The webcomics blog about webcomics

Hey Everybody, Miss Me?

Hurricane cleanup done, work nearly caught up, end-of-summer slowdown easing away, let’s get back to this embloggenation, shall we?

  • The final countdown to this year’s Small Press Expo is underway, with nearly everybody from web/indy comics that you can think of, and work has me going in very nearly the opposite direction. Have fun in Bethesda (and the following weekend for Intervention) for me; I’ll be picking up a case of neon poisoning in Las Vegas.
  • With just about half of the pledge period past, Stripped is sitting about 125% of goal, meaning that what might be the most important “if we go over goal” is pretty much a certainty. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I never considered the costs of closed captioning, but Freddave Kellett-Schroeder didn’t; comics are uniquely appealing to the hard of hearing, and now they won’t be left out of what could become a definitive exploration of the medium. Also, somebody check me on this — has any previous project in the comics arena gathered as many supporters as Stripped? As of this writing, 1765 people have pledged actual cash money to the project, which strikes me as a significantly high number¹
  • Dustin Harbin — well versed in comics of all sorts — has had his thinking cap on and congealed his thinks into Fifteen Thoughts on Digital Comics. These thoughts are aimed squarely at those that publish comics on paper and are now flirting with comics in the digital realm, and it’s worth reading for anybody that makes or loves comics, because the way that large producers answer Harbin’s concerns will determine the future — even the existence — of comics. My eye particularly lingered on thoughts number 10 and 11:

    10) It seems to me like a foregone conclusion that people are going to one day wake up and think “Hey, why are comics the most expensive media purchase I make each month?” Digital device culture is increasingly ubiquitous, and the idea that the comics industry can funnel its readership in a direction that’s somehow in the best interests of publishers, brick-and-mortar retailers, and digital distribution companies is … hard to swallow. This is driven home to me whenever the “day-and-date” question pops up. Essentially, “Should digital comics be available the same day as their (presumably better? more important?) print version?” Because that question has nothing to do with users, and everything to do with print publishers and comic book shops. Here’s why:

    11) Publishers have tricked themselves into thinking that digital comics –- THEIR digital comics –- are somehow competition for their own print comics. They’re the same comics! You made them, publishers! Surely any person on your staff under the age of 40 can see that hmmmm, maybe print is not the safest boat to float in, maybe digital is going to be big “one day”? Alter your business model and give room to both. Stop competing with yourself, and start competing with your competitors again.

    One might note that webcomics² deal with those concerns neatly. Furthermore, webcomics³ seems to have engaged in one behavior that crucially differences it from the big print enterprises — there’s an ongoing (sometimes low-level, but always acknowledged in the background) conversation to the effect of What next? What comes after the current form of webcomics? What will be the next method of distribution, the next business model, the way that I meet the challenges that haven’t popped up yet?

    The reticence of print comics publishers to have that conversation among themselves is similar to the response of the music and movie industries to non-physical forms of their products. DC and Marvel may not have thrown around lawsuits with ridiculous monetary damages claimed like the MPAA and RIAA, but they have spent a similar period of time denying the shift to digital and engaging in a reaction that essentially amounted to If we ignore it hard enough it will go away and when we deal with it, it will be from a perspective of trying to keep things as much the same as they’ve always been. Whether they make the mental (and business model) shifts necessary to keep up with technological changes will determine how much of their industry still exists in ten years.

¹ Not to mention the thirteen backers that have pledged at the US$500, US$1000, and US$5000 (!) levels.

² That is, creator-owned, web distribution to start, print and otherwise tangible iterations to follow.

³ Passim.

Re: Contributor counts for Kickstarter projects…you should check out Zach’s count for the SMBC Theater drive: 2451! ( )

I am so excited about “Stripped”. As many issues as I may have with old school newspaper models, those creators are my heros and I look forward to hearimg from them.

[…] Thoughts on Digital Comics Original Source: Dharbin! – Found via: Fleen Additionally: Scott Kurtz – Von Allen […]

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