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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default When Words Collide - Apr 9, 2012

    Tim boots up the old iPad for a fantastic voyage into the land of digital-first comics, and sets his sights on a familiar crew of characters from a not-too-distant-future in "Justice League Beyond."


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    New Member Jake Challenger's Avatar
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    I saw this title on the iPad, but didn't really know what it was about. Your article inspired me to give it a shot!

  3. #3

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    This is the one title I'm following digitally. I've checked out a few of the New 52 I wasn't getting in print (but none of those at Day & Date price), Checked out the first couple of issues of Dynamite's Bionic Man and Warlord of Mars titles (same). I did break down and buy Avengers Assemble #1 Day and Date, because I'm a Hulk fan (never doing that again).

    Really enjoying Justice League Beyond and Batman Beyond digital. If DC would just come out with 2 more digital titles then there would be 1 a week, and they wouldn't have to be Beyond titles, they could be Genre Titles - Western,Mystery,War,Science Fiction, speaking of which I'd rather see Vertigo go that route rather than these one-shot anthologies like Tales of the Unexpected and Mystery In Space.

    On a side note: I'd be interested to know if the Beyond titles are in their own continuity or between the "present" DC and the LSH future.
    Last edited by jbelkinsii; 04-09-2012 at 03:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Elder Member BrotherUnitNo_4's Avatar
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    I hope that at some point this column takes a look at Marvel's recently launched Infinite Comics offering. I saw a mention of the AR but for the readers the Infinite Comics is the much bigger deal.
    Currently reading She-Hulk, Deadpool, Swamp Thing, Ms. Marvel

    Probation: Ghost Rider, Loki: LoA, Secret Avengers

    Looking forward to All-New Ultimates, Flash Gordon and Doctor Mirage.

  5. #5

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    So glad that SOMEONE is talking about JLB. Dustin Nguyen is probably my favorite artist ever (or at least favorite Batman artist) and I am so grateful that he's getting to do a Beyond title. Out of all the current JL titles, this one is clearly the best.

  6. #6

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    I don't have an iPad yet and digital comics are too hard to read on the iPhone, so I've been buying the print issues as they come out. I'm now cautiously optimistic for this series, especially considering I was A)pretty indifferent to the 'Hush Beyond' mini that kicked off Beechen's run B) weary of artists-turned-writers and C)skeptical at anything with J.T. Krul's name on it. But yes, it's been good fun. Like the article says it's nothing groundbreaking, but the continuity-nods to the series are appreciated and the combination of Norm Breyfogle and Dustin Nguyen on art is a winner.

    One question: How can DC afford to offer this series in print at 40 story pages for only $3.99? I realize digitally it's 0.99 cents per 10 pages so the math makes sense, but wouldn't that mean all regular books should be $1.99? I can't imagine the digital-first strategy generates enough extra revenue to offset costs compared to the day-and-date model for everything else.

  7. #7
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    I'm picking this up in dead-tree format. My LCS pulls it for me, so I don't have to worry about finding a "lingering copy".

  8. #8

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    The reason I haven't bought this is the same reason I won't buy Marvel's "Infinite" comics or any of the others similar ones: the format. I have zero interest in a landscape oriented comic. I am reading on my big, shiny ipad. I am not buying, or reading, a comic designed to be read on a PHONE. Not happening. I want to read a comic that's a comic, not basically a panel per page. If they gave an issue away free, I would check it out, just because, but paying for it sight unseen, even $0.99, is not going to happen. And speaking of a distribution model still mostly untapped: free issues. I have bought quite a few things digitally, including the second most expensive single purchase, from COMPANIES I'd never heard of, much less the individual titles, because of free issues available on comixology. And I don't mean 10-page previews. I mean actual whole issues. I will read any free issue of anything and, as stated, this has lead to quite a few purchases that would have NEVER happened otherwise for me, and I'm sure I'm far from alone.

  9. #9
    Junior Member fredmanson's Avatar
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    I do not have a digital reader and to read it on my huge LCD screen is not good for my tired eyes.

    So, I have bough the printed edition. WOW!!!!!!! For a simple $3.99, 40 pages of pure full stories set in the future DC Universe!!!!
    And in the issue#2 (or #3), THe Superman Beyond own series...

    That is what I call an excellent use of the digital comic market WITH the printed comic book market. The printed edition costs have been "paid" by the sales of the digital editions. That way, you can have access to huge printed comic books for peanuts!!!!

    I hope that DC Comics will not stop at only this 3 titles (Smallville/Batman Beyond Unlimited and Batman Arkham Unhinged) but will expand this "experience" to other titles.

