While many major players in the comics industry are carefully guarding any and all hard numbers on their digital sales initiatives, it appears that success in the field breaks down the barriers of secrecy for Ape Entertainment.
The indie publisher known best in the direct market for its Kizoic kids comic line with titles like "Richie Rich" and "Strawberry Shortcake" has over the past year take the digital comics world by storm thanks to a partnership with smart phone game developer Bolt Creative on the ongoing "Pocket God" comic series. Based on the game that allows players to control the lives (and deaths) of a tribe of Pygmy cartoon characters, "Pocket God" has this month surpassed 500,000 downloads for its paid comics all on Apple's iOS system, the publisher announced via press release.
Long noted by industry numbers watchers as one of the highest grossing digital comics on the market, "Pocket God" ceased print serialization earlier this year in the direct market, but has continued to sell well with fans of the game which itself has racked up over 7 million in sales.
To celebrate the half million download feat, Ape has shared exclusive preview pages of "Pocket God" #11 - part two of the 'A Quest Called Tribe" story arc from regular writer Jason M. Burns -Â with CBR News. The publisher described the arc thusly: "Sun, the mysterious new female pygmy, has convinced the tribe to help her on her quest to find the rest of her missing tribe mates (more pygmies?!) and save them from the maleficent Newbie. Will this be the issue that gives us even more new pygmy characters? Who are the bubble breathing people? And where has Nooby disappeared to? The action and mystery continue to pile up."
In addition, Ape and Bolt Creative will be making the first issue of the series free for a limited time as part of the national "Free App A Day" promotion. Check out the pages as well as the full PR below, and stay tuned to CBR News for more on Ape Entertainment and "Pocket God."
Official Press Release
People love Pygmies! Pocket God Comic Hits 500k Downloads, Celebrates with Free Download
Series Based on Popular iPhone App Introduces Issues No. 11
SAN FRANCISCO - December 8, 2011 - The lives of the Pygmies of the Pocket God universe may be full of danger and vengeful gods, but people love them! Ape Entertainment and Bolt Creative are proud to announce that the digital comic book series based on Pocket God, one of the best-selling iPhone apps of all-time, has surpassed over 500,000 downloads to-date. To celebrate, the series' creators have partnered with Free App A Day (FAAD) to offer the first issue of the digital comic for free for a limited time.
In addition, the full-color digital comic series has today introduced issue No. 11, which is available for immediate download on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad via iVerse Media, a digital distribution partner of Ape Entertainment. The new issue features 20 pages of all new content starring the pygmies of Pocket God on their adventures to understand their world and to just stay alive as long as possible. Fans can follow Ooga, Booga, Klik, Klak, Nooby & Dooby as they get eaten by piranhas, hit by meteors, menaced by Sharks-with-Frickin-Lasers, and face even more horrible dangers.
"What makes Pocket God such a breakout hit is its attention to original characters and stories that play off the sadistic, episodic-based app that allows users to control the lives of a group of energetic pygmy islanders," said Brent E. Erwin, Ape Co-Publisher. "We're extremely pleased to see how well fans of Pocket God and fans of comic books have taken to the series."
Created by Dave Castelnuovo and Allan Dye, founders of Bolt Creative, Pocket God has consistently maintained a spot in the "Top 25" games in the iTunes App Store for two and a half years running. With total sales of 7 million downloads since release, the success of Pocket God comes from a combination of endearing characters, unique art style and an incredibly fanatical community of followers.
"We have always had fun developing Pocket God and its many updates, but creating the personalities behind the pygmies and the stories behind them has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of our work," said Dave Castelnuovo, founder and CEO of Bolt Creative. "The way the Pocket God community has embraced the comic series has been incredible to see and we look forward to continuing to create more quality Pocket God content."