Longbox Demo + Presentation from Heroes Con

I have to admit, when I posted my thoughts about Longbox (the digital comics solution recently unveiled), I had no idea it would generate such discussion.  Over 200 comments on the thread, numerous sites linking to the post, many people discussing it on twitter.  It was crazy, but really cool to see so many people both jazzed and critical about the possibilities of digital comics in our future.  One of the coolest things too was that Longbox CEO Rantz Hoseley stopped by (on his vacation no less) to answer your questions about the product.  Thanks to your interest, Rantz has provided us with the video of the panel from Heroes Con where you can see him talk about and explain Longbox, as well as see it in action.

So now that you’ve seen it, what do you think of Longbox now?


  1. All over my face.

  2. This video certainly alleviates some of my concerns about the clunkiness of the UI.  Thank you for sharing it.  Where do I sign up?

  3. Cool. I’m still not enthused by this. Call me a luddite, but I like the physicality of the book. And there’s the whole light on/light through thing that differs from engaging print comics. Oh well, if it means cheaper comics, I’m in. 😉

  4. I’m in.  This is everything I’ve been hoping for and more.

  5. I just hope there’s a way to change the size of the pages aside from the Zoom tool, I’ve got a small 13 inch monitor on my laptop which makes it hard to read if it fits the page to the height of the screen.

    I feel confident it’s in there, just didn’t see it in the demo.

  6. If I understood right you can buy a second copy of a book for a friend for $0.50 if you already bought it for $0.99, that’s awesome!

    Also being able to have a code in the trades that let you get the digital copies for cheap/free is rad also.

    I’m stoked

  7. I’m looking at this on my phone and only going off of Gobo’s post but if they have a download digital copy code in Trades that will be awesome.

  8. $0.83 comics may finally be here!  (Subscription price)  Though the current $1.66 subscription for printed comics isn’t bad either.  Or at least digital $0.99 comics is a great way to jump in on things.

  9. loved the demo, I hope that the viewing on small screens can scroll, and not just use the zoom box

  10. This definitely makes me double think my stance on the whole thing.

    Although I do agree with gobo; I hope there is a better way to zoom into the pages or at least make it look bigger on screen. Other then that, and again my stance on the whole business model, this looks like it could be a big thing.

    The more I think about it, as long as I can just get indie stuff on here and not mainstream…I’d be fine with it. Buy Marvel/DC at full price but get Hellboy, Walking Dead, Invincible (I can finally catch up on it), Fear Agent; and any other indie properties for a $1? That’d be fine by me.

  11. This seems really neat.

  12. The actual examples show up at 18:40 of the video, if people were interested in that.

  13. @TNC : I’m requesting in my will that I be buried with my Hellboy Library editions.Some things were just meant to be printed.And hugged in secret.

  14. If I can’t read my comics on the train or sitting on the toilet, then I’m not interested.

  15. This demonstration has addressed most of my concerns. I like that you’re being sold the file and not a license. If I pay money for something, I need to be able to move it around as I see fit. The archiving feature is brilliant. I love that on my Wii and PS3 downloads. It’s cool that the software will support CBR/CBZ files. It shows an understanding of the current culture of digital comics.

    My only concern is the proprietary format, but that’s mostly because I’m an open source nerd. My larger concern is the lack of Linux support. I’m hoping he was lumping Linux under PC.

     I’m excited for this and cannot wait to get my hands on this program. I actively read comics on my 9" netbook using Comix. I find rotating the comic so that I can hold my netbook like a book is a very enjoyable way to read digital comics. I only download comics that I own and are otherwise unavailable (Deadenders, Red Star, etc.)

  16. This could be what everyone who wants digital comics is looking for or at least a great first step. Im glad to see that they will have the protection against piracy but will that impact the user who wants to transfer his digicomic from his computer to the other platforms. I know Rantz talked a little about multiplatform avaliblity and that he cant go into any specifics, but i’d like to know, if i buy xyz comic can i then tranfer that copy a unlimited amount of times to my various devices (i.e. changing your music on your ipod) or will there be a limited transfer number for that file (i.e. DRM) over all I’m really looking forward to this and interested in seeing what they have in store for San Diego. Personally i think i would use this in combo with hard copys where i might buy select titles that i really enjoy and want a hard copy and then purchase other comics that seem interesting to me but i dont want to pay the $3.99 price tag in order to see if i enjoy it. something my friend and I have always thought would be a good idea and the publisher would have to be the deciding factor on is if you buy a hard copy in a Store maybe the publisher would include a code that you could use for Longbox to get a digital copy for free. 

