- Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
My Name is Len Mihalovich. I’ve been a devoted comic fan all my life. In the 90s I created an Indy comic series called Section 12, and the first ever trading card series to promote the work of over 50 different Indy Comics… The Independent Universe Trading Card Set (Series I and II). So I’ve been around comics for a while…If you look REALLY hard you might catch me in the background of one of Kevin Smith’s films or footnoted in one of Stan Lee’s books.
Over the years comics took a back seat to “real life”. Building a home and family became more important than superheroes, words and pictures. Later, when traveling for work I observed what could be dubbed THE most selfish frequent flyer ever. We both took the same flight to the same place week after week for 2 years. This guy wore the same ridiculous tracksuit every week and pushed his way in front of women, children, the elderly and disabled, all to get on the plane first. Still being a writer at heart I started chronicling his weekly “adventures” in selfishness on social media. Each week I got more and more readers, more and more likes, this story was growing very popular. Everyone was saying “you should make a comic book out of it”. Finally I listened and I did. So The Adventures of Track Suit Man was born.
- What drew you to digital comics?
Real Estate. Being a lifelong collector and fan I was bringing home a 6 inch stack of comics every week from the local comic store. I also ran a website that reviewed Indy comics so I was getting just as many in the mail every week. Simple math told me I couldn’t keep everything. There had to be a better way.
- Webcomics or digital comics?
Digital. Like I said I travel for work. Most of my down time that I have to read comic books is where there is no wifi.
- What do you think works with digital comics?
No Limits. Page counts don’t have to be divisible by 4, printing cost is no longer a factor in story length, no Diamond Distribution drama, no printer delays, corrections additions and revisions can be instantaneous. Also you get the feeling either real or imagined that you are level with the largest comic publishers. A fact that brings so many more talented Indy creators out of the woodwork.
- Can digital comics replace print comics?
Nobody wants me to say yes to this. Everyone still has a soft spot for print comics. The truth is for print comics to stay alive I believe there are some fundamental changes that would have to be made. For digital comics to take over completely, there would also have to be some fundamental changes made. This is a huge side-conversation so I won’t go into detail, but it has to do with Economics, Distribution, and Standardization.
- How can print comics work with digital comics?
Ideally I like the web comics that animate with sounds and pictures. We have been experimenting with that. I don’t see web comics getting there anytime soon unless someone could program a nice portable reader to support all that giving the best of both worlds. That being said digital could then be an extension of print taking stories further.
- What don’t you like about digital comics?
As I’ve said about lack of standardization. Readers want to own the stories and not rent them. I think that the big players in the industry has to decide do they want to digitize 50 years of comics in a way that users can download and keep them in a reasonable cost effective format. I think this is a case of the users driving the format. Pdf, cbr, cbz are the dominant formats out there and the larger publishers need to come to terms with that.
- What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
Many of the Old School, mainstream stuff I grew up with is not available in digital format. I really enjoy that. I also enjoy The last Mechanical Monster by Brian Fies and 3 Minute Max by Detonation Films.
- Where do you see digital comics going from here?
Making publishers more money, and encouraging more and more creators to take the plunge. Every comic you put out be it print or digital is a financial gamble. I put out my comic on iTunes, ComiXology, Kindle, Nook, etc. to test the waters. Wasn’t I surprised when sales digitally exceeded the print sales. Initially print sales dominated but a month later the digital sale were (and still are) on the rise. I can always do a comic show and sell a ton of print copies, but the digital age helps us sell a lot more to people we wouldn’t necessarily meet.
10. Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
Oni Press. I think they are an underrated company that does a great job with its digital offerings (better than the big guys in some cases).