Digital comics are all the rage these days—but as lovely and accessible comic books are now, you’re still trying to adapt one size and format to squish it down onto the screen of a phone or tablet. Now a new comic publisher wants to change that with a series of creator-owned comics tailored for smartphone reading.
A new publisher called Stēla plans to launch a self-named app that gives you access to its entire range of creator-owned comic books being crafted for the service á la Netflix—with the comics being written and framed explicitly for consumption on a phone. Word bubbles are sized so you don’t have to natively zoom in to read the text, and panels scroll with up with vertical gestures rather than horizontal “flicks” of the page. It’s basically how you’d read media that’s formatted on phones in zillions of other apps, from Twitter to Tumblr.
On the plus side, Stēla will also be running entirely new series on the service from big comics creators. 5 comics will launch with the series:
- Rome West, by Brian Wood, Justin Giampaoli, Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov
- Teach, by Stuart Moore and Greg Scott
- Inheritance, by Ryan Yount, Kidman Chan, and Yumiki Hong
- Out with a Bang, by Stuart Moore, Tony Talbert, John Heebink, Chris Marrinan and Marissa Louise
- Afrina and the Glass Coffin, by Irene Koh
There are apparently up to 30 new series currently in varying states of progress so far.
None of Stēla’s changes are exactly huge—nor are they the first to really attempt changing up the way digital comics are read on the go—but it’ll be interesting to see if making an environment for new digital comics that is easy for people who don’t regularly read them (but use all sorts of other apps), as well as more accessible and simplified. It’ll be quite a while before we know if Stēla’s move will work—or, frankly, how, as there’s no information yet on pricing or whether the service will offer a subscription or per series/issue approach to acquiring comics—or change the way digital comics are read though: the service won’t launch on iOS, and later on Android, until early next year.