December 26, 2011

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Digging into Digital: Comixology's Holiday Small Publisher Sale

Got some holiday money burning a hole in your pocket?  Here's a great way to spend it!

Comixology, home of frequent 99 cent comic sales from a variety of publishers, most frequently Marvel and DC, is at it again with a holiday sale from small publishers Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW, and Oni Press, along with Image Comics.

The sale runs until December 30th at 11PM Eastern time and features a wide variety of comics from these five publishers, including a good chuck of stories from most of the publishers, allowing a reader to sample an entire story arc rather than simply an issue or two for a low entry price.

There's also a sale on more Batman Comics, but I did not find the offerings all that appealing--they are either comics most fans already own (Year One, The Long Halloween, etc.) or are early stories that only have historical value (Jason Todd's introduction, for example).  Marvel is offering runs of some of its Avengers and X-Men comics for 99 cents as well, but as with the DC offerings, I've either already read them, or don't particularly feel like paying to read them because the premise isn't interesting enough to me.

If superheroes are your primary thing, however, it's nice to see that Comixology is doing all it can to help you find affordable comics.  In the meantime, here are my recommendations from the Holiday sale, sorted by publisher.  I hope you find some great comics now before the end of the year!

Boom! Studios
  • Regular Panel Patter readers know that I am a big fan of Boom! Studios and their wide variety of comic offerings.  Their sale shows off their versatility, as you can find the first few issues of several titles for 99 cents.  Erica and I strongly recommend Irredeemable and Incorruptible, the twin books in a universe created by Mark Waid to show off the worst that superheroes can be.  Filled with great ideas and twists and turns, both series are well worth getting invested in and all issues are available digitally.  
  • If your taste runs to noir, The Rinse is a great limited series that I finished recently.  A man who launders money for only the right kind of thieves tries to stay one step ahead of the IRS and Vegas thugs.  It's a very solid read and only four issues, two of which are on sale here.
  • Anyone who loves all ages comics and good humor should be reading Snarked already, but if you aren't, here's your chance to get the first two issues for 99 cents each.  I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked!

Dynamite Entertainment

I'm not sure why a company that has Kurt Buseik and Alex Ross on the payroll opts to go with three licensed properties instead, but that's how it goes.  I can't recommend anything from them that's on sale, but if you're so inclined, they have Kevin Smith's Bionic Man (I wonder if it has as many gay sex jokes as Smith's Batman did?) and Warlord of Mars, which actually manages to beat out Vampirella out for most exploitative covers.  How do you do that?

IDW

IDW does the "only issue one is 99 cents" thing for this sale, which allows for a larger range of titles, but makes it hard for a reader to commit.  Why buy issue one at 99 cents, when further issues are up as high as $3.99?  I just don't see the logic in this decision.  Like Dynamite, IDW leans heavily on their licensed comics, with three Transformers comics, two Dr. Who comics, two Star Trek properties, and some Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe, Ann Rice, and True Blood thrown in for good measure.  I am not a huge fan of licensed comics, but I liked the IDW Star Trek books I've read so far.  My advice is that if you are a fan of any of these in their movie/TV incarnations, give them a shot and see if you want to pay more than 99 cents going forward.

Image 
  • If you only get one of the Image 99 cent titles, grab Elephantman, which author Richard Starkings correctly describes as trying to capture the magic and wonder inherent in the Marvel and DC comics of the 1960s and 1970s, where wild ideas are thrown out there with abandon and the story just flows from there.  Great stuff that I am so happy to finally getting to read.
  • Bulletproof Coffin takes the idea of Elephantman's homage one step further and posits a lost set of comics that seem to have a deeper story to tell.  I love this idea no matter how many times I've seen it done.  This one is great, and I would never have tried it without the sale.  Recommended.
  • Robert Kirkman is so prolific, you'd think he was working for the old page rates of the 1960s.  Though we know him most often for bloody outings like Invincible or Walking Dead, Super Dinosaur shows his subtler side, proving you don't need blood to tell a good comic.  The premise here are super scientists and talking dinosaurs and if that's not enough to get you interested, well, I just don't know what you'd actually like!

Oni Press
  • If you missed out on The Sixth Gun, here's your chance to read the popular western from Oni.  I really appreciate that all of the issues were set at 99 cents, not just the first issue.
  • Simiarly, Oni also makes available Stumptown as part of the sale, which is cool because I missed it entirely despite liking Greg Rucka's work, especially when it's not involving superheroes.
  • Oni also has Spontaneous, which follows the story of those who are consumed by flame, and Wasteland, a book set in an apocalyptic time.  Neither of those really wowed me, but I know they have fans, so this might be a good time to see if you liked them better than I did.


So that's what looks good or interesting to me.  Happy shopping!