Mike Gagnon is co-creator on Almighties and he gives us 10 answers to 10 questions on digital comics!
- Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
A lot! Gearing up to color issue 5 of The Standard for ComixTribe, Doing some ghost writing for a novel, scripting film and commercial, also working on a noir graphic novel called Skidsvill, I’m doing everything on that script, art, colors, letters, and planning our next Almighties comic!
- What drew you to digital comics?
Digital comics have become prevalent because it releaves a ton of financial burden on the creator. It’s a great way to test something out to see if there is fan interest before investing money in printing. It also gives you a chance to play around and experiment with fun new ideas withouthaveing to make a huge investment of time and money into production and schedules. The technology is advancing so much every year thatthere are really no boundaries for artists to create their comics and get them seen by potential fans. The web is the key to gettingyour work out there.
- Webcomics or digital comics?
Both. Each one has its strengths and weekness. If you want to prodice a webstrip or page at a time and serialize it, post a new strip each week and get readers to follow you, returning to your website for the newest instalment each week. That’s what web comics achieve. Now if you want to collect those strips and sell them online, or you just want to produce an original graphic novel and release it to the public on a limited budget, digital comics are the way to go, making it available for readers to download and putting a little extra coin inyour pocket for all the time and effort that you put into it.
- What do you think works with digital comics?
I think I covered a lot of that in the previous question, but to add to it, it lets you reach an audience that is interested and willibg enough to try out your comics at a price that is affordable and less of a risk. It let’s the creator know if there is a market for their work before spending thousands on printing.
- Can digital comics replace print comics?
At one time I would have said no. There is always that initial hurdle that people have just become accustomed to the tactile feeling of holding the comic on their hands. However I think that is changing and I think the two formats will continue to evolve. Personally I’ve moved further and further into digital comics for a few reasons, I am out of space to store floppies and books, but I still want to read comics. Also many digital editions are cheaper than the print counter-parts, so I can follow more comics with the same budget, more bang for my buck. I think you’ll find comic READERS (my category) will start to embrace digital more and more where INVESTMENT COLLECTORS will focus on key issues, which will drive up the demand and retail values of the most sought after print comics.
- How can print comics work with digital comics?
DC has done a lot to push the digital format by releasing same day and offering print and digital combo purchases. Marvel has included free digital download codes on some of their big event books. These things will continue to grow, as the market grows the big publishers won’t want to lose a chunk of that market or rely on digital resellers and have to give them a cut. On the flip side, someone who fids they have a hit web comic or digital comic that’s getting a lot of attention and readers may find that it is worthwhile to collect or print those comics for print readers, in order to reach those readers who are interested in their work, but are not yet comfortable with digital formats. It may even help land them a gig with a publisher or get the interest of a publisher to produce a print version of their book, letting the publisher handle all the printing and promotion expense.
- What don’t you like about digital comics?
Not much. As I said, I’m embracing it more every day. The majority of my comics purchases are now digital. I think if we had one standard reader that would be good or if an existing program such as Acrobat could work as a simple reader with no work needing to be done on the part of the buyer. A format that could zip files, but open easily without the reader having to know how to and do the work of decompression or reassembling the pages in acrobat because they don’t have the proper reader. Maybe just making PDF a standard format, although then there are rights issues, so you’d need to make water-marking easier etc.
- What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
All of them LOL. Anything new form the big two (or four) I’m reading digital now. I’ve even gone back and started replacing my collection of back issues with digital editions where possible and where budget allows. It lets me free up some storage space and allows me to sell off those issues to others who are looking for them or give them to new readers and let them enjoy them the way I did. As I said I’m a reader, not and investor, yes I do collect, I have since I was five, but it’s the stories that matter to me not the value. It’s great to develop a symbiotic relationship with dealers, retailers and investment collectors who may want to buy those issues form you as you replace them with digital. I’ve also often donated appropriate print comics to children’s charities and non-profit organizations who deliver comics to military service persons in the field.
- Where do you see digital comics going from here?
Everywhere. I think with the advent of technology your comics will eventually go everywhere with you in a portable format. The iPad is like magic now. 80% of my work is produced digitally now and at least half of that is right on my iPad, wherever I go. I can use Adobe Ideas to produce panels and concept sketches on the fly, even save them to the Creative Cloud or send concept sketches to clients in a very user friendly format.
- Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
Besides me and Sam on the Almighties? LOL There are a number of great comic creators out there. I enjoy Jon Adams work on “Chief O’Brien at Work” which can be found on citycyclops.com, Lar deSouza has a really nice art style that I enjoy greatly which you can see at www.lartist.com. Battlepug is fun and; if you can find it, any of Andrew Foster’s stuff. There are lots of them out there and half the enjoyment is in the search. Also, you can find lots of a great comics at www.thealmighties.com and the respective websites of the creators at www.mikegagnon.ca and http://samjohnson-comics.blogspot.ca. Wink, wink.