Back in May, the digital comics website Comixology launched their paid subscription service, where users get access to a trove of comics from publishers like Dark Horse and Image in exchange for a monthly fee. In layman’s terms, Comixology Unlimited is sort of like a Netflix for comics. The Netflix metaphor deepened on Tuesday when Comixology announced that they were launching a new line of Comixology Originals, comics made specifically for the site (not unlike Netflix’s ever-growing lineup of original series).
Made in collaboration with studios like Boom! and Valiant, the initial lineup of Comixology Originals includes an Adventure Time one-shot focused on Marshall Lee (the rapping vampire voiced by Donald Glover in the series’ gender-swapped episodes), a four-issue miniseries called Valiant High (featuring the Valiant superheroes as, yes, high school students) and Marley’s Ghost, a modern take on legendary comic creator Harvey Kurtzman’s unfinished graphic novel version of the Marley scenes from A Christmas Carol.
“On the one hand, we’ve got Adventure Time, where we’re doing a special comic on a really beloved gender-swapped character,” Comixology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger tells EW. “That allows us to say to the Adventure Time audience, ‘hey come over here and see this amazing comic,’ which brings them to Comixology, and we can use that to encourage people on our quest to make everybody a comic fan. On the other hand we’ve got this Kurtzman book, which is more literary-minded and deep in the history of comics and the comics intelligentsia. This has been a long time coming, and lets us really experiment with release patterns and reaching audiences that we want to bring in to comics.”
“With Valiant High, Valiant has a really firm established superhero universe, and I think putting those established heroes in a high school setting gives a different entry point to people who may or may not have been exposed to the Valiant universe,” Comixology Head of Content Chip Mosher says. “It can give them exposure to Ninjak and Bloodshot and Faith in a different way, and lead them to explore more Valiant titles.”
The Adventure Time Marshall Lee Spectacular will feature three separate stories about the character from Mariko Tamaki, Audrey Mok, Melanie Gillman, Trungles, S.M. Vidaurri, and Asia Kendrick-Horto. Valiant High is a four-issue miniseries written by Daniel Kibblesmith and drawn by Derek Charm. No specific release dates have been announced yet, though Steinberger and Mosher say to expect both soon. Marley’s Ghost, from The New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler and illustrator Gideon Kendall, is due out in winter 2017. Check out covers for those series below.