One of Micaela Dawn's submissions to the Adobe and Marvel contest.

May 04 2015

Adobe Creative Cloud Powers Marvel Comic-Con Contest

Backed by an arsenal of Adobe content creation and sharing tools, graphic design students battle for superhero status — and the chance to illustrate an Avengers comic.

Comic-book fans, assemble!

This summer, four aspiring graphic designers will realize their dreams of becoming comic book illustrators with the help of Adobe Creative Cloud — which hosts Illustrator, Photoshop and other software for creative professionals.

In March, Adobe’s “Make it with Creative Cloud” campaign aligned with Marvel to seek contributors to a student-illustrated Avengers comic that will debut at San Diego Comic-Con before soaring into select stores nationwide.

Tagging entries with #madethis and #Marvel hashtags, comic-book hopefuls submitted original work via Adobe’s Behance, a free portfolio platform that allows users to both showcase their art and network with other professionals.

Concept artist and illustrator Micaela Dawn turned to Photoshop CC to create her Götterdämmerung submission. Other students designed multipanel sequences or transformed pencil drawings into vivid digital illustrations.

As a whole, the entries reflect an industrywide shift that began in the mid-1980s, when the first digitally produced comic was born. At that time, applications like Photoshop hadn’t yet hit the scene — it was nothing like today’s world, where comic books are not only produced digitally but also circulated that way.

According to The New York Times, the new distribution method really took hold around 2010, when publishers saw a major drop in print sales, even as digital sales skyrocketed. Marvel released its first made-for-digital comic in 2012 and now devotes an entire shop to offering individual issues and full collections in digital form.

While it’s likely that smartphone- and tablet-savvy fans anticipated the distribution change, the pricing model could surprise them. says many digital comics cost the same as their print counterparts:

Publishers often have dedicated staff just for converting comics from print to digital. In the case of Image Comics specifically, the books need to support various formats, including PDF, ePub, CBR/CBZ, and Comixology's format, which requires file maintenance, tracking, and uploading to various digital comics marketplaces.

There's another reason digital comics cost the same as print: Publishers don't want to undercut themselves or the storekeepers whom they rely on for real-world distribution.

Balancing the two formats, Marvel will couple a digital release with the premiere of the Make it with Creative Cloud Avengers comic. Other prizes include a ticket to Comic-Con and a portfolio review with Marvel’s editorial staff.

According to MediaPost, the Make it with Creative Cloud campaign aims to establish Adobe as the earth’s mightiest champion of would-be graphic designers — one that offers “unprecedented access to brands, career-making opportunities and advice from professional creatives they aspire to be.”

For the four ambitious students selected to illustrate Marvel’s limited-edition comic, Adobe will have certainly earned its cape.

Micaela Dawn

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