In this week’s Comixology (at Amazon) sales, Spidey and the Black Panther get discounts. DC… that’s complicated, but BOOM! has a “Best of” sale. And we talk a little about the Comixology layoffs.
Where did the New Releases and Sale pages go?
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In case you’re having troubles with the new UIX (a LOT of people have been):
First we should probably talk a little about what’s been going on at Amazon and Comixology. On Wednesday, we started to find out about some fairly massive layoffs at Comixology. Scott McGovern, a program manager who also worked on the discount sales is essentially the unofficial spokesman for the laid off Comixology workers. Here’s the original “announcement” Twitter thread that’s quoted in most coverage. Here’s his Friday update thread. He’s vouching for the broad strokes of this investigative piece from The Beat.
The short version: Amazon has eliminated all the Comixology jobs. Around 75% of the workforce is already out the door. There will be more mass exits around June and October. In theory, this is to finish integrating Comixology into Amazon. Something that started… either about a year and a half ago, if you count when Comixology first started giving the heads up that the site was going away or about a year if you want to count it as when the site did finally get shuttered.
What does this mean going forward? We’re not entirely sure and Amazon’s standard policy of silence is really not endearing them to anyone as we’re left to ponder things. If there are staff left transitioning things, that means there is little question that digital comics will still be there through the Fall and why would you spend ~10 months transitioning if you were going to drop a product line? We find it hard to believe that Amazon would jettison digital comics, though some people are shouting that at the top of their lungs on social media.
Almost certainly the Comixology app is going to be sunsetted sooner than later. Probably by the time the last of the Comixology employees leave the building. Comics will get moved over to the Kindle app, but that’s been happening for some time. Will there be UIX improvements to the Kindle app and the Comixology/comics page on the Amazon website? We’d sure like to know about that. Both could still use a little work. It sure seems like presentation and curation are not going to be a priority for Amazon if they’re cutting all of Comixology loose, but that’s just our interpretation of what we’ve heard. It might be yours, too?
If guided view is implemented on the Amazon side of the fence, it doesn’t sound like they’re going to be staffed up for that, so we’ll see if that sticks around or they’ve figured out how to let AI handle it.
Are there still going to be “discount sales” as McGovern puts it? We don’t know. There weren’t any updates overnight, but there haven’t been for a few weeks. I guess we’ll find out in a few days? There could be a few weeks worth of sales queued up, but it isn’t clear whether or not this is a priority for the skeleton crew currently working on things. Clearly, at least one person who worked on it is no longer there.
That’s what we know. There’s one other thing that’s floating around that we don’t think is going to affect the comics situation, but we understand why a few people have asked questions about it.
In mid-December, word leaked out that Amazon was going to discontinuing some digital magazine functions. No more digital subscriptions. Sufficiently large magazines would be invited to join a “Kindle Unlimited for Magazines” program. Here’s the original Twitter thread from Clarkesworld. We’ve since heard a few different versions, including that not only would subscriptions be done away with, there would be no more single issue purchases. Something is happening, but past the subscriptions going away, it’s not clear that there’s a public consensus on exactly how many things are changing. It’s been suggested in at least one place that a formal announcement would happen in March.
We can see no way this should affect collected editions. The question being asked is whether someone higher up at Amazon wants to lump comics into the magazines bucket? Seems silly to us, but given that this magazine venture is supposedly going live on September 1st, the timing makes it reasonable for someone to ask for a little clarification.
Now you know what we know about what’s been happening at Amazon and Comixology. Unless there’s a change in service imminent, we wouldn’t expect Amazon to make any formal, clarifying statements. That’s not usually how they roll at the corporate level.
The Panther’s Visitations
The Marvel Black Panther and the Marvel Universe Sale runs through Monday, 1/30.
This sale is mostly about books the Black Panther was guest starring in, as opposed to headlining.
The exception being the current Black Panther by John Ridley and Juann Cabal. The first arc is about a conspiracy inside the Wakanda government and the death of T’Challa’s sleeper agents. We’ve been liking it.
In generally, we usually like the value of Epic Collections when they’re on sale and there are two here that particularly catch our eye.
Fantastic Four: The Mystery of the Black Panther includes the Panther’s first appearance, in the midst of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Fantastic Four run, which means you get some Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom and Supreme Intelligence along with the package.
Avengers: This Beachhead Earth contains the origin of the Black Panther. It also contains a Harlan Ellison co-written crossover with the Hulk and the Kree-Skrull War. Roy Thomas does most of the writing and artist rotation includes John Buscema, Sal Buscema and Neal Adams.
Littering His Web
The Marvel Spider-Man’s Greatest Villains Sale runs through Monday, 1/23.
Why yes, Spidey _does_ have a rogues gallery.
You know our preference for Epic Collections so pointing out Amazing Spider-Man: The Goblin Lives shouldn’t surprise you. You get some Green Goblin and Doc Ock from the classic Stan Lee / John Romita, Sr. run.
While we may be in the minority for this one, we loved the Gerry Conway / Mike Perkins run of Carnage. The setup here was reminiscent of Tomb of Dracula. Carnage is after the Book of Darkhold and a ragtag team including John Jameson/Man-Wolf and Eddie Brock/Toxin are trying to stop him from getting the book and ascending. Yes, Carnage as occult horror.
And for something even more out of left field, do you remember when Brian K. Vaughan wrote for Marvel? Yes, it’s been a minute. Vaughan and Staz Johnson did Spider-Man / Doctor Octopus: Negative Exposure all the way back in ’03.
Beware the DC Sale
The DC Start Here Sale theoretically runs through Monday, 1/23. Except we’re not entirely sure it’s started.
You will recall that ever since Comixology moved over to the Amazon platform, some of the sale prices have been slow to show up? Especially DC sales? Well, it’s not clear that the sale prices are in place for most of this sale. As we type this on Friday afternoon, the single issues certainly are not.
The first volume of Tynion’s Batman is likely on sale. The first volume of Williamson’s Batman is probably on sale. This Firestorm collection has a sale price. It’s really hit and miss, so pay attention if you browse it.
Normally, the sale prices have shown up by Friday, but with the layoffs, we’re not hopeful it gets fixed before it ends on Monday.
Boom’s Best of
The Best of BOOM! Sale runs through Monday, 1/30.
It’s no surprise that BOOM!’s listing BRZRKR up front for a best of list. It’s been selling crazy numbers for them and, you know what? We’ve enjoyed this bloody science fantasy about an immortal warrior who’s ready to shed his immortality by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt and Ron Garney. We also don’t remember V.2 being in the holiday sale, so this might be the first time it’s gotten the discount treatment. The single issues are also $0.99 through #10 and guess what? The single issues are CHEAPER than the collected editions.
Once & Future by Kieron Gillen & Dan Mora recently wrapped up and it’s a good one about monster hunters and the power of stories and myth. 4 out of 5 collected editions are on sale. All the but the last single issue are $0.99. And… what’s that? Yes, once again, the single issues are CHEAPER than the collected editions.
Still on Sale:
- The Marvel Spotlight on 2022 Sale runs through Monday, 1/30
- The DC Best of 2022 sale runs through Monday, 1/30
- The Dark Horse Superhero Sale runs through Monday, 1/30
- The IDW Best of 2022 Sale runs through Monday, 1/30
- The Valiant Best of 2022 Sale runs through Monday, 1/30
- The Top Shelf Sale runs through Monday, 1/23