1. Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
I’m Tom Pinchuk and I’ve written for everything from comics to TV, on everything from Heavy Metal magazine to Ben 10. I’ve taken to calling myself a “man of duality” since my stories range wide, from mature readers comics to kids animation. The hope is that my newest project, Remember Andy Xenon?, may reconcile those two polar extremes a little. Haha…
It’s a self-contained 48 page one-shot about a boy adventurer who suddenly loses his powers at 18 and must get used to being a normal guy — having to grow up real, real fast. At the start of the comic, a journalist has tracked down a now-twentysomething Andy for an interview about his past life. Andy desperately wants an answer — what went wrong? — and she just might help him figure it out.
I collaborated with a spectacular artist named Nikos Koutsis and he’s done his best work yet on this. There’s also a whole gang of awesome guest artists who joined in for a really unique faux magazine retrospective in the book that chronicles Andy’s lost adventures and features interviews with other adventurers with varying opinions on him. So, plenty of content for a one-shot!
The comic’s available on Zoop, a really exciting, new comics outfit that lets creators like us go straight to readers. Do check it out!
2. What drew you to digital comics?
As a reader, I can relate to what you say in your bio. Sometimes, where you are at the moment might not have a comic shop nearby, but maybe there’s something you really want to read, right now — and digital can bridge that gap.
For Remember Andy Xenon?, digital was always a format we had in mind. One big reason is it’s very much an international project. I live in America, Nikos is in Greece, our fantastic colorist Eva de la Cruz is in Spain and our guest artists hail from Turkey to Australia. So, if we’ve got a reader who’s interested in the book, but lives in a country with a less robust retailer market, say, we wanted to make sure they can still read the book. It’s basic business!
3. Webcomics or digital comics?
Digital, I think? The distinction between them feels a little arbitrary to me, but I’ll plead ignorance on the finer nuances. If we’re talking about comics designed to be viewed in a browser versus comics that probably ought to be read on a tablet, I think I prefer the latter. I just love the flow of “portrait” layouts, especially with an artist like Nikos, who composes them so skillfully .
4. What do you think works with digital comics?
What works for any format — a compelling story. I realize there are more options for branching narratives and such, but I’ve also found it’s easy to get distracted by bells and whistles. It’s the message, not the medium, as they say.
5. Can digital comics replace print comics?
I don’t think they will, and I wish the discussion of print and digital would have less of a competitive framing. It can be so unproductive.
Any medium’s audience has different segments with varying tastes. Any given brand does, too. Some readers prefer to get a comic once-a-week, in black & white 20-page installments. Others prefer to get a fully-painted 44-page album once a year. Likewise, some fans of a series may like reading it monthly and getting to speculate with friends on what happens next after each cliffhanger. Others prefer to get that same title in a collection later and enjoy it on their own, on their time. One’s not gunning to replace the other, and that’s how I see print “versus” digital.
Like I said, our aim for Remember Andy Xenon? is for it to be enjoyed by as many readers as possible. Do you prefer digital comics? We’ve got the “Cyber Edition” for you. Do you prefer print? We have the “Super Edition.” We didn’t label one the “Regular Edition,” right? They’re complementary formats, not mutually exclusive.
6. How can print comics work with digital comics?
Again, I think they work fine as complements to each other. In practical terms, it makes sense to give interested readers options that can fit their tastes. In addition to digital and direct print order, there’s even an option where retailers can purchase copies in bulk for their customers at a brick and mortar store. So, it should all work in concert together.
7. What don’t you like about digital comics?
Working long hours in front of a glowing screen — writing scripts, answering e-mails, etc, — I’ve come to learn that eye strain is real. When I have leisure time, I’d really rather stare at a printed page than another device (or worse, at the same device I’ve been staring at all day). But that’s just me…!
8. What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
It wasn’t designed for digital, but I very much enjoyed reading the entirety of Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus while on lockdown. This was a good case of what I described earlier where there were 100 plus issues to the series, but I read them somewhat piecemeal because of my own clumsiness as a buyer. That is, I bought the first omnibus edition at a store, then ordered shorter trade collections via online retailers, only to realize they were of a different sorting scheme, so I had to fill in some gaps by buying digital copies of missing issues… very convoluted, but you get the idea. Digital simplified it a bit.
Anyway, Nexus is a favorite of mine. It’s such an idiosyncratic blend of so many disparate elements. Swiftian satire and Wagnerian angst. Superheroes and space opera. I even just backed the latest volume of it on Kickstarter — and got both the print and digital edition, mind you.
9. Where do you see digital comics going from here?
The same direction as comics, in general?
I don’t know. I’m always weary of playing at prognosticator. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics is a huge influence on my work and a textbook I keep coming back to, but I think often about how his follow-up, Reinventing Comics, is over 20-years-old, now. He made a lot of predictions and proclamations in it about where digital comics were going. Then, after some experiments with web comics… he went back to making graphic novels for big book publishers. If a genius of the medium can’t predict the future, then I certainly can’t either.
10. Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
Andy Xenon in the Cyber Edition of Remember Andy Xenon?, naturally!
Some excellent and interesting answers from Tom