  17. I remember reading you could have it on 3 devices, but I didn’t hear anything in the video about it.

    Thankfully if you lose all your local files you can get them back from Longbox without any hassle, unlike iTunes.

  18. My favorite part of the video was the instant bilblography feature created by a bookmark. One wonders wheter there is an academic version which would for one to choose between MLA, APA, Chicago Tribune, etc. As comics conyinue to become discusssed academically, this would be extremely useful for academics and wanna be academics

    I would also fine this tremendously amusing. The peotential for libraries to get premium accounts me salivate as well.

    Project Longbox would make it affortable for me to be a monthy reader agian. Go Team Longbox!


  19. I haven’t watched the video yet, but I’ve been thinking more about this digital solution.  I think if I could do a combination of the physical issues for the series I love and digital issues of stuff I want to try or simply enjoy, then I would be down for this service.  It’s nice to see that more options are coming up.  

  20. I love the concept I’m just worried about the medium I use to read it. I’m not sure e-readers are ready for colour comics yet.

  21. @MrGlass – there is more than enough warrant for this now for use on laptops/xbox now (what, a year or two?) before color ereaders are available.

     The vouchers sound very interesting, as well as a number of other things. It’s given me a lot to think about. REALLY looking forward tot his, especially the eventual social aspects and seeing what stuff pops up that isn’t backed by a publisher. Buying books for a friend? Ridiculously interesting.

     And of course, all of the extra material is really where I’m excited. Looks like I’ll be buying Nightly News on Longbox, at least! 

  22. To read Kris Simon, editor over at Shadowline,’s reaction to LongBox…



  23. I really hope that the publishers go for this. From everything I’ve seen, this is how I want to buy and read my comics.

  24. I have nothing to add to the conversation except I’ll be casting quite a few dollar-votes to Longbox in the future.

  25. Wow. Assuming they get the major publishers on board, I’m in. I really hope they can stick to that 99 cent price tag also.

  26. Does the company have a web site?  I can’t find it, but certainly a company selling digital comics must have an online presence.  Somebody link me, please!

  27. Looks very promising… I hate I missed this presentation at Heroes.

  28. Site will be live sometime in the next 2 weeks.

  29. I’m excited to try this out.  Look very promising exspecially for the books I would like to try but don’t want to throw down the money for. 


    @DavidAllred I wanted to catch the panel at Heroes but either Ed Brubaker or Fraction had a panel at same time and my Marvel Zombieness couldn’t let me pass it up.  Plus my wife really enjoyed the earlier panels with them and I was so exited she liked them didn’t want to chance her not liking the Longbox one over one I knew she would like.

  30. Super excited about this.

    I like the ability to redownload very easily because I’m trying to contact apple right now to get videos redownloaded from itunes.

  31. This is awesome.  I really want for this to be successful.  But I truly believe that without Marvel and DC from the beginning, it won’t work.

  32. @teddysetgo – Spend money on it and it will.  😉

  33. @OttoBott – I would love to believe that was true.  But I think we all know it isn’t.  The iTunes Music Store has always been a great experience, but it only works because of the mainstream content that has been available from day one.  As much as you and I want to buy Fear Agent, the service needs Superman and Spider-Man.  I don’t think I’m out of line here.

  34. Thought it was awesome when I saw it in Charlotte. Big step towards digital distribution. Not perfect yet, but a lot closer than anything previous.

  35. The system is built to survive and flourish regardless of Marvel’s & DC’s potential involvement.  If they get involved, that’s great!  If not, it doesn’t mean the platform won’t suceed.

