Contest: Zune swoon

The Zune is Microsoft’s MP3 player, which apparently doesn’t just play music, it plunges you into an entire world of digital media.

Zune Arts is Microsoft’s bid to cool-wash the Zune by supporting emerging artists and tying them to the brand. And what’s cooler than webcomics? So the Zune folks turned to Steve Niles, the author of 30 Days of Night, who in turn teamed up with artists Dr. Revolt, Gary Panter, Kime Buzzelli and Morning Breath to produce an online graphic novel, The Lost Ones. Go, read, although you may have to be patient with the Flash animation on the site. We’ll be reviewing it shortly.

Or, you could skip the Flash and win a limited-edition print copy of The Lost Ones, complete with a poster. You could also contribute to a more interesting Digital Strips in future. Here’s how: Comment to this post with a suggestion for a webcomic we should be reading and reviewing. We can’t promise we’ll review every one, but we will at least check it out. We do promise that we will select two winners at random from among the commenters. Send in your suggestions before August 5 to qualify. In the meantime, click “Read more” for the 411 on The Lost Ones.

Paperback editions of “The Lost Ones” available in July at select stores nationwide.

Download the Novel online here:
Watch “The Lost Ones” Trailer here:

REDMOND, Wash. — July 2, 2008 — Zune Arts, a creative collective curated by Zune, Microsoft Corp.’s integrated digital entertainment brand, today released “The Lost Ones,” a graphic novel written by celebrated writer Steve Niles. For the Zune-commissioned novel, Niles was paired up with visual artists Dr. Revolt, Gary Panter, Kime Buzzelli and Morning Breath to take the reader on an epic journey through time and space. Each artist illustrated a different chapter of the novel, resulting in a blend of artistic styles that is emblematic of the unique creative collaborations for which Zune Arts has become widely known.

A preview of the novel is currently available at Two digital formats of the novel (PDF and RAR) are available free for download today, and visitors can watch the graphic novel trailer and previously released behind-the-scenes podcasts documenting the artists in action. In early July, 42,000 paperback editions of the novel will be available free at select comic book and retail boutiques nationwide. In addition, 1,250 signed limited-edition collector’s copies with silk-screened covers packaged with artwork from the novel will be produced for select distribution.

“Working with these four talented artists on this project was a delight,” Niles said. “Zune Arts was the gateway that allowed us to show what’s possible when artists of different backgrounds and unique styles collaborate to create something larger than the sum of its parts.”

“The Lost Ones” chronicles the adventures of four friends — Duncan, Roxy, Rasheed and Cynthia — whose seemingly harmless day of extreme planet jumping turns into a mind-blowing, white-knuckle race for their lives to get back home. They find that home is no longer where they left it and the alien race, hell-bent on destroying them, isn’t getting any friendlier.

The graphic novel merges five distinct creative points of view to bring the story to life:

· Dr. Revolt, an original member of the historic New York City graffiti crew the Rolling Thunder Writers
· Gary Panter, an illustrator known for his surreal and raw style
· Kime Buzzelli, an emerging painter and fashion designer
· Morning Breath, a Brooklyn-based art and design duo blending a graffiti style reminiscent of early ’80s street art
· Steve Niles, celebrated author of “30 Days of Night”

“We are excited to bring together a collective of like-minded individuals who are innovators in the artistic community and come from a diverse set of backgrounds,” said Robert Schaltenbrand, brand manager for Zune at Microsoft. “The unique result of this collaboration is a genre-bending concept that transcends traditional graphic novels and delivers something new and exciting to readers and fans.”

Continuing its tradition of connecting artists and their fans, Zune Arts will also be hosting several book signings throughout the United States during the summer. Tour dates and featured artists are outlined below.

From a program that started more than a year and a half ago with a simple animated sketch of a man and a bunny, Zune Arts ( has grown to spearhead dozens of collaborations with world-renowned and emerging artists such as M. Ward, Lily Allen, Bitstate, PandaPanther and FriendsWithYou to blur the lines between art, technology, commerce, marketing and entertainment. On two separate occasions, films from the program have been inducted into the permanent film collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which speaks to the talented artists and high-quality work being curated for the program.

In addition, Zune Arts offers weekly podcast feeds through Zune Marketplace, providing customers with access to some of today’s most cutting-edge cultural artists expressing themselves through film, music, design, illustration and everything in between. The podcasts are available for free download, and fans can subscribe to automated feeds so the series is synced with their Zune devices.

Book Signing Tour Dates

· July 16, Boston, Bodega: Dr. Revolt, Gary Panter

· July 17, New York, Midtown Comics: Dr. Revolt, Gary Panter, Kime Buzzelli, Morning Breath, Steve Niles

· July 18, Philadelphia, Brave New Worlds: Gary Panter, Steve Niles

· July 19, Baltimore, Atomic Books: Dr. Revolt, Gary Panter, Steve Niles

· July 20, Washington, D.C., Big Planet Comics: Gary Panter, Steve Niles

· July 31, Los Angeles, Meltdown: Kime Buzzelli, Steve Niles

· Aug. 2, Chicago, Chicago Comics and Quimby’s Bookstore: Dr. Revolt, Gary Panter

· Two dates and locations to be determined, San Francisco: Gary Panter

About Zune Arts

Zune Arts is a program that values emerging artists and art in all forms and provides a platform for artists of all kinds to share their work. At the heart of Zune Arts are ideas about friendship, discovery, connecting and sharing, which will serve as both a guide for artists’ work and an ethic for all Zune Arts does.

About Zune

Zune is Microsoft’s music and entertainment brand that provides an integrated digital entertainment experience. The Zune platform includes a line of wireless digital media players, the Zune Marketplace online store, and Zune Social online music community. Zune is part of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division and supports the company’s software-based services vision to help drive innovation in the digital entertainment space. More information can be found online at


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