10 Questions With PJ Holden

Here’s 10 Questions with PJ Holden Comic artist!

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1. Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)

PJ Holden, I’m a comic artist. Currently working on Numbercruncher, being printed by Titan Comics and Department of Monsterology for Renegade Arts Entertainment.

2. What drew you to digital comics?

Lack of space, mostly.

3.  Webcomics or digital comics?

Digital comics. I’m an occasional visitor of webcomics, but I like art and webcomics – with a few exceptions – are much more about jokes than the art.

4. What do you think works with digital comics?

Easier to say what doesn’t work, I think. Double page spreads don’t work, Tiny lettering doesn’t work, and, well, aside from that, it’s mostly open to anything.

5.Can digital comics replace print comics?

For some people yes, for others no. I don’t think they’ll ever entirely displace print comics, but as devices get smaller/lighter and start being give to children for christmas (next year, for example, my 8yr old and 4yr old BOTH want their own kindle Fires) then I think we’ll see print comics change to work better within the digital medium, and, as newer distribution models kick in – digital first and print collections, for example, seems to be the one a large number of publishers are circling around – we’ll start to see the print market change so that it and the digital market can coexist.

6. How can print comics work with digital comics?

In the short term, offering free digital codes for print comics can help keep the market going, changing the size of lettering/removing double page spreads to help comics appear on both print and digital and having starting to improve the print comic experience would be great. I’ve seen comics where every other page is an advert, totally destroying the narrative flow of the print comic, and yet the digital comic doesn’t have those ads littered throughout.

7. What don’t you like about digital comics?

I like digital comics to read, but not to collect – there’s almost no satisfaction knowing I have a digital issue of a comic, over knowing I have a print version. For example, I have a Dark Knight Returns, bought in 1988 – and it’s scuffed and a bit musty smelling, but it’s enormously satisfying knowing I still have it. But I also have a digital collection of it but I couldn’t tell you if it was even on my ipad or on the cloud – I know if I want to read it I can download it anytime, from the enormous digital library.

8. What digital comics/webcomics do you read?

2000AD, The Phoenix, Locke and Key and whatever takes my fancy.

9. Where do you see digital comics going from here?

In an ideal world we’ll start to see digital comics start to do things that only digital comics can do, specifically enhanced backmatter – things like wikis built into the comic, video interviews, podcasts, etc, all within the actual comic itself. Maybe including pencilled art or unused / unseen art. I’d also like to see things like text to speech added to comic readers, possibly a kind of panel highlighting (different from the panel by panel reader – this would show the whole page and highlight each panel as they’re supposed to be read) to help kids, non-comic readers figure out the grammar of comics as well as those with learning or sight difficulty.

And why we’re wishing for the impossible, I’d like all publishers to make extant digital comics DRM free so people can manage their own digital collections if they wish.
I’d like to see all of that, but I suspect what will actually happen is the digital market will become coalesce around one company, with a very restricted comic reader (because adding features takes time and money and can’t be easily scaled for volume). At some point DC/Marvel will want to move their comic reader platform in house, causing headaches for people with a massive digital marvel/dc catalogue (either because they will remove their digital comics from other distribution channels, or readers will now find themselves with a collection split across two different comic readers – causing OCD panics). Possibly causing the implosion of any monopolised digital distributor. Causing everyone to suddenly realise that the comics they’ve been buying where, in face, only rented for the duration of the company.

That’s all speculation, and probably just a horrible worst case scenario.

10.Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?

More publishers to go either exclusive with digital distributors or to find new, smaller distribution companies who are able to offer them a better deal or better facilities than the current big player in the market.

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