decisions they make. Kirkman had decided to do it because we were the best reader he'd seen, and I think Liefeld is just following suit because he sees that we care about the creators and how the comics read. They know we'll put extra effort behind them and their products because of their exclusivity."
As Newsarama reported on the day Apple's iPad was announced, ComiXology is translating the company's iPhone/iPod app for use on Apple's new iPad. Steinberger said the company is "very deep" into the process.
"It is possible we'll be available at launch, if not very close after the launch of the iPad," Steinberger said. "And we've been featured in an Apple ad in the UK. Atomic Robo is in it. Apple's been really good to us, and they continue to be really good to us. They obviously think the world of comics, so I think we're all excited to get ComiXology on the iPad. I think it's going to be really terrific to look at a full comics page when you have the iPad in front of you, then move to the iPhone when you're on the go. I think it's going to be fantastic, and we're very excited."
When asked if there was anything else the company was working on, Steinberger had a tough time holding back. "Man, there's just so much stuff going on, but I can't announce anything yet," he said. "We're very busy with all kinds of opportunities. It's a very exciting time."Youngblood Vol 1 #1-4 are available today on ComiXology's App