Independent Nova Scotian publishing imprint AIM Comics has released its first book, “The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit”. The book collects stories from the archives of the long-running web comic Bruno The Bandit. In using digital distribution methods, including formatting the book for Amazon’s popular Kindle reader, AIM Comics is breathing new life into once popular but lately overlooked web comics, while at the same time helping to close the gap that still exists between traditional web comics and the new trend of portable readiing devices.
“Bruno the Bandit” is a web comic that ran for over 10 years from July, 1998 to October, 1999 that was created, written and drawn by Newfoundland cartoonist Ian McDonald. The comic was hosted by web comics publisher Keenspot and was nominated in 2002 for best fantasy comic by the Web Cartoonists Choice Awards. It is a sword and sorcery parody strip that lampoons current events and trends as much as it does the tropes of its own genre. Previously collected by Plan 9 Publishing, the collections were available in print only and no move was made to package any sort of digital collections of the work.
In 2011, AIM Comics was started by independent artist Mike Dominic as an imprint for self-published, creator owned works. The flagship title for this imprint is a new collection of Bruno the Bandit strips, “The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit”, a 72-page magazine-sized book collecting the first 13 stories from the strip’s archives.
Although small and new, AIM Comics has already achieved global distribution by using the best of the new publishing channels for the comics format, including print on demand from Amazon’s Createspace service, as well as digital distribution through Wowio, DriveThru Comics and MyDigitalComics.com.
While the book has been available through those channels since February, AIM Comics’s latest move allows them to embrace the portable reader platform by making the book and any future offerings available via Amazon’s Kindle reader. Although this means many hours of reformatting the material to fit the new device, the rewards are seen to be worth the effort as this opens up the book to a huge potential audience who may no longer be looking to their browsers or their desktop systems for reading material.
As the ubiquity of portable devices increases, more readers will stock their libraries from the wireless connection built into their device of choice, which means they will be spending less time exploring those kinds of materials through browser based interfaces. In order for webcomics creators to enjoy the audiences they’ve held for the last decade, they’re going to need to start making their work available in collected versions aimed at the portable market.
In addressing the portable market, comics publishers have focused their efforts on the iOS-based devices from Apple, but have not yet made a strong move to embrace the wide variety of other portable devices currently available. In releasing their first book for the Kindle, AIM Comics is exploring the portable market for comics and hoping to show that distribution to these devices will be feasible and rewarding.The second volume of “The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit” is slated for August, 2011 release through all channels, including the Kindle. Also, AIM Comics will be releasing a second title, “The Journals of Simon Pariah”, adapted from the web comic by Mike Dominic, in Fall of 2011.