One of the greatest difficulties I've found when trying to explain what it is that Dave and I are doing with The Legend of Spacelord Mo Fo, is getting past people's preconceived notions of what a Digital Comic is.
When I tell someone who reads comics that we're doing a Digital Comic, they'll quite often tell me that they've already got a few on their Ipad, or Iphone, etc, and they'll show me the latest digital copy of the latest issue of X-men or Batman, and I have to tell them that those aren't the type of Digital Comic we're doing. This inevitably leads to, "Oh, so you're doing a webcomic?" – and again, I have to tell them, no… even though the Mo Fo is available on the web, and for download. And there's no point pointing them towards somewhere like Wikipedia, where a Digital Comic is primarily defined as a comic produced with digital tools, instead of with traditional pen and ink, with a briefer mention of webcomics and their like. I generally end up calling Mo Fo a 'new type' of Digital Comic, and hit them with a version of the following definition -
"Our Digital Comic is one that has been developed specifically for the digital medium, and uses storytelling techniques that cannot be reproduced in a conventional printed format, yet still keeps to traditional comic principles of telling a story through sequential art."
…at which point their eyes completely glaze over. It seems a fourth type of Digital Comic is a Digital Comic too far.
I'm not sure what the answer to this problem is, beyond the most recent solution I've been using to explain what differentiates the Mo Fo from the other three types of Digital Comic… "It's like 'Infinite', the Digital Comic Mark Waid is doing with Marvel."
We were using the term 'Cinegraphic Novel' at one point, but, in hindsight, that's more of a reference to the cinematic style of presentation we've chosen to tell our story in.
So, I'm throwing the question out there? How do you easily explain the difference between Digital Comics released digitally that retain the traditional printed formatting, and Digital Comics which are produced specifically for the digital medium like 'Infinite', 'Luther', 'Power Play' and 'The Legend of Spacelord Mo Fo'?
Though a digital comic is very different from a web comic, I can't blame the confusion. It happens in print, though not nearly as much, when you say you read comics and people think comic strips (like Ziggy or Get Fuzzy).
It's making the difference between web comic strips and digital comics that's a challenge. It's something that will take time, but they are so different that it will catch on. I think Marvel releasing their Infinite comics will help change the perception, but that's one small step of many.
We're still at the forefront of this, so defining the digital comic won't really happen until there are more out there that aren't just digital versions of print books.
At comic conventions, people come up to me all the time saying "I've tried digital comics, and I don't like em" to which I reply, "let me show you MY digital comic" and then I pull out by iPod and show them Power Play.
That's all the explanation they need!
I've encountered people who were almost angry at me for making a comic that wasn't in print who did complete 180s after I showed them Power Play.
It's always the same reaction too– when they see the first few panels that pan back and forth they kind of nod and say "oh that is pretty cool," then when they get to the shot where the screen fades to blue and introduces Ice Queen they sort of perk up and say "whoa!"
A few more panels later and they're pretty much sold.
Differentiating a digital comic like Power Play from the latest issue of Batman with words will sound a lot like splitting hairs, but one of the brilliant things with digital comics is that they're always with you in your pocket, so you don't need to use words! Show em!
yeah. I would say the solution to having to explain it to potential readers in a pitch that may take too long for their tastes is to just show them. have it on hand digitally so you can demo it right ten and there. show them what makes your comic different. you have to sell them on why they should want your comic, and especially why they should want it in a digital format.
take them for a test drive. don't just tell them about the features, and what's under the hood. C:
April 14, 2012
Yes, I think the key is "show, don't tell"!!
Reilly, that was great. Do you have more issues in the pipeline past #1?
Also (and this can be a question for anyone), how do creators who are not going through an established publisher get their comics on Comixology?
I've noticed this Creator Owned logo appear on a few titles I've checked out. What do you need to do to be eligible for it and how much do Comixology take from the cut?
April 14, 2012
Scrath that question, I've found the retailer site: https://retailers.comixology.com/
EDIT: No, that links not it. That seems to be for retailers wanting a digital shop front, not creator owned publishers.
Does anybody have any info on this?
it's what me and my friend do at cons. C:
we show them.
the playing field is shifting, with the cost coming down on tablets and such, it's making it easier for people to get in to/ and be excited about digital comics.
Glad you guys liked Power Play!
I'm finishing up issue #4 right now, and then it's onto #5 which will be the last one for the time being. #2 will be released sometime next month (probably). I'll let you know.
I got PP on Comixology because I was such an early adopter. Nowadays it's harder because they're just SO busy and only have so much man power. They're hiring new people constantly to keep up with demand.
Eventually they'll be offering software so that people can do the guided view programming themselves (I can't wait for that!), but that's probably a year off at this point.
I'd recommend just keep at them about it, or else getting picked up by a publisher who already has a deal with them. Telling a publisher that you've got plans for a digitally-formatted comic made for iPads can't hurt the pitch process.
April 14, 2012
May 1, 2012
Coming up with a definition now, for what a digital comic is, could be very dangerous. Definitions have a nasty habit of containing things as they establish what is the norm and funnel people into creating only those things which fit that definition. Media theorists David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins have a rather suitable take on the subject of defining new media forms:
"We should reject static definitions of media, resisting the idea that a communications system may adhere to a definitive form once the initial process of experimentation and innovation yields to institutionalization and standardization" (Thorburn & Jenkins, Rethinking Media Change, pg 11, 2003)
As you guys have said showing people is the best way, the last thing we need is a set of established rules or conventions that could stem the creative potential of what a digital comic could be
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