The trend for newbie and indy comic creators now is to go to the web first, especially as indy success comic Finder moves from printed serial comics to free web serial and printed graphic novels for sale. This method has worked well for me; I’m sold on it now. When I first started promoting Golden Boy, I thought that people would pay for online content because there wasn’t really enough good stuff around. After being linked to by Scott “I heart BitPass” McCloud, whose site is really the keystone of the audience who would pay for webcomics online and not seeing much of a return on it, you start to re-evaluate. But the success of Modern Tales could mean that there was a market for paid content online at one time. Market conditions change, so I don’t think BitPass comics are dead. They just aren’t doing much right now.
An aside: if Marvel or DC would scan in all of their comics and sell them as PDFs or CBZ files for me to download via BitPass a la iTunes Music Store for 25 cents a pop, I’m so there. The market is there for digital comics (Hello illegal comic torrents), the big guys should pounce on it.
I released an entire graphic novel online all at once, which made it hard to get an audience. I had to advertise. People like to get in on the ground floor or near the ground floor on webcomics, but once they’re invested, they are in. Sustained story comics like Golden Boy are a tough sell (even though it is free) in a world with great single-serving strips like PvP or Diesel Sweeties (not that these don’t have sustained story arcs either, these guys are good enough to make it transparent). After Golden Boy I wanted to do something short and light, which is where Quick Step came from. Quick Step’s popularity has grown significantly in theory because of small, regular updates. The problems with Quick Step are that in a print-on-demand world, it will be too small to be worth printing in most cases. Also, with the audience growth of weekly updates in mind, what would be the growth potential of daily updates?
I’m also concerned about proper formats. Both Quick Step and Golden Boy are displayed on screen as full comic pages. What if I were to cut those pages in half and make them fill a 800×600 display to better fit the screen?
My output now is one page a week comfortably with Quick Step. I’ve been reading all about Warren Ellis’ Fell, which is his experiment at cheap comics – 16 page comics for 2 bucks. But these comics are a dense 16 pages because it runs in a 9 panel grid; I think they are of exceptional value for the content you get. So, what if instead of splitting your comic in half, you split it into three rows – like the strip format that webcomic readers love, and produce two traditional printed pages a week to dice up for daily updates on the web?
So, here’s a rough plan for the next comic I’ll be doing:
You can also browse through the Parlor archives.
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