The short answer? Yes, it certainly looks that way.
Let's state the obvious: digital comics have been around for years, but haven't taken off the same way physical comics have.
To be fair to the digital comics format, physical comics have a few decades more experience existing. Plus, it's nice to see your collection on your bookshelf or in longboxes (until it comes time to move house). But also, the world of digital comics is fragmented. DC Universe, Marvel Unlimited, Hoopla, Humble Bundle, Webtoon, Tapas, ComiXology...there are so many options to borrow or buy comic books, all with varying price tags, libraries and levels of user-friendliness.
For a while, ComiXology was king. It had a large number of titles from major publishers and indies, arguably the best user interface of the digital reader options out there, and even gave readers the option to purchase the comic.
Then, Amazon decided to further integrate ComiXology into the greater Amazon/Kindle umbrella, and everything started heading south. On May 31st, 2022, Amazon announced ComiXology would no longer support in-app purchases for Android users. But even before then, users complained about the now-painstaking use of the app compared to what it once was.
But if ComiXology is trending downward, does that leave users to pay for (or otherwise source) their comics through multiple apps, like cord-cutters have done with TV?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Maybe a platform like GlobalComix is what the digital comics format needed to really take off. And maybe, amidst a shifting industry landscape and a paper shortage that currently has no end in sight, it will be an especially useful tool for creators and readers alike.
What is GlobalComix?
GlobalComix is a digital platform that acts as a destination for comics readers, creators and collectors. That means people can go there to read comics, creators can publish their own comics for free, and anyone wanting to purchase a physical version of the digital issue they read (assuming it's available) can do so through the app.
"The beauty of the comics landscape is that there are fans that would benefit from having access to digital comics, and creators that can get their feet firmly planted in the industry through digital publishing, all while avid collectors still have access to physical copies of their favorite titles," says Christopher Carter, CEO & Founder of GlobalComix.
Right now, GlobalComix is only available via web browser, but fans can keep an eye out for a GlobalComix app in the future (according to our interview with Carter last December). Carter actually gave us a sneak peek at the wireframes and some of the workings of this app recently, and it is very clear that GlobalComix is living up to their promise of "Creators First."
Here are a few key takeaways:
The user experience is smooth, allowing you to get to the comics you want to read fast, without jumping through numerous hoops.
Creators are called "publishers" at GlobalComix, and their independent, self-published comics are in the same pool as those from major publishers.
When publishers (see also: creators) upload their comic, it immediately becomes available on desktop and the mobile app.
When you're searching for comics to read, you have an abundance of filters to find whatever niche you're interested in, allowing you to search by creators, publisher, genre, country of origin, and more. That's not to say you'll find more than one Boys Love drama/comedy comic from Ukrainian creators, but the fact that you can search for that? Very cool.
The app's programming helps you keep up with series or creators you love, so you don't have to seek them out yourself.
There's a social element to reading! GlobalComix has already fostered an excellent community in their discord and forums, and now, that extends to comics themselves. Readers can react to pages and panels with comments and emojis and reply to others' comments. And how cool for creators to see reactions to their work in real time?
There's also built-in protection for creators, defending them from the rating-bombing that's all too common on other platforms.
And there's SO MUCH MORE, folks, plus plans in the works for continued improvements and innovations. But just the thought and time put into this makes it clear that GlobalComix thinks of comic creators as more than literati with a comic hobby.
Now, we could go into several paragraphs about GlobalComix's innovations and capabilities and what it offers readers and creators, but you should know by now that that's not our style. So, we're going to bullet out all that great "what's in it for me?" stuff we know you're itching to learn about.
GlobalComix for Readers
Offers free-to-read titles (many from well-known publishers) and pay-to-read options for $7.99/month or $89.99 for a year.
Library is over 10,000 comics from thousands of creators and over 100 publishers including (but not limited to) Humanoids, Heavy Metal, AWA Studios, Mad Cave Studios and Source Point Press.
Recently upgraded to offer 3 different reading layouts:
Single-page: This layout most closely resembles the reading experiences found online in the early years of the Internet and how some might read digital comics on a tablet.
Double-page: Designed to provide a similar experience to reading a physical copy of the comic, while also effectively showing double-page spreads the way the artists intended. "This layout works great for readers on desktop that have larger monitors, and supports 2k resolutions for breathtaking, crisp spreads." says Carter.
Vertical Scroll: With the rise in popularity of webcomics, webtoons and other similar formats, vertical scroll allows the reader to load pages of the comic dynamically as they scroll – on desktop or mobile devices – in a single, seamless reading experience.
Want more control over how you read and view comics? You have that option!
Image Sizing: Fit-to-height and fit-to-width, or simply letting the app decide automatically.
Bandwidth Mode: Max quality or mobile-optimized, allowing you to choose the right setting for your device and internet connection.
Mobile-optimized reading. What does that mean? You get all the swipe and gesture capabilities you're used to, allowing for you to intuitively scroll, pinch, zoom, swipe, and more.
They recently revamped the homepage, making it easier to navigate the site, discover new comics and creators you'll love, and publish your comic on the site.
Speaking of discovering creators, GlobalComix recently introduced a whole new "Creator Discovery" section, allowing readers to easily find new creators to follow, with the same sorting options as those offered when browsing for titles to read.
GlobalComix for Creators
Remember those 3 different reading formats mentioned above? When GlobalComix launched those changes, the improvements were backward-compatible, meaning artists didn't have to upload any additional files to support those layouts.
The new Merge Releases feature allows creators and publishers to merge individual pages or smaller releases into chapters that can be sellable as complete standalone digital downloads.
Ability for creators and publishers to promote both crowdfunding and physical edition sales within the reading experience, so readers get more opportunities to support a campaign or pick up a physical copy of the book.
Popularity algorithm enhancements! It's a lot of syllables, but it basically means they updated the platform so it is easier and more likely for newcomers to surface on popularity lists. You don't have to worry about never getting noticed until you've got thousands of readers. Plus, it's great for the readers, too, allowing them to easily discover and engage with new comics.
Coming Soon: PDF Sales, a new optional way for creators and publishers to monetize their comics.
PDF pricing is already enabled for all creators and publishers in preparation for the PDF sales launch, so they’re ready on Day One.
GlobalComix for All
"Ultimately, the comics industry succeeds if all of its different access points – digital, shops, conventions, crowdfunding, online print stores – continue to thrive," says Carter. "We believe that none of those access points are mutually exclusive.
"We’ve been busy over the past year, but we’re just getting started," Carter adds. "We have so many plans to make digital comics more accessible to people around the world, and we can’t wait to share them."
Clearly, this plan is moving in the right direction. In case you missed it, the platform is putting the "Global" in GlobalComix with a new partnership with indie comic publisher, AWA Studios. The partnership offers Lesser Evils: Emmet as a starting point for multi-language publishing, opening up the language barriers that prevented citizens from other countries from enjoying their comics.
Now is a time for change in the comic book industry. But seeing the plans that GlobalComix has for the future should give you hope that those changes will be for the better.