Last month Nanits Universe, a crowdfunded-backed project, launched its new digital comics via a new mobile app, Nanits Reader 2.0, with a way for indie comic book artists to create and distribute their digital comics, the Nanits Composer, soon to follow.
A former Kickstarter project turned San Francisco-based start-up, the Nanits Universe team are working on creating a more interactive comic book experience for mobile, via the Nanits Reader 2.0, the platform uses a proprietary comic book rendering system, the NANITS ENGINE. This enables a comic book to be page-free with smooth scrolling between panels and text balloons, and parallax scrolling between layers to add visual depth. There’s also the option to add music to the comic.
Demoed at Silicon Valley Comic Con last month, the platform has launched with three new comic book series: the SF story Nanits Chronicles – Underground, Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia by Petr Kopl, and the WormWorld Saga by Daniel Lieske.
Overall, the interface on the Reader is very slick, although I think the pinch and zoom tool could do with a bit more work for the iPhone as trying to read the strips was well-nigh impossible for me. The iPad interface is a lot better, and while the comic scripts could perhaps do with a bit of a polish (they’re unnecessarily verbose in my view), the art on Nanite Chronicles is pretty good.
You need to create an account to read many of the comics on the platform; I think that as other digital platforms have found, they’ll need more comics to encourage take up, so it’s not surprise they’re working on a second project that offers creators a solution to create and distribute digital comics – the Nanits Composer. Like other digital comic platforms (such as ROK Comics original platform, which I ran, launched way back in 2007) it’s a way to generate new content without paying for it, to the benefit of the creators – providing the platform gets some traction, of course.
Not yet launched, this new tool will allow artists to upload their digital comics, overlay them onto an interactive, visual storyboard and add an original produced soundtrack from the Nanits Universe bank. Once approved, the comic is published and available immediately on the Nanits Reader iOS or Android application. The artist has the opportunity to earn up to 70% of the sales of their digital comic books on the Nanits Reader application.
It all looks very nice and I wish the team success, but I rather suspect that like others, the behemoth that is Comixology/ Amazon – particularly now the two have become increasingly integrated – is a rival that’s hard to stand up to. Speaking from experience, if the app isn’t marketed to the right part of the the iOS store it will be hard to gain traction, and other indie digital platforms like Madefire and Comichaus have one heck of a start on them.
Worth a look, though – why not let us know what you think below?
• For more information about Nanits Universe go to www.nanitsuniverse.com or search for “Nanits” on the App Store or Google Play.
• Here’s an interview from the Geek Speak Show with two of the team at Silicon Valley Comic Con last month
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.