Tuesday, April 1, 2008

AppleSoft Comics: Computer giants get into publishing in a big way!

Maybe it's just a blip in the mainstream press but it's huge news in the comics medium. Apple and Microsoft may be cats and dogs when it comes to computer software, but they're jumping into bed together to form AppleSoft GNP, a publishing arm that based on resources alone will immediately be the largest publisher of comics and graphic novels in the world. The GNP by the way stands for Graphic Novel Publishing while also cleverly alluding to the more well known use for that abbreviation, Gross National Product; appropriate since these two behemoths share worth that dwarfs that of many small countries GNP's.

Apple spokesperson Lori Flapos had this to say about the massive, albeit fledgling, venture:

"AppleSoft is essentially a pooling of resources by both companies in a highly collaborative realm to further the exciting medium of visual storytelling and graphic novels. AppleSoft recognizes the huge impact that comics have had on the film industry and multimedia gaming and merchandising from a commercial and creative standpoint. We also recognize the tremendous artistic contribution and potential and we are very excited to play a part in helping advance this artform we all love and respect. "

In a press release Applesoft suggested that it will not be tentative or glacial in it's movement into comics publishing, but plans a large, wide-ranging and longterm approach.

Flapos says: "AppleSoft has every intention of publishing established authors in the field, but also searching out and nurturing nascent talents. We are very interested in independent creators and unique voices. We will be seeking a viable synergy between publishing high quality commercial projects and less commercial but artistically worthy books, and both will be given equal priority and attention within our editorship. We have already established a mission statement of sorts and that will include paying the highest royalties, ancillary rights, and exceeding production standards for all of our creative collaborators."

But why would either company be interested in the antiquated and fading medium of print when both feature high-tech portable multimedia devices in iPod and Zune and Apple has previously released it's eBook reader?

Flapos: While AppleSoft is certainly always eyeing advancing technologies and ways to make people's lives oth simpler and more entertaining, we are all committed to print publishing and think that no handheld devices can ever entirely replace the tactile sensations and pleasures of reading a printed book. Of course all of the graphic novels we publish will be available on iTunes and open source to both iPod and Zune. But we find that graphic novels in particular are more suited to larger, less portable screens, because such a huge enjoyment aspect comes from viewing the art in a format as large as intended.

Flapos would not go into details as to flagship artists for the company or any specific projects in the works but did let slip this: Suffice to say AppleSoft plans on bringing the same level of energy, innovation an creativity that both companies are known for individually. We fully expect to turn the comics medium as we know it on it's head, but in the most exciting and stimulating fashion possible.

It is well-known that Apple CEO Steve Jobs enjoyed reading comics as a kid, and former Microsoft overlord and primary shareholder, Bill Gates was himself a comic geek (although computers proved infinitely more profitable) who professed his love for The Flash and slight dismay that more wasn't done with the character on the Canadian TV show The Anti-Gravity Room (couldn't locate the exact ep.).

It's unknown what impact AppleSoft will have on the current, relatively stable comics industry as we know it, but it's a safe assumption that Marvel and DC are already shuddering at the sight of the new hi-tech and unimaginably well-heeled 800lb gorilla in the room.

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