CrossGen schedules 'Comics on the Web' version 2.0

Official Press Release

Even though Comics on the Web is not even one month old, CrossGenerationComics has announced its plans for version 2.0 of its popular Web comicssubscription service, with an even more robust set of features and optionsaimed at giving users the best possible comics reading experience on theInternet.

Currently, version 1.0 is live on a number of Web sites and portals, andworks with any PC or MacIntosh computer that uses the Flash 5 plug-in.

Currently scheduled for release in August of this year, version 2.0 willexpand the basic capabilities of Comics on the Web version 1.0, while italso branches off higher resolution options for users with greaterbandwidth. Functional improvements for release 3.0 are currently indiscussion and will be released later this year.

The features being implemented for this version include, but are not limitedto:

* Low bandwidth/High bandwidth versions - This will provide a higherresolution product for users with high-speed connections (at no extracost!), while still maintaining a version that's easy to use for 56K users,ensuring the widest possible audience for Comics on the Web.

* Black and White Ink versions - This will show readers what the artlooked like before CrossGen's colorists got a hold of it. It will provide aninteresting perspective for those who currently enjoy comics as well as newreaders, while at the same time emphasizing the amount of craftsmanship acolorist brings to CrossGen's comics.

* Balloon on/off - Sometimes, you just want to look at the art (bothblack and white and color option support), without any captions or balloonsto get in the way. It's also a great tableau that demonstrates thestorytelling abilities of CrossGen's artists.

* Multiple language selection - As most CrossGen fans know, CrossGen'sentire line is licensed for publishing in France, Belgium, Italy, Mexico,Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and nowthe former Soviet Union countries of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova,Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,Kyrgyzstan, Turkmen, Litva, Latvia, and Estonia. Soon, CrossGen will havelanguage translations for the CrossGen Comics published in those countriesand by year's end, will begin implementing those translations in the earlychapters of Comics on the Web. Eventually, readers from around the worldwill be able to read CrossGen's stories in their own language.

* Accessibility-friendly balloon control from keyboard - "Mousingover" the word balloons is a great standard functionality, but for folks whoneed to use the keyboard more than the mouse in order to reduce the impactof repetitive stress injuries or other physical limitations, keyboardcontrol is another option CrossGen feels is necessary to provide to users.

* Chronological Order Display (COD) - CrossGen Comics on the Web isall about choices, so in version 2.0, readers will have the choice ofreading their issues in individual titles as they are laid out now (Scion#1, Scion #2, Scion #3, etc.), or they can start the CrossGen epic at thevery beginning and read each issue from across all the titles in exactly theorder they were released. In Version 2.0, readers will be able to start atthe very beginning of the CrossGen universe, with CrossGen Chronicles #1,and then move into the numbers ones of our first four titles, reading themin the exact order that they were released chronologically. One of thefeatures of reading CrossGen's stories in this manner is the discovery ofthe little continuity "Easter eggs" that our creators have left in many ofthe earlier issues of our line, and continue to leave periodically as theCrossGen epic evolves. By reading the stories as they were released, certainpieces of that puzzle become more apparent. Even if you've read every issue,reading it in this order will help the over-arching backstory of theCrossGen Universe unfold in an entirely new way.

* Lite player option for older systems - While all of us would LIKE tohave speedy computers and fast connections, many of us do not. So, CrossGenComics on the Web will be implementing a streamlined version of theinterface that reduces the memory intensity of the comics for those who havebaseline computers or for those users who like to multi-task and run manyprograms at once.

"When we introduced Comics on the Web version 1.0, we were looking for thewidest possible audience," said Tony Panaccio, CrossGen's Vice President ofProduct Development. "We didn't want anyone to be limited in their abilityto enjoy Comics on the Web because they didn't have $5,000 for an optimumcomputer and $100 per month for a high speed connection. Comics on the Webwas created to be affordable to the masses, so we struck a baselineresolution for the images and created a technology solution that was aimedat the primary standard modem speed 56K and RAM baseline of 16 megabytes. Asa result, people with high-speed connections who are spoiled byhigh-bandwidth eye-candy currently get the same baseline resolution as a 56Kuser. We know that the high-end folks want high-end resolution, and wealways intended to provide that in version 2.0, but we didn't want to launchwith it outright to the exclusion of everyone else."

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