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On the Books: R.L. Stine, comic publishers embrace the digital age

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The Stephen King of children’s literature is as prolific on Twitter as he is in print. R.L. Stine has more than 18,900 tweets, and yesterday he devoted 14 of those to a new bite-sized story. Just in time for Halloween, Stine made the announcement last night:

Stine rattled off the sub-2,000 character story in about five minutes, and then told followers to go watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. [The Huffington Post]

High-profile children’s favorites haven’t always been so readily available—at least, until now. Action Comics #1, the 1938 DC Comics issue that introduced Superman, sold for $3.2 million in August. That collector might be kicking himself now. CGC Comics, an independent grading authority, has scanned the comic in full and posted it online for free consumption—and given it a 9 out of 10 rating, to boot. The comic features characters and stories besides Superman, so readers should get ready to fall in love with lost DC greats like “Zatara: Master Musician” and “Scoop Scanlon, Five Star Reporter.” [CNN]

That vintage comic isn’t the only one getting the digital treatment. Toronto-based e-reader company Kobo has added more than 250 issues of Marvel comics to its virtual collection, including The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man. “Marvel is excited about our partnership with Kobo and happy to have the opportunity to provide fans, new and existing, another great way to experience our legendary content,” said David Gabriel, a Senior Vice President at Marvel. Fans will be able to enjoy the comics on Kobo’s own readers or the apps the company produces for other phones and tablets. Comic purists might welcome this news after a week of decidedly cinema-oriented announcements from Marvel. [Mediabistro]

We all know the feeling of identifying with a fictional character—but what if you shared a name with a literary creation? Next month we’ll find out just how much people are willing to pay for that privilege. On Nov. 20, the Royal Institution of Great Britain will host an event dedicated to ending torture, and authors have pledged to auction off characters in their upcoming novels to raise funds for the cause. Big names including Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood have already signed on for what organizers are calling “the Immortality Auction.” Can’t make it across the pond for the event? Online bidding goes live on Oct. 29. [NPR]

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