I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this hopeful and excited for the future of comics. For quite a while doom and gloom has been written on many walls, from the syndicated comic industry, the comic book industry, as sales and distribution of print has greatly diminished in our digital age. Over where I play and have played in Webcomics land, we’ve just been going about our own business and watching the big old ships sink while we sit on the shore with mai-tais in hand. Sure, there have been several times we tried to take a life boat out with preservers or show people how to get off those sinking ships, but were often surprised to find the passengers would rather drown than give up the comfort of their cabins.
Way back in the year 2000, on my old old blog I remember talking at length about my excitement for the way we could read comics online and couldn’t understand why Marvel or DC weren’t putting up Spider-Man or Batman serials online. I actually took part in a couple pitches to editors back then and they didn’t really GET the web. The consensus all those years ago was that “webcomics” were just for people who couldn’t afford to print their own work or weren’t good enough to get jobs at a publisher. All that time ago, I said all it would take is to have some better technology and computers and some big names coming from the comics world. (I remember I said Brian Bendis and Frank Miller at the time) If those guys would come online with FREE serialized comics…if Batman by Frank Miller was a weekly serial??? Anyways, I put forth a fair warning that someday the GIANTS would come…. and now they’re here.
Here we are 15 years later. The ships HAVE sunk long ago and people who have been living on the decks that are still peeking out over the waters, are scrambling to find alternatives. And YES, they are swimming for the beaches of webcomics island. I have a few huts and rental properties out here on the clean beaches, with very few tourists, while heavyweights like Penny Arcade and PvP and Keenspot have built full on mega million dollar resorts up the beach. Thing about “webcomics” island is the inhabitants have always just considered what we do COMICS. And another thing is, webcomics island welcomes ALL creators from any industry that is sunk. Newspapers, direct comic book industry, noobs… it’ ALL COMICS here. It wasn’t always like this on webcomics island. In the early days tribes and warlords battled over who was planting their flags in whatever beaches, and the drama and fighting got kinda ugly and stupid… but the “scene” kind of died down and everyone sort of moved to their places and did their own things. Every now and then there’s a flare up over past hurt feelings or something, but for the most part the past couple years, Webcomics Island has been at peace. The survivors from their sinking ships are coming in and learning how we’ve all built lives for ourselves on the little island, and there’s PLENTY of room for everyone.
HERE COME THE GIANTS…
Marvel, DC, etc are NOT survivors from any ship. They’re ships have been safely at port. And while their hauls are a bit old and weary and some of their deckhands are a bit out of the times, they all have new Captains who are sailing for our shores in their giant vessels. They’ve heard the tales of our successes on Webcomics Island. Some are worried that they are coming to conquer us and take over. Take all the flags we planted long ago as pioneers and re-write the history books to say they discovered these waters and lands. Me? I’m not worried about it in the least. If anything, I’m more of the mind now that I’d love to TRADE with these giants. We have a lot of talent over here on Webcomics Island who could use the money offered by Giants to fund their own little villages and huts. And maybe Webcomics Island can use these giants to spread the word that Webcomics Island exists, it’s not a fictional place like Atlantis. We’re here! Come visit! Most everything is FREE and entertaining.
Except the rum.
Ahhhhh… this post took a weird turn. I guess I was in a MIND DUMP sort of mood. I was originally going to write about my sheer excitement that Mark Waid is launching Thrillbent.com on May 1st. Mark has seemed to have taken a lot of heat from retailers and old guard comics people when he says digital is the future. And I’m stoked that he’s going to experiment with new ways and well, he’s open to failing in public! (which I doubt they will) If you’re a creator, there are a lot of good conversations going on over in his forum. We’re sharing information on what’s working for us and others. Experimenting with new ways of enhancing sequential art without the bells and whistles of motion comics or animatics. It’s an exciting time. It feels like the sky is the limit again for serialized comic stories in this digital future. No, Mark isn’t the Silver Surfer of the GIANT Galactus searching out worlds to destroy. Complete opposite. He’s giving Webcomics Island a ton of props and I think he feels like the more people succeed at this, the better for everyone. A rising tide and all that.
Jason and I have been thinking about putting out Hero By Night a bit different since I got my rights back. And this really kicked us into gear. Our new “Issue 4″ is in a new format we experimented with (it’s PDF) but the layout is a bit different. You can download a preview scene at: http://herobynight.keenspot.com/HBN4PREVIEW.pdf – And the full 98 screen update is available for only 99cents which you can purchase with one click right here. – We tried to lay it all out so it should work well on all of your digital devices that can read PDF, or on your computer screens. Check it out!
We really think all of this is the future of comics in your hands today.