Amazon has announced yet another publishing imprint, this one focused on the comics world. Jet City Comics starts today, according to a report in Publishers Weekly. By the end of the year, names in the Jet City Comics stable will include George R.R. Martin, Hugh Howey and Neal Stephenson.
Publishers Weekly states the first release is the premiere issue of Symposium, an original Foreworld comic from the series created by Stephenson and others. According to PW, Jet City issues will publish on Kindle as standalone comics, as serialized comics released over multiple episodes, and as bundled graphic novels, with print editions available at Amazon.com and other comics retailers.
This seems like a natural fit for Amazon, as many comic readers have branched off from the big companies and are looking for more indie publishing houses to tell different stories. Additionally, Amazon is using niche areas as a way to expand its business (see: Kindle Worlds).
Of course, when people think of comics, many immediately think about DC Comics or the Marvel universe, but that’s really only the tip of what’s out there. The Walking Dead, for instance, is a serial graphic novel that was made into a hit television show. Image Comics has found great success with TWD and others, such as Invincible.
Amazon seems to be getting a small jump on some of the indie publishers, however, as they’re using names that are popular in the science-fiction/fantasy realm. Martin has a tremendous following with his A Song of Fire and Ice series. There are many fan who’d never heard of the books, but have been glued to their television sets to watch the story unfold on HBO nonetheless.
Howey is a darling of the industry with his popular “Wool Omnibus” series, which saw him go from a relative unknown author to a self-publishing star. Howey’s “Wool” will appear in comic form in October, according to PW.
Amazon’s calculated startup seems interesting, and it’ll probably be successful. Comic fans, after all, are passionate. Amazon is already starting with big names and has the outlet to sell its comics on its own platform. The advertising model is also already built it with its front page and recommendations.
There is also a collectible aspect to comics, which could lead to widespread success in this venture.