In the Face of Comic Industry Shutdown, New Publisher AWA Goes Online

AWA The Resistance - Publicity - H 2020
Rahzzah/Artists Writers & Artisans
The company's first release, 'The Resistance,' is about a pandemic that gives survivors superpowers.

The first title from Artists Writers & Artisans, the new comic book publisher founded by Marvel Entertainment alumni Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso, had the unfortunate timing to be launched last week, as the comic book industry was in the process of shutting down because of the novel coronavirus. The solution to this problem? Releasing titles digitally, beginning Wednesday.

AWA’s digital releases won’t be limited to the traditional ComiXology digital comics strategy; starting Wednesday, the company will also be serializing its print releases in a vertical scrolling format online, on its own website as well as webcomic platforms WEBTOONS and Tapas, beginning with the first installment of The Resistance, a comic about a pandemic that gives people superpowers. 

In a statement accompanying the launch of the format, AWA explained, “Given the timeliness of the story and the limited access to get the physical copy at retail due to COVID- 19, J. Michael Straczynski & Mike Deodato Jr.’s The Resistance No. 1 will be the first of our stories to premiere in this new format, beginning with Part One this week. We are working to convert other AWA comics into a vertical scrolling format and will update you on their releases as they are available.”

The statement also says that concerns over piracy prompted the move. “We’ve also seen a large portion of our audience reading The Resistance on substandard pirate websites (over 10,000 views so far), and hope to give these viewers a superior free reading experience on mobile and desktop,” the statement reads.