10 questions with Ryan Yount – Editor-In-Chief of new digital comics app Stela!
- Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
I’m Ryan Yount, Editor-in-Chief for Stela. Native Californian. Aries.
- What drew you to digital comics?
I’ve been a comics reader since I was young, and I believe in the future of digital, so being a part of launching a brand new digital comic publisher was too good an opportunity to pass up!
- Webcomics or digital comics?
Can I choose a different Boolean operator? “Webcomics AND digital comics.” There. [Laughs]
- What do you think works with digital comics?
Convenience (just a click away!) and distribution. As for format and design… in my opinion, digital comics that are made specifically for the digital medium work best. There are not a lot of folks doing it, because it’s a new way to do things. But looking at the original digital comics we’ve commissioned, and how well they read on the phone, it’s worth it.
- Can digital comics replace print comics?
Will digital comics eliminate print comics? Certainly not. I love printed comics and books. But as much as I love print publishing, I don’t see how print comics can possibly breakthrough to massive amounts of new readers. And I think that’s the opportunity for digital comics: the ability to find new, larger audiences.
- How can print comics work with digital comics?
Successful digital comics can find another home in print, whether for fans who want a printed artefact in their collection, or for readers who haven’t yet made the leap into reading on digital devices. At Stela, with all of the creator-owned projects we’re publishing, we take no print rights. So the creators retain those rights, and if they want to print up a collection later on after their run has ended with us, that’s A-OK with us.
- What don’t you like about digital comics?
I’m not a fan of animated (or partially-animated) digital comics. Sound effects and all that. Some are wonderfully done, and stand up well as a kind of interactive experience. Spending so much time in the game industry, I love interactive experiences. But for me, that’s not comics. I think it’s a mistake to invest in adding digital bells and whistles to comics.
- What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
I still read a few videogame-themed webcomics. The Penny Arcade stuff. And I could always use more Magical Game Time in my life. I buy a lot of stuff on comiXology, even though I do pop into local shops to snatch up nice printed volumes for my bookshelf. It’s just easier to do most of my reading through comiXology… although I won’t go near the ‘guided-view’ mode. [Laughs]
- Where do you see digital comics going from here?
More comics created specifically for digital. In the case of Stela, that means all of our comics are created for mobile phones. That is our core belief – mobile is the future. The amount of content (news, videos, emails, chats, games, etc.) that is being consumed on phones continues to grow every year. Comics should be a part of that. But we feel, in order to do that, you have to take a mobile-first approach (rather than trying to adapt printed comics).
- Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
That would be telling! [Laughs] We plan to showcase a number of up-and-coming comics creators in the Stela app. It’s going to be a massive amount of talent, so I’ll just say, watch for it! You can follow us online on Facebook or Twitter.