    Augmented Reality? It's a gimmick for geeks who will pay more for what? Animated intervention of characters? No way... It's dead born. And Marvel penalize the readers not equipped with a smartphone or a tablet.

    It is not the good way to touch and to hook new readers to comic books (printed AND digital).

    The way that DC Comics has chosen is the best one: the digital readers AND the printed readers. That is the PRESENT of the digital comic book market, and that is THE PRESENT of the comic book market in general. Never alienate a specific group of readers or you will lose...

    Well done DC Comics!!! I have already sign for your first three titles!!!
    Last edited by fredmanson; 04-10-2012 at 02:08 AM.

  10. #10

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    Wow, great article. I had no knowledge of this series and it looks great.

    "Here's a monthly Justice League comic, drawn by well-established and well-liked artist Dustin Nguyen, at less than a dollar per issue, and... crickets."

    Heh. Yeah. I would have thought that one of the digital utopians on the various comic podcasts I listen to would have mentioned this by now. Instead, it seems like people just want to talk about this magical 99-cent pricepoint in some sort of abstract, unrealistic way that doesn't pay attention to what's actually happening (and not happening). There have been a lot of 99-cent digital comics before from the Big Two, and they've never really caught on either.

    This one seems quite original and high-quality, though. Which is great. I had been wondering what Nguyen had been up to lately.

    I wonder about the economics of this. If, like you say, the print copies are expected to sell to the direct-market at only the same low numbers as the all-ages books do, then... apparently that's still profitable enough? But they don't have the (alleged) newsstand and kids book-fair distribution that those all-ages titles do? And it's still profitable to print them? Maybe DC's is consigned to take a loss on this project if only to get some kind of data on how it would sell, digitally and otherwise.

    I wonder what they are paying the creative team and if the digital revenue is enough to cover that or not. Unless digital sales for a Big Two comic were at least 100,000 (maybe a lot more than that) I honestly can't believe that a 99-cent pricepoint would cover all of their overhead (the sizable cut that goes to Comixology/Apple/whoever + all of the creative costs, editorial wages, and fees paid to the people who convert the comic for various digital formats). But, again, maybe DC is okay with taking a bit of a loss on this project just to get the unique sales data on how something like this would do. Either way, kudos to them.

    At the end of the day, I'll probably read this in trade.
    Last edited by DarkBeast; 04-10-2012 at 07:49 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    I'm totally uninterested in digital, but am interested in the series, so I hope to pick it up in back issues or trades when my budget allows. It certainly sounds better than the mainstream new-52 Justice League dreck.

  12. #12

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    I'd been traveling the past week and a half, so this article was a welcome surprise to come back to (thanks to Dustin for passing along the link to me).

    I want to start out by saying, thanks to Timothy for the very nice review as well as everyone who has commented above. Working on comics tends to be a very limited vacuum. You get a chance to meet people at the cons (what few you're able to attend in-between work deadlines), and of course there's the friends and family that give their nod of approval (even if they lovingly don't know Neo-Gotham from Neosporin). But other than that, you sort of work in your cave, chat to all hours of the night with your creative team (and your editorial staff in the morning), and just go about your work in almost a selfish but caring way. We write and create a project like this very much to scratch an itch of what we love and enjoy, based on a show fondly remembered by a staff of pros that we're hugely inspired by. And at the end of the day, we hope what we like doing is something that other die-hard fans of that material will get onboard with.

    I think Timothy maybe unknowingly hit on a point I've sort of noticed as well. I've tended to find very few reviews of digital titles (digital first or otherwise), comparatively with the print version. Especially on something like this, where our issue (or 2 digital chapters) tends to come out two or three weeks before the print collected version of it. And I'm appreciative of all formats that this is available in, as it expands readership rather than limit it. But still, it seems most people tend to review it after the print issue comes out, and more power to em. It just makes sometimes for a long or ignored wait if anyone is picking it up digitally and not talking about it. But again, it probably speaks volumes to the different types of buyers and how they relate to it.

    Case in point…I've been writing the Batman: Arkham Unhinged comics based on the Arkham City game for many months now. Each 10 page 99 cent chapter released digitally every week. 4 a month. I think we're up to chapter 26 most recently, building up enough content so that the print release (launching this week, which contains 3 chapters in one issue for $2.99 as they collect them into print), can come out on a monthly basis. And I've found with digital first JLB and Arkham Unhinged, that most reviews are tapping a different audience…a non-comic store audience. Like Timothy said, both are larger audiences than comics ever get (the video game crowd and video game message boards for Arkham City, and various tumblrs for fans that are currently watching repeats of Batman Beyond or were kids when the show came out originally years ago).

