Tokyo-based software developer and publisher Panel Nine, which has offices in London and is run by longtime British comics creator Russell Willis, has just released its digital graphic novel iPad app SEQUENTIAL worldwide.
SEQUENTIAL is a storefront app for the iPad that specialises in sophisticated digital graphic novels designed for adults from the world’s leading creators. The app is free to download with users being able to purchase graphic novels from within the app (which also contains free downloads).
Currently SEQUENTIAL features content from creators Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Brian Bolland, Eddie Campbell, Hunt Emerson, Nicola Streeten, Darryl Cunningham, Gilbert Shelton, Nick Abadzis, Oliver East, Kevin Mutch, Hannah Eaton, Woodrow Phoenix, and many more.
The company has also partnered with Blank Slate Books, Myriad Editions, Great Beast, Tabella, and Knockabout for content and other publishers, such as SelfMadeHero and Walker Books, are in the pipeline — including Jonathan Cape, publisher of work by British graphic novel legends Posy Simmonds and Raymond Briggs.
Russell tells us the top selling titles on the platform to date include Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Brian Bolland’s Bolland Strips, the award-winning graphic novel Nelson and Hugo Tate by Nick Abadzis.
Much of the material is exclusively available through SEQUENTIAL as digital editions including titles from Blank Slate along with digital versions of underground classics, the Freak Brothers and Fat Freddy’s Cat from Knockabout.
Key US graphic novel publishers (including small press publishers) will be coming on board and separate announcements will be made soon.
“We believe that SEQUENTIAL is the digital future of graphic novels and sequential art,” enthuses Russell. “We’re working with the world’s leading graphic novel publishers and creators to expand the market for one of the world’s most under-appreciated art forms — and rather than go the tired old commercial route with the touting of superheroes, a genre that has unwittingly tainted and held back the art form for too long, we stand for graphic novels that feature accessible, intelligent, entertaining, life-enhancing storytelling at its visual and verbal best – and haven’t been designed just for geeks.
“The time is right to evangelise graphic novels and sequential art anew,” he added. “Digital makes graphic novels conveniently available to a massive potential audience. Quality graphic novels are being nominated for – and winning – major awards such as the Costa prize in the UK, and the market for graphic novels with adult sensibilities is growing.
“SEQUENTIAL’s mission is to make quality graphic novels easily available to all in a specially-engineered deluxe format, acclaimed as the ‘gold standard’, with new features that expand the way in which graphic stories can be told, such as author commentaries and other special features.
“We are aiming to expand the market for graphic novels for adults by focusing on materials that are designed for adults, not for the geek sensibilities that have continued to dominate the medium.”
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.