10 questions about digital comics with Roddy McCance – creator of Tales Of The Fractured Mind
1. Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
Hello, I’m Roddy and I write comics. I guess that’s all you need to know. I like to write stories with an emotional core and a message. My last work was the graphic novel Tales Of The Fractured Mind, an anthology of stories created to help awareness about mental health. I’ve also written short stories for Markosia, Gray Haven Comics, Future Quake Press and other independent anthologies. At the moment I am working on two different projects; The First is the Night Terrors Podcast (http://thenightterrorspodcast
.com/) and the second is Tales Of Fractured Worlds, the follow up to Tales Of The Fractured Mind. TOFW is going to be an anthology of dystopian sci-fi, in the style of Black Mirror, with a social conscious. I’m also developing my small press publishing house, Fracture Press.
2. What drew you to digital comics?
Well, I have been wanting to do a webcomic for a long time, but for one reason or another it never quite happened. I attempted one before and I never really got off the ground. It wasn’t until I started listening to loads of horror podcasts, that I got my idea. I loved the fictional podcasts – I liked the idea of creating these fictional stories and making people believe it was real. Then, it dawned on me – What about a mixed media approach? That’s something I’ve never really seen been done before, so I thought I’ll give it a go.
3. Webcomics or digital comics?
Depends, really doesn’t it? I really like digital comics. I read a few DC and Marvel titles digitally, but I think for webcomics, it can be great to have a website for it, or even WebToons or some other site like that, but promoting it and getting eyes towards it is tough. However, if you have a site of your own, there is no stopping you with the things you can do to supplement the web comic. Whereas with a digital download or for someone just finding your comic on Comixology, that is often it, it’s hard to engage with fans beyond that. I guess it depends what you really want to do. A webcomic probably suits a longer form story, whereas digital is better for mini series’ if you’re an indie creator wanting to get your work out there.
4. What do you think works with digital comics?
I think the immediacy of it works. You can write it, edit it, get it drawn, inked, coloured and lettered and put it together and it can be put out there quickly and you can get eyes on it. It removes the entire printing process, which I guess can be seen as a positive or negative. Digital certainly makes it easier financially for people to make comics and put them out there. I like how your work can be seen worldwide too, there is no publishing barrier and no country barrier. If someone wants to buy you book across the world, they can. I also think that shipping costs kinda prohibit me from ordering a Kickstarter from America or further afield, so having a digital edition is a pretty awesome reward as some Kickstarter’s look incredible, but it’s hard because of shipping.
5. Can digital comics replace print comics?
In some ways yes, in some ways no. For me you can’t replace that feeling of holding something in your hands. In our disposable Netflix world, it can be easy to lose sight that art is special. We consume so much, that sometimes it’s hard to see that we’re reading something powerful. When I was a kid I loved holding a book in my hands, studying the pages and going over the art. Now I can do that digitally too, but for me that it isn’t quite the same. Having a book in your bag, just waiting to be read is comforting to me. I don’t know if digital comics can have the same intimacy. At the same time, there’s so much more digital comics can do. It opens up so many possibilities without the constraints of print. It opens up the art form of what a comic can be in a lot of ways too, so it’s a double edged sword for me. For example, I don’t think The Night Terrors Podcast would work as a print comic, ‘cause it’s a website, comic and a podcast! How do you make that into a print comic?
6. How can print comics work with digital comics?
I guess they have to compliment each other, or else be completely different. I think Marvel offered additional content if you ordered a Comixology version of the print. I think for the big publishers its fine to just do in print, what you offer in digital, but if you’re and independent creator I think it offers you the opportunity to think outside the box. What can you do in digital that you can’t in print. Sometimes limitations are good for creativity.
7. What don’t you like about digital comics?
I think there’s a slightly disposable nature to it, but I could be wrong and it could be a little bit of bias on my part. I think there are loads of amazing digital comics out there, but sometimes the quality isn’t quite there with some so I think with all the opportunities digital opens up, it also might dilute the quality too, but it means anyone can make comics and that’s better than anything.
8. What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
I try to catch up on the DC/Marvel stuff I dig digitally, like Tom King’s Batman. He’s worked with some incredible artists so far and went to corners in the Batman universe. I loved Scott Snyder’s Batman so seeing what King has done with the character is amazing. On webtoons two of my favourites are Darbi and The Strange Tales Of Oscar Zahn. The art in those comics is stunning and I love the premise and tone of each. I try to check out stuff from Comixology Submit too, I read an awesome comic called The Signal written by Kevin Schwoer, with art by Neil Anderson.
9. Where do you see digital comics going from here?
I can’t really tell at the moment, I’m just trying to make a move into the world of digital comics and mixed media. I’m trying to play with the platform and mould it into what I want to do creatively. I’m sure there are so many people making awesome comics out there, it’s inspiring. I think digital comics will be the proving grounds for a lot of creators. I think there is going to be more and more creators doing digital, before moving on to print and then moving on to Dark Horse, Image, Boom and all those kinds of publishers. It gives you a chance to show what you can do and it is (relatively) affordable to produce something of substance. I think with more apps, such as ComicHaus the digital market will definitely expand!
10. Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
Eh, there’s loads of people and if I forget anyone sorry. There’s loads of creators out there doing incredible work. Some on Kickstarter where they offer digital comics as well as print. I think that’s a tough balance on Kickstarter. Some cool projects include Transdimensional, written by my friend Michael Gordon. There’s Gone, a digital only comic by Simon Birks which looks awesome. I love the work of Ryan O’Sullivan too who did a webcomic called Turn Coat and now he writes a series for Image Comics. Then there’s the awesome Stuart John McCune who is making amazing comics with Epilogue, Monologue and The Human Beings. People are just out there making comics and it’s really inspiring. I’m always on Kickstarter and there’s load of projects I’ve backed such as Griff Gristle, The Imaginary Voyages Of Edgar Allen Poe, Prometheus, After The Goldrush, Queen, Skies Of Fire and Comic Haus.