1. Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
I’m Joe Palmer, creator of GRIND, an action-comedy/sci-fi one shot which I released in early June as a digital only comic, available via Gumroad. As an artist, I’ve worked for 2000AD (I won the portfolio competition at Thought Bubble festival back in 2015), as well as on various independent projects. I’m currently drawing my next book, and hustling to get more work.
2. What drew you to digital comics?
Shelf space. There are more comics out there that I want to try than I have room for.
3. Webcomics or digital comics?
The format doesn’t matter to me much. If it’s good work then I’m in. Typically I’m not a huge fan of stories that go on and on, so ongoing webcomics don’t grab me so much- but there are notable exceptions to that.
4. What do you think works with digital comics?
The number one thing is accessibility, both in terms of audience and creator. Anyone with a device can read it, and anyone can create a product and put it out there. The endless variety of voices that have a platform to create has got to be a good thing.
5. Can digital comics replace print comics?
I think there’s room for both. I love print, but a lot of the time its space prohibitive to purchase the amount of books I want to check out. For me personally it really doesn’t stand up to holding a physical book in your hands though. Going digital has already happened for pretty much every other form of entertainment, so fighting it by clinging too much to print means that you alienate a lot of your potential audience.
6. How can print comics work with digital comics?
Print is a niche market. The world we live in is digital, whether we like it or not. That’s how people on the whole want to consume media, so the distribution should reflect that. There will always be people that want the print version, but I think the way to go is accessing a larger market with digital, whilst offering the print to the relatively small number of people who want to hold the physical book in their hands.
7. What don’t you like about digital comics?
If we’re talking mainstream comics, then price is the number one issue. There’s no good reason that a digital comic should be priced either at the point of the print version, or even marginally below that price point. It’s literally pricing people (myself included) out of giving comics a try. A 20 page comic shouldn’t cost the same as a game on your IPhone or a decent app. In terms of the format itself, there’s a level of disposability for me that I don’t enjoy. It’s far easier for me to cherish the experience of holding a book in my hands, whereas a digital comic can be dismissed more easily. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. There’s definitely some kind of disconnect going on!
8. What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
Anything new that I have the money for and like the look of! My reading list at the moment mainly consists of stuff from Image/Skybound like Saga, Redneck, The Hard Place and Extremity. I also read lots of French comics, mainly from Dargaud. Books I’m into right now are Les Beaux Etes and Les vieux fourneaux.
9. Where do you see digital comics going from here?
Well one thing’s for certain, it will keep evolving. I hope that publishers open up to wider distribution by pushing digital at an affordable level. It’s a platform that has so much potential waiting to be tapped.
10. Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
Daniel Warren Jonson’s Space Mullet (http://www.space-mullet.com/) was/is extremely inspiring to me. That guy had the passion and the work ethic to keep that webcomic going for years, and is now doing his thing over at Skybound. Go pick up his book Extremity (https://imagecomics.com/comics/series/extremity), which just wrapped up earlier this year. I also just discovered Jake Wyatt’s Necropolis (http://necropoliscomic.tumblr.com/) too, which is gorgeous, and I’m reading my way through it.
Joe was born and raised in Cambridge, but after attaining a degree in Illustration from London Metropolitan University, he stayed on in the big city.
He began working as a freelance Illustrator following university, and has since had comic book work published by 2000AD, The Outrunners, Futurequake and many others.
He is currently working on his own book (TBA) coming in 2018, as well as drawing for 2000AD.
Joe is always happy to discuss freelance projects, and can be contacted directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org