     (Business 101: Plan for the worst-case-scenario, and make sure you can survive and be profitable in those times.  Don’t "plan for the best" and you won’t get "screwed by the worst"… if that makes sense)

  36. I like the Idea of this, but I don’t care how small they make computers, unless they feel just like a Comic Book, I will never stop buying actual comics. And even then I’d still support my LCS.

  37. LOVE THIS ! Can’t wait  and who says you can’t take a laptop in the bathroom. Is that gross?


  38. @TimmyWood: Only if it’s a certain type of comic your referring too…

  39. For the past five years, I’ve only bought comics in trades.  This would change that situation immediately. 

    I would love to have digital subscriptions to the books I now buy only in trade.  And, I’d probably buy a few extra books each month to try them out.  I’d be much more willing to take a chance on a book by spending .99 on a single digital issue compared to the $10-$15 a trade would cost. 

    Longbox could exponentially increase my spending on comics.  Marvel and DC should take note and jump at the chance to make more money from me and many other comic fans.

  40. Oh how I hope this works wonderfully. 

  41. I’m watching now, and…

    – It’s great to see that it’ll be easy to recover your files.

    – .cbr and .cbz is an absolute must. Big, big ups to them for including that.

    – The trade voucher program spoken about is quite an interesting idea.

    – XBL implementation is also a great idea. One minor question, though: Are we going to be able to share copies between Xboxes, handhelds, and PCs? I heard him talking about sharing between different computers, but not different devices.

    – The whole "See Defenders #13 true believers!" but was perfect. That’s exactly what we need. Great to see that implemented as well.

    – I would absolutely love to be involved in the beta. Great that they’re releasing a beta with a test group of that many people as well.

    – Love seeing CBR, Top Cow, and especially BOOM! are on board with all of this. I know I’ve said this before, but BOOM! are killing it on every level right now, and I’d go as far to say that they’re the most forward-thinking publisher in comics. From the licensed kids books, to getting those licensed kids books on newsstands, and now this, BOOM! deserves all the success they’re getting and much more.

    – Unpublished work having a chance here is also a great, great step for them. A huge issue that I had was whether or not programs like this, and digital comics in general, were going to enable the unpublished, and even smaller publishers, to have more of an audience base, without Diamond or anything else.

    – The subscriptions thing is great, as well.

    – Ratings are cool too, with the sub-accounts and all. Great for parents.

    – The guaranteed preview feature is a huge plus.

    – Comic Blox (is that what he said?) is great, as it’s the first system of it’s nature that I know of that is actually beneficial/rewarding to the customer. Another huge step in the right direction.

    – I really hope there’s a way to view a fullscreen page, as the zooming in that demo was pretty unimpressive. If fullscreen isn’t an option I’m not really sure that I’ll be able to use this regularly.

    – Non exclusivity is awesome.

    – Another thing I wonder about is this: Are we going to have the power to export the comics from Longbox, and move them to a folder on our computer, and access them with other programs, etc? That’s a big deal to me, as I’d like to be able to organize such things how I want them to be organized, and I’d like total control (a reason why I don’t use iTunes).

    – To whoever was asking: Later in the video he mentioned that there can be Linux support implemented very easily, if there’s a need.

    – The anti-piracy stuff is kind of disheartening. Not so much in that they’re going to be going after pirates, but moreso that it seems to me that this means we won’t be able to organize and store the files how we like. At least, that’s what I’m gathering from all the encryption and security talk. I’m definitely still interested, and I’m still going to give it a try, but I am a bit less excited now than I was 15 minutes ago.

    – I totally understand about the publishers wanting to hold back their digital comics for a certain amount of time, but I whole heartedly believe that this won’t work without the support of every publisher releasing their books on 10:00 AM (or whatever) on Wednesday. I’ve talked before about how the key to digital comics is giving digital readers the exact same treatment as physical readers, and this seems to be an indicator that they’re not doing that. A huge, huge letdown, but not at all Longbox’s fault.

    – Is iFanboy one of the podcasts spoken of? That’d be awesome. 😀

    – Going back to the bookmarking issue a bit, it’s a great idea, but what would be even greater is if you were able to implement your friends list through your bookmarks, so you could leave little notes for your friends to read about the book. Maybe about errors or something you didn’t understand, etc.

