Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater announced today that beginning in April, Archie comics will be available through Graphicly on the same day that the print editions appear in comics stores. Graphic.ly is a digital comics reader that is available on the iPad, iPhone, on the web, and through Adobe Air (which works on Macs and PCs).
This is the third channel in which readers will be able to buy Archie comics digitally on their release dates; they will be available through the Archie iPad app (powered by iVerse) beginning in April and in comics shops through the Diamond Digital program beginning in July. The new comics will sell for $1.99 in all three channels.
Goldwater said Graphic.ly approached Archie about making a deal shortly after the announcement of the day-and-date releases through the iPad app. “They called us up and said ‘We read your announcement and we would like to be part of this,’ and we immediately said yes,” he said.
“We’ve been working with Archie since last year, so approaching them wasn’t very tricky,” said Ron Richards, vice president of external relations for Graphic.ly. “We talk nearly every day with the team at Archie about what they’ve got coming up and how we can better help sell their comics on Graphic.ly. To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult conversation as they’re moving in this direction anyhow, so it was one of the easier conversations we’ve had with a publisher, which I think is a testament to our relationship and the forward thinking team over at Archie.”
“Even when they were getting up to speed, they were reaching out to Archie, saying ‘We want to be part of what you do,’ and here they are putting their money where their mouth is,” said Goldwater.
Goldwater said the comics would be the same in all three channels. Although the Diamond Digital comics are supposed to be exclusive to comics shops for 30 days after the release date, Goldwater said, “We are going to have day and date in our app, and if that overlaps with what Diamond is doing, that is the same thing.” There will be no additional content for the Diamond Digital editions, he said.
On the other hand, Richards held out the possibility that the Graphic.ly editions might eventually have additional content. “We are working with [Archie] to see if we can develop bonus content for our audience, but currently we’re focused on the move to same day digital releases,” he said.
From the publisher side, Goldwater said that all the digital publishers are easy to work with, so it’s not a big stretch to add another to the mix. “We have one employee here whose only job is getting the necessary material out to the different partners,” said Goldwater. “He said it’s easy with all of them. It took a minute to figure out how to format his day in terms of dealing with iVerse, comiXology, and Graphic.ly, but they are all efficient and all give us equal quality product. Once they figure out how they want the books delivered and the timelines, it has been very easy to do. It’s a real professional environment.”
For his part, Richards said that having Archie same-day releases adds “a ton” of value to Graphic.ly. “First, it’s a weekly stream of new and fresh comics for our community to enjoy, he said. “But in the grander scheme of things, this is a legacy publisher (everyone knows Archie) who is making a commitment to releasing their comics digitally and in doing so, recognize the value that Graphic.ly brings as a partner. I’m positive that this will be the first in a line of publishers who start to make similar moves in embracing digital.”