Preparations for the 16th Treviso Comic Book Festival are gathering steam as the event deadline nears, and the call has just gone out on Facebook and twitter for volunteers to help the event run smoothly.

Very little information available at this time – follow the Treviso Comic Book Festival on twitter: @TVComicBookFest – so this mention is unusually brief, but I felt it important to include here as a reminder that, across the globe, comics are a major component of the publishing industry, and the part we hear about  – Marvel and DC, Manga, Comixology and the like – are just part of a much bigger industry that pulses at levels and in places we might least expect.
Take Myanmar for example.

There was a time when comic books ruled the earth. Well, at least the reading habits of Myanmar youths. For a fashion in Yangon, book shelves and rental stores were stuffed with a variety of comics for the public to enjoy.
Myine Yarzar Tut Pi by Sway Min (Danu Phyu), Taryar Pwagyi by Byuu, Sein Myount Myount by Myay Zar and many more were popularly consumed by the masses during this golden age.

So opens an article in the Myanmar Times, reporting on a Myanmar publishing house, Exit Books, that wants to rekindle the love of comics in Myanmar.
To do that they are launching a new comic collection called Dai, or in full “Wone Dai Kyal”, which as we all know is Burmese for to make an uproar.
In fact it’s three collections, each of nine comics. Dai is set to release shortly in the rainy season, Wone during the summer and Kyal in the cool season.
Exit Books CEO Myay Hmone Lwin, said,

As you know, our country was very late in publishing comic books compare with other countries, the comic book market here broke down, there was a lost generation. So, we’re aiming to bring comic books back to make up for that deficit. It’s for a new generation.
Wone Dai Kyal is not commercial. It is the playground for new generations to show their power. So, come and show us.

It’s not clear from the report whether Wone Dai Kyal will be both print and digital or just print, but given the low level of digitisation in the Myanmar publishing industry it’s likely to be just print.
For another look at the Myanmar comic scene check out this post from January 2018.

Myanmar’s golden age of comics revived for a day as another Myanmar comic makes a killing on Facebook

Meanwhile in the digitised west there’s a new digital comics platform gaining momentum
Graphite doesn’t carry much in the way of big name Marvel and DC style content, but does have some seriously attractive niche and archival comic material (Vampirella, anyone?) as well as modern webtoon and Manga content.
In a press release Graphite Chief Content Officer Tom Akel said,

We are thrilled to reveal Graphite, the future of digital comics, to the world today. The comics industry is primed for a seamless and universal platform to provide creators and publishers with a platform to reach new audiences through next generation features and for fans to have a singular, freemium home to engage with their favorite series. Graphite is truly the first platform to embrace comics in all its forms.

But a more revealing perspective comes from the on-site introduction, where Akel says Graphite will,

revolutionize the industry … offering features that have never been seen in digital comics but that the world has been screaming for..

Akel goes on,

Our promise to publishers is that we are going to expand the market, to get your titles into the hands of readers who might otherwise never have had the opportunity to access them, to scale this business to suit your needs, and to provide a singular, global platform that will redefine how you interact with and reach your fans with unprecedented levels of transparency.
Our promise to readers is that whatever your tastes, whatever you preferred format, and wherever you are, that we will deliver the smartest, most inclusive, and seamless comics experience in the universe. We are working diligently to continually expand our offering with new content being published daily.

How will all this happen? Akel has a list.

  • I.-driven discovery – the most intuitive comics app ever designed with A.I. discovery that is similar to your favorite music and video streaming platforms.
  • All formats of comics are supported – traditional comics and graphic novels, vertical webtoons, horizontal strips and webcomics, and manga.
  • Unparalleled image quality and speed – the team has a decade of experience in dealing with image file optimization and the app supports up to retina quality images for all formats.
  • A truly kids safe environment – set parental controls and we disable commenting, ads, UGC, and social media features. Your child will only see content from brands you know and trust.
  • A freemuim/subscription model – all content is free and ad supported or ad free with a premium subscription.
  • A singular, global destination – as we bring in content from around the globe there won’t be any need to install multiple apps or manually switch regions.

Follow Graphite on twitter: @GetDrawnIn