Warren Ellis On Digital Comics During Lockdown

We all know about the trials and tribulations that comic publishers are having during this time of lockdown. Diamond isn’t delivering any. 2000AD is able to publish via newsagents and some are still delivering collections and trades. Some companies are still publishing digital-exclusives (for example Action Lab)

There are also independent creators doing their own thing such as Quarantine Comix.

In his latest newsletter, Warren Ellis has some thoughts on the state of digital comics, and what may be coming along. (my emphasis)

At this point, I believe I know one team of creators who are planning a big original digital comics offering for the immediate future. I am, as you know, so far out of the loop in these matters that I can’t even see the loop from here, so I hope there’s a lot more that I’m not aware of.

i mean, I have to assume at this point that most creative people are like me. Even staggering around Friday with jumping blood pressure and a head full of weird loops, i was bursting with new ideas, and by midnight found myself jotting down a project idea on the way to bed.

I also have to assume the Anglophone comics market is not going to come back in anything like the shape it was in two hundred years ago, back in February. There’s going to be a lot of pain points, moving forward. 

The resistance to digital comics is a combination of elements, including an adherence to print object culture but also the small and fairly half-assed nature of current digital comics provision. Print culture will come back from all this. Books always survive, and anyone who thinks otherwise has probably never read one.

Digital comics have a new opportunity here. I’m interested to find out what happens.  There’s a whole audience outside the comics shop network that looks for the new and the different, after all.  So make the things that that market was never going to support anyway, and expand the field of what digital-first looks like.

(He said, as the writer and EP of a show that was never going to be picked up by network television or cable television, but has reached a fourth-season order on streaming, which is by definition digital-first)

I was talking about this with Templesmith the other day.  We both love print books, and book shops and comics shops, OBVIOUSLY, but often the digital space is where our initial audience is.

(I mean, I expect nothing will happen.  But it should.)

Warren Ellis was, of course, writer of the web comic Freakangels, which was an excellent series.
The one thing that we can hopefully get out of this horrible situation is that comics will be more available to everyone – be it in print or some sort of new digital distribution.

Of course, I will try to keep you informed!

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