At the end of 2007, British Sci Fi anthology comic “2000AD” beat other major publishers to the punch by offering downloadable versions of complete comics. The initiative began at the end of December, 2007, offering up the “2008 Annual,” then releasing each new weekly edition a week after the print edition was sold in shops in Britian. The venture was in collaboration with Clickwheel, a distributor of online comic books or “webcomics” for Apple iPhone and iPod, and the exclusive distributor for the Sci-Fi comic “2000AD.” The digital editions of the comics were free of DRM (Digital Rights Management) and cost a fraction of the print editions’ cover prices.
That was only the first phase of 2000AD’s plans for 2008, a beta launch as it were. Now Clickwheel and “2000AD” owners, Rebellion, have announced it will expand its offering by including archive material from 2007 on top of their weekly 2008 offerings. This is all part of a lead-up to the main “2000AD” Digital Download service launch later this year. The aim is to make the comic available to readers outside of Britain who might otherwise not be able to find the comics easily at their local shops or newsagents. It would also give them the opportunity to buy previous issues of the comics they might have missed.
Published weekly since 1977, “2000AD” has been the home of characters as diverse as Judge Dredd, Strontium, Nikolai Dante, Rogue Trooper, Nikolai Dante, Halo Jones, Nemesis, Slaine and the A.B.C. Warriors, among many others. The comic and its archives were purchased by games company Rebellion, the UK-based computer games super-developer established in 1992 by brothers Jason and Chris Kingsley. Their first major success was “Aliens Vs. Predator” on the PC in 1999, creating game innovations years ahead of their time. As their name suggests, their approach to game production is focused primarily on cross-platform innovation and product quality. Their purchase of the UK sci-fi comic “2000AD” in 2000 and subsequent motion picture productions have provided valuable in-sight and experience in creating its unique product portfolio.
Clickwheel.net was established by Will Simons in 2006. Clickwheel is a digital media company that specializes in distributing comics and other digital media to digital media players. The comics are downloaded from the Clickwheel website or, alternatively, the iTunes Store, via an RSS enclosure. In December 2007, Premier Sci-Fi comic “2000AD” became available within the site, pioneering the way mainstream comic publishers can provide digital comic content to a global market.
Will Simons, Creative Director of Clickwheel said, “The plans Clickwheel and Rebellion have for the ‘2000AD’ download service are wide-ranging and incredibly exciting. They began with the ‘2000AD Christmas Special’ in December and we’re now implementing the first in a series of archive content.”
Jason Kingsley, CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion added, “As the download service was designed for existing overseas ‘2000AD’ readers and latent fans, the first archive will feature every issue from 2007 to give fans access not just to copies they haven’t read but also overall storylines over a number of issues.”
“2008 promises to be an exciting year for Clickwheel and ‘2000AD,” Simons concluded. “We have offered the latest copies of ‘2000AD’ since December and with the 2007 archive in place, characters and storylines within the comic can be fully explored and enjoyed.’
The archive goes live Friday 15th February 2008. Visit www.clickwheel.net for more details.