Disney has released the first DigiComics for Epic Mickey, the huge new storyline centered around the new Wii game from Disney Interactive due out November 30th.  Epic Mickey apps for the iPad and iPhone/iPod were released on Friday, October 22nd, with one free DigiComics story and five more eight-page stories (really one 40-page “bundle’ for $2.99).  The apps also include a map of The Wasteland, the setting for the story; descriptions of the characters (otherwise forgotten cartoon personalities that live in The Wasteland), and a trailer for the game. 


We talked to Dario Di Zanni, Senior Manager, Marketing and Business Development, New Media, for Disney Publishing Worldwide about the leading role that digital content is taking in the comics strategy for Epic Mickey. 


Tell us about your “digital first” plans for Epic Mickey.

We want to release certain stories in digital first and then as a printed product which is going to happen for example on Epic Mickey.  Epic Mickey is this huge project that the Disney Company has kicked off.  It’s a Wii game being produced by Disney Interactive Studios.  In Publishing we are creating original stories around Epic Mickey, setting the context of Epic Mickey before the game.  It’s like a prequel to the game.  So we are describing the wasteland, the characters, the forgotten characters….


In the material going to premiere in Italy?

It’s going to be in English, Italian, it will be available in Japan, Korea


So simultaneously in multiple languages?

Yes.  It will be a separate application from DigiComics, because it’s going to be a stand- alone app.  It will be a free app, upselling different types of content.  There will be DigiComics first, we are going to update the app including more editorial content the more we get closer to the release date of the game.


Have you started releasing comic content already?

Yes.  It will be available on iPhone/iOS devices.  Our intention is to create a real comics world featuring Epic Mickey characters in different comic formats.  We are going to start with DigiComics, but is our intention to add more editorial content into the app.  Also we are thinking about doing motion comics starting from the same stories for which we have done DigiComics.


So that’s going to be free comic content and then at some point …

There will also be premium content sold through the app.  So there will be some free content and some pay content.


What’s the paper release schedule for that material?

The paper release is going to come around the same date of the app.  There will be some publications going out around the end of October.


Is there going to be US release of that material by Boom?

We are still evaluating the way it’s going to be published in printed form in the US.  We also have the Disney Book Group.  We are also going to have the graphic novel which is the telling of the game.  We have different products.  We have DigiComics, which is setting the context of the game with comic stories.  And then we have the graphic novel which is the story of the game which is of course going to be available in the market when the game releases.  We don’t want any spoilers of the game, it’s such a great game and we don’t want to spoil anything of it. 


We’re really trying to experiment a lot with this.  Epic Mickey will be the first time that Disney Publishing tries to do something very different, very breakthrough for us.  This new concept of day and date has become that we are now leading with digital availability and then we postpone the print availability.  It’s something we’re trying to put in the mix, to really understand the potential of the different platforms but also the potential of the different kinds of content.  The plans are getting refined as we speak.


Click here for Dario Di Zanni interview, Part 1.


Click here for Dario Di Zanni interview, Part 2.