    Overall, I think this could be a step in the right direction for digital comics, but, at least at this point in the game, it doesn’t seem like it’s exactly what we need. I think this first iteration could grow and adapt and eventually become exactly what we need, and that’s all we can really ask for. No matter how it turns out, I’ve got to give it up to everyone at Longbox for being so forward-thinking with the whole digital comics issue. Even if this fails on a huge level, it’s the first step into what will be a huge change for the industry. I applaud them and wish everyone at Longbox the best of luck. It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out.


  42. I don’t want to be a dick, especially because my grammar is far from perfect, but I was a little turned off by the speakers usage of language.  He frequently used words that sounded good, but that I’m pretty sure were used incorrectly.  Though it wasn’t spoken, a perfect example was the disclaimer that stated "They do not indicate publisher advocation of longbox", in this case "advocation" is at best an obsolete word, where "advocacy" would be more properly used.

  43. If the Big 4 decide to release on it, i’m sure it’ll be successful. If they don’t, it’s toast.

  44. @aquapimp82 this is not the first time I’ve heard this. I don’t think its so. Saying this cant survive with out the "big 4" is like saying studios like Boom and Top Cow cant survive just because they have a small market share. I’m sure they will do fine.


    Either way, this was very nice to see.

  45. Yeah, I definitely want this.  Hopefully it will be available in Canada right off the bat, because I don`t want to wait.  I`d be able to read 3x the comics that I do right now for the same price per month, now that`s a savings.

  46. I so can’t wait till this foces Marvel and DC to join the parade.  I can’t see them offering on Longbox but hopefully this will make them come up with their own offerings and not pillage my pocket with some stupid overpriced subscription.  So many books I’d like to read but don’t want all that extra crap around my house and I can’t seem to throw them away or organize them enought to sell.  But I would still have to have in paper that oh so pretty new detective comics or the upcoiming Wednesday Comics, those i’d need to touch.

  47. The thing is, the music industry tried to do it on their own, and eventually that didn’t work.  People want to go to one spot to get everything they want.  Hence, Wal-mart.  You don’t want to go to 4 different sites to get comics on the web.  You want to get them from one place, and pay one bill. 

  48. They need to separate the "storefront" app from the reader app. Imagining having to load an iTunes-like (cumbersome and bloated) application everytime I wanted to read a digital comic fills me with dread. The reader app should be lean and fast and should have no distracting navigation graphics. Other than that not insignificant complaint, I’m ready for this.

  49. I wouldn’t want 2 apps.

  50. Ok, so do away with the "storefront" app and just let it be a reader. At least for people that intend to buy and read on a PC or laptop. The "storefront" app looks like iTunes as it is and just a little like Amazon.com with a login. I can see why they would want the storefront app in the first place, but all it really is is a website with recommendations and a place to review, buy and comment on comics. I can see why this would be a necessity if one intends to read and buy stuff from a console connected to TV, which I don’t really see happening. I like the way Amazon.com handles mp3 purchases, this should be the way this service should work for the time being. Buy it. Download it. Read it. The end. If the files they are gonna offer are encumbered with DRM, forget it.

    All I’m saying is, let the hub be browser-based for the time-being. Incorporate any device-syncing with the reader. Also device-syncing implies DRM so I’m already wary.

    Maybe when a cheap color e-ink device become a reality, then all this software becomes pointless. That said, the ONLY way this service will stick around and prosper is when such a device becomes a reality.

  51. I am sold.  This is not only a cool app but necessary.  As a way of creating a system for entry level comic readers and, to some degree, combating the increasing costs of singles, this looks like exactly what the industry needs.  Is it the final step?  Probably not, but I do think it demonstrates the next step and shows the development of the industry in trying to reach out and adapt to the current environment.  What I want is that color Kindle so that I can do all of this and directly download a comic onto my Kindle and still have it stored on my home computer.

    Still very cool and I will be first on line for this. 


  52. More information and content RE: LongBox…

    A VERY extensive and detailed interview with the boys over at Comic Geek Speak went up today… Get some popcorn, a soda, and take a bathroom break because it clocks in at 2 friggin hours.