Here’s some good news for those who are big fans of digital comics – the indie comic Robot 13 just passed the 100,000 download mark on mobile applications. That’s according to Robot Comics, who sent the press release our way.
In a world where mainstream comic book titles routinely top the digital download charts, one challenger has risen like David against Goliath to stake its claim: Robot 13 by Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford has just become one of the first independently produced comics to push past the 100,000 download mark!
A true-blue indie label comic garnering 100,000+ readers is an unparalleled triumph for both independents and digital comics alike. There are few such comics that make it onto Diamonds’ Top 300 for any given month, and none that rise above the 10,000 order mark. Robot 13, on the Android market alone, Robot 13, with Android Market downloads alone, would be at the #2 position of Diamond Top 300 of June 2010! Which is unquestionably ground-breaking of for an indie.
“Robot 13 is a truly Independent Comics success story,” Blacklist Studios’ Co-Owner and Robot 13 Co-Creator Thomas Hall said. “Everything was done without Diamond’s distribution or outside funding, and was the product of two guys making Comics they wanted to see as fans.”
“Sure, we knew the book was pretty good,” Blacklist Studios’ Co-Owner and Robot 13’s Co-Creator Daniel Bradford continued. “But who could know we would get that level of interest? It was more than anyone could have expected.”
Robot 13 already proved itself a fan-favorite with traditional print readers, selling out of its first issue and garnering solid sales for its second and third. With its genre-blending story, grand-scale action, and lush Gothic artwork, Robot Comics knew it would be a hit with mobile readers as well. But we didn’t want to stop there:
“We decided that R13 was the perfect vehicle to debut our latest technology,” Robot Comics’ Deputy Director, Dave Baxter comments. “So on top of the comic’s own creative merits, we wanted the mobile reading experience to be, appropriately, just as exceptional.”
“When we talked to Robot Comics, they started telling us what they had in mind for Robot 13,” Hall said. “We were both blown away, because we didn’t know of anyone who was pushing mobile Comics so far. This was more than just viewing a PDF… it was a totally new hybrid Comics experience.”
Robot 13 was the first comic on either iTunes or Android to combine frame-by-frame animation, a wide-range of transition effects, and vibration into a single package.
“We’ve since gone even further with our Scott Pilgrim app,” Baxter adds. “But Robot 13 was and is a ground-breaking beginning for pushing the boundaries on what a mobile comic can be. And I think readers are responding to that, as well as the incredible quality of Tom and Daniel’s craftsmanship.”
The success of Robot 13’s 100,000+ downloads hint toward yet another positive trend: new readers. By keeping the app stand-alone and not buried within a dedicated reader app, R13 managed a featured slot on both iTunes and the Android Market, and during that time a large portion of readers – as they mention in the comments left behind on the app’s market listing – are not normally comic readers, and their response to R13 is largely positive.
R13_grey“The key difference,” Baxter says, “Is that Robot Comics is dedicated to building apps around a brand, and not creating a storefront. A person doesn’t buy a particular comic because they know the name of their local comic shop. They buy a comic because they understand the qualities associated with the brand name. This is something that digital initiatives rarely take into consideration.”
“Since the Robot 13 App has exploded,” Hall said, “It has opened the door for new readers who want to check it out in print. Part of the reason all 3 print issues have all but sold out, is that many Mobile Comics fans want to read R13 in traditional print after enjoying the book on their phones.”
Baxter concludes: “Few of the new readers are swearing to become overnight comic fans, but it’s a step in the right direction for fulfilling digital’s promise of a new audience for comics. For many, R13 is their first or only recent comic experience. Time and quality comic apps will take it from here.”