    The regular comic reviews tend to come much later and sometimes not at all, and there's no shortage of amusement (or disappointment) when I'll read a few comments that seem to surface from time to time:

    1) They pick up the print Batman Beyond Unlimited, and say, they just wish it were a "whole issue". Well they're only partially confused…it's like getting two whole issues, for less than the price and content that others are offering. Essentially, you're getting two whole 20 page stories, one from each title in one printing. It's like they see the book shared, as being less content, when it's actually the same or more than any other print book on the stand. Maybe the fault is it feels like a fast read going between the two, and I can chalk that up to how each of us are approaching writing it (and don't worry, there will be stories that feel more than one or two 10 page chapters) but again…count the pages and price point. It's right there in front of you.

    2) They seem to say and think that it's only a "reprint" of previously digital content. As if that makes it lesser in appearance or value. Yet if you've never read it digitally, then it's "new" to you anyways, no different (aside from release) in concept than most day-and-date print releases at the store. Again, frustrating because it seems to comment more on what something is perceived as than what it really is. And don't worry, I'm not trying to set up a whole line in the sand…that you can or should only be a digital reader or a print reader (because I choose to enjoy both myself). But it's like digital is seen as the ghetto while print is the only way people choose to read it. And I'm glad there's a choice, because it means we can tap into as many audiences as possible.

    3) And again, the perceiving of value…that 99 cents automatically makes it worthless, while also flipping it around and wanting their print (and digital) comics at $1.99 (some want it less of course). But again….you're paying the same price digitally as it is collected in print, if you're buying both stories, so you're getting your $1.99 comic in the end. And cheeper than most 20 page print or digital issues out there. I can understand if someone doesn't like the idea of digital, but then there's the print version. And there's still the complaint of cost.

    That said, I want to allay any fears that these digital comics aren't doing well. Quite the contrary. Our editorial staff has been beyond pleased (sorry for the pun) at the orders, in both formats. Both Justice League Beyond and the Arkham Unhinged comics are generally in the top 10-20 of most digital releases, with some doing better than the day-and-date comics out there. And the print comics for BBU have each gone to multiple printings. No everyone has responded with their wallets, even if it's been quietly talked about online. And I think it's only the start of more interesting digital and print releases to come (actually, some of this I know…but shall remain mum until it's time).

    Sorry to get long winded there, but it's always fun to talk about this stuff and hopefully let people know all is not perceived bad as they might think. And as far as the action in JLB…don't worry….that was all planned. We wanted to hit the ground running, opening with action and familiar characters to what started out as a very action related show as well. I like to think of it as a fast build to a slow build, as we'll start to get more "wordy" as the story progresses and start to see plot and story and purpose all starting to meet.

    And thanks again to all the people that are spreading this through word-of-mouth (some of our biggest supporters being the comic shops themselves). We definitely appreciate all of it!

  13. #13
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    I have a dumb question... is this supposed to be the future of the current new 52 DCU... or of the pre-Flashpoint DCU... or is it just its own thing, solely connected to the DC animated universe?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by chastmastr View Post
    I have a dumb question... is this supposed to be the future of the current new 52 DCU... or of the pre-Flashpoint DCU... or is it just its own thing, solely connected to the DC animated universe?
    I always get concerned when fans get too hung up on where in continuity everything takes place, but that's always been my thought on reading comics in general. I always hope that the stories and characters are more important than where to file the books in what date, time, and universe; as if it were some library people were concerned with its filing system.

    :) That said…Dustin and I have been treating the stories we're telling, as continuations of what was set up in the DC Animated Series Universe (one that started with the two Batman:TAS, Superman, the two Justice League series, and Batman Beyond). Those shows are the only timeline and reference needed and the universe we feel like working in. We're not relating this in any way to the New52, since that's it's own thing.

    Nor should any future stories in general feel the need to tie-in with any current comic universe, in my opinion. That's why future stories are always seen as possible futures and not beholden to every current title.

  15. #15
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    Ah! Thank you! :)

    I like to treat some future stories (depending on the story) as the "conclusion of the novel" of relevant periods of comics, especially if there is some sense of pleasing "happily ever after" denoument to them. (It's all in my sig.) It's more for my own reading satisfaction than anything else, but this means I can treat Superman Family #200 and such as part of the conclusion of the pre-Crisis universe, rather than seeing it as all leading up to the tragic death of Supergirl and so on--or, in the case of Flashpoint, treating the world we had before that as leading up to its own future, rather than being fodder for the current reboot. (Somewhere out there, Wally and his family are just fine, Clark and Lois are still married, Donna Troy retired to become a photographer in the final issue of JLA, and so on.)

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