When comic book illustrator Steve Lieber heard that his recently released graphic novel, “Underground,” was being pirated on an online forum, he decided to take action.
No, he did not threaten the perpetrators with lawsuits. The Portland, Ore., artist got on the forum and talked with them.
“I went from annoyance to fascination to sympathy,” Lieber said. “I’ve got the fanboy gene like anyone else, and I know what it feels like to love a work so much you just want to evangelize for it.”
The forum discussion caused a spike in book sales and Lieber now plans to incorporate free digital downloads into the marketing of his future work. Some issues of his past comics now are available as free downloads on his website.
Fifteen years ago, Lieber’s experience was unfathomable. Now it embodies the modern digitized environment — an environment that might pose a threat to independent comic book stores and traditional consumption.
Batman and Superman, who first appeared in comics before World War II, now are available digitally as many comic book producers offer their content as PDFs and tablet and smartphone apps.
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