Another 10 questions with digital comics people. This time with the team behind Hurry: Adventures of the Rabbitoid Knight out now on Comixology!
Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
We’re Don Garvey and Mike Connelly, creators of Echo Rift Comics and co-hosts of the Echo Rift podcast. Our first comic, Hurry: Adventures of the Rabbitoid Knight, is a digitally enhanced/Guided View Native comic that can be purchased on ComiXology. Though we started making comics almost 20 years ago, Hurry is our first modern comic.
What drew you to digital comics?
As readers, we’re drawn to digital comics for the easy reading experience, combined with instant satisfaction allowed by the digital platform! As creators, the practical issues of low overhead cost and immediate satisfaction are nice, but we also enjoy the additional features and storytelling techniques afforded by the digital comic reading experience, such as the Thrillbent/Guided View type storytelling mechanisms we use.
Webcomics or digital comics?
At this point, we would have to say digital. We prefer to publish a comic in larger chunks once it is finished. We don’t get the opportunity to connect with readers as frequently as the webcomic creator does, which is one of the reasons we created the Echo Rift Podcast (http://echorift.com/home/
What do you think works with digital comics?
Though we both enjoy reading digital comics in standard format, we think digital comics are best when they are expressed using the technology at hand – transitions, speech bubbles that come and go, fades… elements that can add drama or suspense to the story enhanced by the digital experience.
Can digital comics replace print comics?
This is almost a philosophical question. Digital “print” has replaced physical “print” in almost every word or image you see each day. Even billboards are digital. Yet, in 2013 it seems that digital and print comics are holding hands and racing headlong toward the future. Digital comics seem to appeal to a different subset of readers than print, ultimately expanding the base rather than significantly robbing from the print side or vice versa. Market forces (buyers and sellers) will dictate what happens to print. What digital can’t ever replace is weight, texture and a sense of ownership and investment that only exists with things that can be held, displayed, admired. Books and personal libraries will always have an appeal, perhaps even greater for their novelty and nostalgia in a day and age without substance.
How can print comics work with digital comics?
What Marvel does by providing a digital code with top tier comics is a nice step in the right direction. It would be great to see a storyline develop where a reader can have a more complete story by reading a companion print or digital piece – not a crossover where the reader feels compelled to have both, but companion products. In a perfect dream world, it would be great to be able to walk into a boutique shop (what used to be a comic book store) and have your friend there handle the on-demand printing and binding of whatever comic book you like. And like any business that is a ‘gathering place’, they’ll have comfortable places to sit, music or live entertainment, coffee, food, beer, games (you pay for). There’s a service and demand that comic book stores provide that goes beyond the monthly book. It would be cool to see an entrepreneur ‘sell’ that experience and destination. Loose models exist in the form of; bars, bowling alleys, coffee shops, arcades.
What don’t you like about digital comics?
We are fortunate enough to live in an area where there are a dozen conventions within driving distance. As digital comic publishers we haven’t quite figured out a way to table at a convention and make it meaningful for the people who visit us. Over time we’ll certainly have print material we can promote, but until then, the very important convention opportunities seem very limited to us as digital comic publishers. That, and on a regular basis there’s no ‘store’ where you can have a live, human, communal experience to go along with your adventure.
What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
On the web: Marooned: A Space Opera in the Wrong Key by Tom Dell’Aringa, Takes of a Checkered Man by Denver Brubaker, Scott Kurtz’s PvP and Table Titans, and Travis Hanson’s The Bean. Digital: Edison Rex by Chris Roberson, Insufferable by Mark Waid, and Moth City by Tim Gibson.
Where do you see digital comics going from here?
We will see more comics designed with digital presentation in mind, similar to the techniques used by Thrillbent and the Guided View technology from ComiXology. Release schedules will become more varied, and we’ll see further definition around how much comic a reader will receive for a dollar. Plus additional ‘dimensions’ like original scores, narration, voice acting, sound effects, commentaries, layers (the pencils, the inks). With print your collaborations are limited to what can be delivered to the consumer in paper and ink. With digital the possibilities are greater. A creator with the right vision and craftsmanship will find ways to weave these together.
Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
More and more original digital comics that aren’t duplicate versions of print editions will be published. The big publishers will start to flesh out digital only lines of comics, and we’ll start to see the price structure change on those digital only series. The independent market will adapt to these changes and we will see more and more comics go direct to digital distributors like ComiXology. Warner Brothers as an example makes movies, TV and music. It might be possible to use free (or pay) comics to advertise their other products and vice versa. For instance, a single comic book is probably cheaper to produce than a TV commercial. New marketplaces like Comixology have made it so that anyone with pad or phone can shop or enjoy comics even if they’ve never have set foot in a comic book store or picked up a comic book. Users are always looking for content for their devices. Comics, new and old can be right there.