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Indie comics news: Viz and ComiXology merge, and Scurti joins "Night Watchman"

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Viz Media to team with ComiXology for digital distribution!

In April, the indie comics world was rocked by the news that Amazon had made plans to purchase digital comics distributor ComiXology, which caused them to alter their business model. Yet with the realities of being owned by Amazon will soon become known (and may not be pleasant for all sides and creators), the company have announced another publisher going exclusive with them. This time, it is the manga giant "Viz Media", who have a library of well known manga titles under their banner as well as a wing of dubbed anime. This is important as a growing problem in the manga and anime market are fans who illegally scan and spread fresh volumes and episodes online, and a fan base which feels entitled to this. This merger with ComiXology will bring at least 500 volumes of manga available for easy and cheap downloads.

This is no small merger; many of Viz's manga titles are among the best selling graphic novels not only in North America or Japan, but in the entire world. Titles under the Viz publication banner include "Dragon Ball", "Dragon Ball Z", "Naruto", "One Piece", "Nana", "Shaman King", "Rosario + Vampire", and "Death Note". They sell millions of copies worldwide and remain "evergreen" sellers every month in bookstores, libraries, and comic book shops. Many first volumes of these series are being offered for under a dollar to celebrate this union. ComiXology has steadily risen in influence since 2007, while Viz Media began in 1986 and has gone on to all but rule the manga and anime dubbing world; only "FUNimation" seems to rival them. Readers of manga tend to skew younger and more diverse than those who read most "big two" superhero comics, which is a much coveted audience for any distributor.

Amanda Scurti to join "Tales of the Night Watchman"!

As the Brooklyn based "So What? Press" continues to expand and grow, it's projects naturally become larger and more diverse than original founding creators Dave Kelly and Lara Antal can handle themselves. To this end Molly Ostertag has drawn two of the recent "Tales of the Night Watchman" one shot adventures, which have filled the gap between regular issues of the publisher's signature series. This week, it's been announced that Amanda Scurti will be joining them for "Tales of the Night Watchman #3-4", which will come out this fall and in spring 2015. The two issue arc will be called "the Dwellers of the Big Bogie" and as with all previous issues, will be written by Dave Kelly.

Amanda Scurti is a Long Island based illustrator and comic book artist, having graduated from the "School of Visual Arts" this past May. Among her other illustrative works, she is the creator of the webcomic "Hey, Jana J", which follows the exploits of a teenage girl who can talk to (and summon) ghosts alongside her best friend. It seems she will fit right in working on a series such as this, which features the adventures of three coffee shop workers (Nora, Charlie, and Serena) who become embroiled in all sorts of adventures when one of them becomes possessed by a vigilante spirit of the "Night Watchman". As fun as the one shots have been, it will be good to resume the series proper once more.

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