Home Graphicly Reboots Its Web App, as the Future of Comics Looks to HTML 5

Graphicly Reboots Its Web App, as the Future of Comics Looks to HTML 5

I remember distinctly the moment during the official unveiling of the iPad last year that I knew I’d be buying Apple’s new tablet device: it was during the demo of the comics app. I was sold. It seemed clear that this was the future of the genre.

Now there are a number of different ways in which fans can buy and read comics online – on their iPads, on their mobile phones, and on the web – as much like the rest of the publishing industry, comic publishing is undergoing a digital revolution. One major nod to this upheaval was the announcement last week by DC Comics that it would be distributing digital versions of comics the same day that the print issues arrive on store shelves.

But back to the iPad for a minute: while the future of comics is clearly digital, is it necessarily via a native app?

And to that end the digital comics platform Graphicly says it’s “doubled down on HTML5,” revamping its Web interface to greatly improve the reading experience. Graphicly says that it’s worked closely with Google’s Chrome team to build a site that not only makes the most of HTML5 but that also uses Chrome’s offline file API and in-app payments system.

Furthermore, Graphicly’s comics are now embeddable anywhere that you could put a YouTube video – on blogs or on Facebook, for example.

Fostering the Comic Community – Fans and Creators Alike

This social element has always been one of the strongest elements of Graphicly’s appeal as the company understands that what makes comics so great isn’t just the reading; it’s the sharing. It’s the discussion. It’s the community.

Graphicly says that it sees a substantial amount of engagement with its members. Its user base has doubled in the first half of this year, and it’s seeing more than one book downloaded every minute across its network. Furthermore, each comic is read 3.8 times.

The Graphicly community involves readers and fans of comics, to be sure. Graphicly has always provided a great platform by which people can note what they’ve purchased and what they’re reading and leave comments around comic series, characters, and creators.

But Graphicly also recognizes the importance of comic creators, and the website revamp today highlights that as well. Graphicly is unveiling some new tools to help publishers – from the newest to the best known – to tell their story. These will be reviewed by Graphicly and curated by the community, with more tools on the way to help make sure comic creators can distribute their content across any platform.

The Future of Comics – Web or Native Apps?

Such is the power of HTML5 that it will open up this content outside the native app marketplace – making content accessible across devices but also giving more money to creators and not to app store marketplaces… um, Apple.

Some comics publishers are betting on Apple. Or, at least DC Comics (whose catalog isn’t carried by Graphicly) is. When DC announced its big reboot last week, David Uzumeri at the Comics Alliance quipped that the publisher had “supplanted the Jell-O hand of the Comics Code Authority with the actual iron hand of Apple’s content restrictions.” It’s a great line. But it’s a troubling vision for the future of comics publishing.

Graphicly’s vision seems much different. It’s about the Web and multiple platforms, not just one app store for one thing. But it’s also a vision that is very in tune with the comics community, something that has been just as important as the content of the comics themselves.

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