10 Questions about digital comics with Nic Ho Chee – writer of Baadfood #1 – out now on comiXology
1. Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
I’m Nic Ho Chee, the writer on BaadFood, a Sci-Fi comic that was released through Kickstarter last year as both a physical floppy and digital comic. I’m currently working on the second issue of BaadFood, and working up an idea that might get turned into a new Sci-Fi webcomic shortly.
2. What drew you to digital comics?
I love being able to read comics on a tablet, so it was a no-brainer that we would create something which was going to be both physical and digital. If we have a digital release we can guarantee that someone, somewhere will always be able to read our comic if they wanted to, on pretty much any modern digital platform that they want to.
3. Webcomics or digital comics?
I prefer digital comics, as I mainly read them when travelling.
4. What do you think works with digital comics?
Being able to scroll around with pinch and zoom on tablets, and being able to use the Guided Mode on ComiXology is amazing. I love the high definition art I can interact with, being able to access my downloaded comics wherever I am, quickly find a comic without digging through stacks of long boxes, and open at the right page without having to have a bookmark possibly damage my comic. There are a lot of things that just work with digital comics.
5. Can digital comics replace print comics?
No, it won’t replace them. There are format shifts which digital comics will find difficult to cope with, which you just don’t have to worry about with physical comics. What happens to your digital content if your platform decides to stop supporting the range of devices you might have, or their licensing changes? What does ownership of digital comics on some of the main platforms mean in a hundred years say? We know physical comics need to be bought once, and we’ll have them for as long as we look after them, so there will always be people that want that.
6. How can print comics work with digital comics?
I’m hoping in the future that we’ll have a digital copy of comics given away with any physical releases that we pick up from our Local Comic Shops. For folks that are buying digital only, the price should be low enough to accommodate “counterparty risk”, for example that the platform owners might not exist in a few years time, and we don’t own the comics in the same way as physical copies.
7. What don’t you like about digital comics?
Reading a digital comic isn’t the same as a physical comic, you can’t flick through its pages in the same way as a physical copy, and you often don’t own it in the same manner as your physical comic either. I’m not sure we’re going to be able to fix that until we get self-organising Foglet books, in some Sci-Fi future that we may reach.
8. What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
Five of my favourites:
1. Penny Arcade; an irreverent three panels strip, which takes computer, roleplaying, trading card and board games for the core of their comedy. I’ve been reading it for years, and I’m amazed and very happy that they have managed to keep a high quality comic running for so long.
2. Powernap; odd story of a man who needs to sleep, in a future where no one else does thanks to supplements, and his power naps get him stuck in a work evaluation program. It all goes crazy from there!
3. Atomic Robo; a robot made by Tesla becomes a hero for hire, adventuring all the way from the 1920s till today.
4. Sliced Quarterly; an anthology of interesting experimental comics, I picked up one of the early physical packs at MCM Comic Con, and you can download their PDFs from the Sliced site. Packed full of unique takes on sequential art, absolutely worth checking out. Their editor is also the letterer on BaadFood :).
5. The Strange Tale of Oscar Zahn; a supernatural detective with a floating skull for a head, cthulu-esque tentacle monsters, and space sailors, with some beautiful dark art. Tri Vuong, the artist and writer behind Oscar Zahn created one of the covers for the first issue, and his webcomic is incredible, which is nice.
9. Where do you see digital comics going from here?
Probably things like the ComicHaus App, and similar streaming services for comics in the short term. I’m seeing more and more amazing content coming out, there needs to be some better way of discovering great digital comics… it really isn’t easy at the moment!
10. Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
Daniel Warren Johnson, has a new series on Image called Extremity which reads like Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke” with space barbarians. He has a webcomic called Space-Mullet! a full-on space opera which has been running for the last six years, and he has made the step across to physical releases through a major publisher. I enjoyed the first issue of Extremity, and will be good to see which particularly violent path his art takes it down.