New iPad magazine showcases graphic journalism

The comics medium has been used for journalism for a while now. Joe Sacco’s Palestine is a prime example; a personal and immediate first-hand account of life in the occupied territories.

Symbolia Cover ArtSymbolia magazine takes this form of journalism to the iPad as a Newsstand app.

Symbolia is available in the iOS App Store. Download is free, an annual subscription is $11.99 for 6 issues. Single issues will run $2.99. The app comes free with the preview issue, which showcases Susie Cagle’s piece on the Salton Sea.

Newsstand Icons

Newsstand Icons are rendered differently from normal apps, like the Zinio icon at left.

Apple’s Newsstand is a very underrated iOS feature. Newsstand apps are essentially iOS apps with additional privileges that allow pushing of new content to your device so that the latest issue is available to you offline. Apple hasn’t promoted Newsstand much, but there are an impressive number of major titles available, including the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Wired, and others. You can easily differentiate Newsstand apps from others on the app store by their icons; instead of the rounded square icons, Newsstand apps are rendered to look like magazines or newspapers. It’s a good thing, too, as the ‘store’ feature in Newsstand is kind of broken.

Ironically, today News Corp. announced that they are shutting down The Daily, but tablet-based magazines such as Symbolia and Marco Arment’s The Magazine seem to be gaining momentum. The Magazine is already profitable, has hired an editor, and increased its rates for writers. The economics of these magazines are very compelling in comparison to print magazines, and the barriers to entry have never been lower.

iBuddha

mountainiBuddha is still going strong on the iPhone App store.   You can get it here.

Sales are still underwhelming, but we’re fairly proud of this app, which features 1025 different fortunes culled from such sources as Buddha, Confucius, Mark Twain, George Orwell, Groucho Marx, and your local Chinese take-out place.

If you aren’t willing to shell out 99 cents for the full version, there’s a free version here instead. The free version has only 25 of the fortunes and doesn’t include the lucky numbers feature, but will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Watchmensch now available for iPhone

WatchmenschCover-198x300Richard Johnston and Simon Rohrmuller’s Watchmen parody comic is now available in full color on the iPhone App Store.  

This standalone version of the comic uses our reader software, which we’re calling the Weasel Reader at present. The reader is relatively intuitive, you tap on the right third of the screen to move forward, left to move backward, and in the center to expose other controls. The nice thing about doing the comic as a standalone app is that it’s fairly easy to find on the App Store. The downside is that anyone buying a lot of comics would end up filling up their icon real estate pretty quickly.

Watchmensch is also currently available in black and white on the Panel Fly comics app.  I’ve colored the interior pages on the color version (which will also be available on ComiXology shortly).

Download Watchmensch on the iTunes App Store.