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Amazon Publishing is launching its own imprint for original digital comic books and graphic novels called Jet City Comics, the company announced today.

The launch follows efforts by Amazon’s publishing arm to expand the content it produces beyond just original ebooks. Last year the company started allowing authors to submit Kindle Singles, which allowed people to buy what are essentially chapters of a broader story. And more recently, Amazon Publishing launched its Kindle Worlds platform that brilliantly monetizes fan fiction from a handful of licensed book and TV series (Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars). And on the comics front, the company already has a “panel view” comic creator service that allows creators to optimize their works for Kindle Fire.

Symposium coverAs for Jet City, the imprint will feature original stories from high-profile creators, such as George R.R. Martin, Hugh Howey, and Neal Stephenson. The imprint’s debut monthly title Symposium, by author Christian Cameron and artist Dmitry Bondarenko, is about Shield-Brethren in Ancient Greece following Athens’ defeat to Sparta in 394 B.C. Jet City will also release an adaptation of Martin’s Meathouse Man illustrated by Raya Golden as well as re-release of the Game of Thrones prequel graphic novel The Hedge Knight.

The new imprint is also an attempt by Amazon to make Amazon and Kindle the primary store for comic fans. Unlike Marvel, DC Comics, or Image, Jet City’s digital comics will be available exclusively on Amazon. That means you won’t be able to buy or read the books on the industry-leading digital comics platform/store ComiXology. Theoretically, that may translate to more people buying digital comics on Amazon, because they’re now spending more time on the platform reading Jet City books.

Until now, Amazon has catered to optimizing pre-existing (mostly printed) graphic fiction to fit tablet screens. (The average printed comic book page is 6.625″ x 10.25″.)  With Jet City, the company has an opportunity to guide the artwork so that it’s made specifically for a 7- or 8.9-inch screen, which are the sizes of Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD tablets. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how successful Amazon is now that it has its own digital comic book imprint.

Images via Amazon/Jet City Comics

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