Among all the various passions, it’s hard to think of any that have loyalists more passionate than comic book fans. And that’s exactly why the past decade or so has been a bit awkward. As all content has been shifting away from print variations, “comic books” seem ripe to also move beyond the “books” aspect and embrace online. That transition is exactly what Graphic.ly has been working on.
It was a year ago that the startup, which was originally a part of the 2009 TechStars class in Boulder, CO (though it was then known as Take Comics), raised an initial round of funding, $1.2 million from a group of investors. Today, they’re announcing that they’re going back to the well and drawing up another $3 million.
So what will the money go towards? Well, having tackled the concept of an online comic haven in 2010 — more than 600,000 copies of Graphic.ly’s various applications have been downloaded in just 5 months — 2011 will bring an extension of broader ideas behind the company. This means evolving Graphic.ly into more than an online digital comic store, CEO Micah Baldwin says. He notes that it’s about mixing the artwork and story lines with the interactivity and social aspects that the web can provide.
The startup currently has relationships with over 150 publishers and comic creators. That includes big guys like Marvel and Archie Comics. More partnerships is undoubtedly a part of the plan, as is probably acquiring more properties like iFanboy, to extend their reach and hardcore user base.