Hey look! It’s another Blog@16!
(Who said that?)

Oh, it’s me. Ok– So we’re back talking Digital Comics again, I know, it’s getting to be a bit of a soapbox for me, isn’t it? Well, that’s because I truly believe that we’re just a few years away from a massive convergence of web comics and Digital Comic devices.

Most of you reading this are webcomic readers or creators (heck, if you aren’t a reader, then do you just read this blog and not that comic? That might creep me out more than the flat jellyfish people!) so I think I’m preaching to the choir on this one: None of us LIKE publishing/reading our comics on a CRT/LCD screen, but it’s the most viable and widely distribution option for us.

And, obviously, there’s a ton of pluses: Audience interaction, building a community, the ability to hyperlink to merchandise or highlight the work of others– I mean, it’s a great format– but you’ve got to admit, you’d much rather cozy up in your favorite chair and read something like ShadowGirls with a cup of tea…whereas, currently, you run the risk of spilling on your keyboard.

Tablet devices, smart phones, PSPs and the DSi (or whatever incarnation those devices will take in the future,) that’s going to be the new platform.

What I see happening is that your gag-a-day Webcomics, PvP et al, will continue to be read in their day-to-day releases– likely as a subscription based feed, which you can almost think of as RSS 2.0.

I back that up with Itunes’ new “subscription model” which admittedly, has garnered some flack. That said, if you pay 99 cents a week for “Gag Comic X,” it shows up on your device as soon as it updates.

With longform comics, I can see some real potential for indie creators who are willing to experiment with the model–
The always forward thinking Warren Ellis mentioned something akin to this on his blog awhile back:

When creators who matter to me start really thinking about the in-app or cliented digital comics form of Comixology or graphic.ly, and start doing, say, 10 or 12 page comics (with whatever notational stuff shoved in the back that they feel like adding) and releasing them for 99 US cents every two weeks or so, I’m going to get interested really fast. And so will you. Particularly when these services perfect series-specific subscriptions that sideload the books automagically into your client locker or push an alert to your device.

That could even loosen up to, say, buying a subscription to a graphic novel, and having the discrete chapters pushing to you as they’re completed, on an entirely irregular schedule that builds up to something of not fewer pages than you signed on for, within an acceptable plus-or-minus of a previously announced timeframe.

For longform webcomic folks, I do firmly believe this is the direction to head. Obviously, still a ways off– and there will be a lot of tweeking to do with this model, such as: switching the mindset of advertising a website to advertising an app– but I think those solutions will present themselves as the needs arise.

So where do “BIG TIME” comics fit in this brave new world?

Well, good question, and they’re all still trying to figure that out. As of yet, Marvel and DC are not offering a Day-and-Date digital/print release schedule– which, IMO, is pretty much what their core audiences are waiting on in order to make the switch to digital.

Much of the delay is due to comic book retailers, who are worried that digital will kill them– (I still maintain that the solution to that problem appears in my interview with Micah Baldwin)– In order to meet the challenges faced by the problem of Releasing Digitally Alongside Print (hereby referred to as RDAP!) Diamond, the comicbook distibution company (which has come under fire in the past for being a monopoly,) partnered with Iverse, a digital comic platform, to introduce a new system in which you can buy a digital version of a print comic you paid for, at the cost of 99 cents.

I’ll repeat that: You can buy a digital version, at the store you just drove to, of the comic you just bought a hard copy of (for 2.99), for the “low cost” of 99 cents.

Now, that raised a LOT of hairs amongst the fanbase– personally, I did a lot of ranting against it as well– and I still maintain that a digital version of a physical item should be free (ala DVDs and Blu-Rays.) That said, I did run across an interesting pull over at 3 Million Years that pinged a Comic Alliance rebuttal to the nay-saying:

The thing to keep in mind about Diamond Digital, though, is that it’s clearly and knowingly a stop-gap solution; a temporary system to fiddle around with while we wait for the real future to show up — kind of like LaserDisc. As such, while in three or five years we’ll likely have our digital comics consumption methods reasonably standardized (Marvel could start by winnowing its digital strategies down to two or three, maybe) for now it’s worth setting aside easy mockery and looking at what Diamond Digital could actually accomplish.

So, as a guy that’s putting his time and effort into this space, I feel that I have to walk the walk, as it were– and at least give the service a shot to see what it’s offering. So, once this new platform launches in earnest, I’ll try it out and report my experience.

DIGITAL COMIC SHOUTOUT!

Speaking of walking the walk, I picked up Septagon Studios new digital comic: Gator Butch on Graphic.ly. The Gator Gang caught my attention with the most impressive collection of bonus materials I’ve seen offered yet. Check it out:

Interestingly, the bonus features work outside Graphic.ly’s system– in that you purchase the comic and then email Septagon your receipt– Currently, I’m waiting on the bonus stuff to be delievered, but that’s fine– I’ve got a comic to read in the meantime!

Kudos to the Gator crew for pushing the boundaries on Digital Bonus features– you guys have set an impressive bar! I’m gonna have to ramp our content up for Issue 2’s bonus stuff!

Speaking of Bonus Features, it looks like all of ours are now available on Graphic.ly– we were having some problems with getting them all set for you, but they’re up and ready to rock now. If you have any trouble viewing them, please let me know!

NEW DISTIBUTOR!

We’ve also partnered up with a new distributor!

Mydigitalcomics.com is stocking Issue 1 in both the .PDF and .CBZ formats.
Personally, I like the .CBZ format, because using the Media Server application on the Playstation 3, you can stream comics to your Big Screen TV. Yes, you can now read Spy6teen in 48 inches of 1080p!
If you’d like to try it out, just let me know and I can write up a full tutorial on how to!

In the meantime, check out the MyDigitalComics site to see what else they have to offer you!

WRAP UP!

Ok, so that covers this week’s blog– As always, we’re still working on climbing the charts at Top Web Comics!

The Incentive Image has been updated for the week, so give ‘er a click to check out a preview of next week’s page!

Seeya on Tuesday for…

…The Return of Mr. Everett!!