Injustice: Gods Among Us – Thoughts on Deathstroke

With Slade’s Injustice reveal earlier this week, there are only three characters from DC vs. MK that haven’t made it into the roster yet – Captain Marvel, Darkseid, and Lex Luthor. NetherRealm, please please please give us Captain Marvel! Anyway, while I may not be the biggest fan of the merciless mercenary in the DCU, his Teen Titans counterpart was pretty darn awesome and his inclusion in this isn’t that much of a surprise. From what I’ve gleaned from the reveal trailer Deathstroke’s going to have some of his old tricks along with some cool new jazz, so check it out!

In the previous game Deathstroke sported a sword, handgun, and some bombs. In Injustice he’s looking a ton more lethal with a big bad assault rifle that appears to double as a grenade launcher. I have a feeling that his special button is going to switch him from standard punch and kick normals to sword attack normals with added range and damage, ala Wonder Woman.

It looks like he’s got a host ranged specials (anti-air :17, 44, horizontal :23) and a variety of sword normals/specials (:29, 45). It also appears that when it comes to manipulating the environment he’s going to be in the “gadget” category like Batman (:27). And his super move? Absolutely brutal. I love it. We haven’t had any of the NetherRealm guys break down Slade’s skill set yet, but I have a feeling that he’ll be more of an “in your face” brawler with a sub-par, but annoying, ranged game he can fall back on. Only time will tell.

I’m gonna work on a little Green Arrow write-up next because for some reason Olly’s really looking sick in this game. I don’t rightly know why… Anyway, stay tuned gang!

Unlimited Highlights: The Future Foundation

Unlimited Highlights: FF

 

This week, to coincide with the awesome Matt Fraction and Mike Allred FF #1, Unlimited Highlights is blasting off with five issues to clue you in on the new team. My favorite issue this week? FF #1 (2010). Why? Because it sets the stage for Inhuman drama and the return of Black Bolt in issue #6.

If you haven’t picked up FF #1 yet, I highly recommend it. It stars two of my favorite Marvel females, She-Hulk and Medusa. Any Inhuman action is good action. Matt Fraction’s writing is top of the line while  Mike Allred’s art is out of this world, perfect for a Fantastic Four book. Plus, there’s one particular panel that I absolutely love, She-Hulk puffing a little hair out of her eye before throwing a devastating haymaker. I’m sold.

An Awesome Digital Comics Interview With Graphicly’s Becky Jewell

Right before the lovely Thanksgiving holiday Becky Jewell, Graphicly’s comic book guru, and I had a nice little talk about Graphicly and their awesome digital publishing services. For anyone who’s been keeping track, all of the individual creators I’ve been interviewing have worked with Graphicly to some extent, so if you’re thinking about diving into the self-publishing comics scene, keep reading, Becky lays it all on the line!

I Speak Comics: Hey Becky, so for those readers that aren’t aware, Graphicly is all about helping creators publish their books digitally. You got your start in comics, but now you’re looking to make the jump into the larger book market. What sort of options do you offer?

Becky Jewell: We have three major services that we offer to both established publishers and indie creatives.

1. Our free service puts books on our web store at www.graphicly.com/store as well as our game/app on Facebook. Creators have full power over deciding how their books are priced on our store, and they can also panelize books as they choose, which offers fans an elegant reading experience.

2. Our second-tier service places books on Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and the Nook. This service is our $150-per-book model, and it also includes the free option as well.

All we need is a PDF, and we convert this PDF to epub files which are compatible with these major three marketplaces.

3. We also offer an app-creation service which develops an app ‘shell’ which houses a series of books or issues. Readers can subscribe to these apps and the newest issues will be automatically delivered to their device each month.

The Walking Dead on Graphicly

ISC: With regards to your guys’ services, can you tell me which is the most popular?

BJ: Oh gosh, our most popular that we do the most sales from it would probably be our middle service, with a tie of highest sales between iBookstore or Kindle Fire. And web – web would be up there for very popular series, like The Walking Dead.

ISC: Well I’m really interested in the independent comic creators, the guys that don’t have a big back catalog of their own work, what can you offer these new creators?

BJ: Our model has shifted across the years. We used to offer a Graphicly app which was available on Android and Apple devices, and comic fans could purchase indie books through it.

But since our model shifted to the epub model, what we offer now is instead of having indie creators on a tiny app called Graphicly that nobody knows about, creators can have their book on Amazon and they can have it on Barnes and Nobles’ Nook, and the Apple iBookstore.

Some indies were a little bit recalcitrant about the whole epub business in the beginning. They were asking, “Why don’t you have an indie app? Why aren’t you catering to indies more?” and now I think that indie publishers are beginning to understand the benefit of having their books on these large platforms. It’s good for many indies because it puts their work right in the comic book section of Amazon, placing their books right alongside big titles.

Part of our day-to-day jobs at Graphicly is taking care of indie creators, and at the same time taking care of larger titles from DC and Image. That’s the benefit of our services – everyone is given the same distribution powers. I think that some independent creators have been a little bit hesitant about it for some reason. It may be because it can be very hard to sell that many books to recoup our initial conversion cost.

ISC: When creators decide to publish through your Ebooks service, the step up from web publishing, which platforms do you send it out to?

BJ: Well the big three are iBookstore, and that’s on i0s devices –  iPad, iPhone- and that’s very popular. I didn’t actually realize how popular it was until we started using it. Then there’s Kindle Fire, Nook from Barnes and Nobles, a Canadian reader called Kobo.

ISC: And do customers get the web service connections as well as the eBook markets? Because it looks like the Web Service actually hits some markets that the eBooks doesn’t.

BJ: Yes! Our web service is always free and it’s actually covered under the eBooks conversion process. So unless someone absolutely does not want their comic on the web for some reason, that is always part of the package.

The web service makes books available on the web and through a widget that can be embedded anywhere. This, as you may be able to guess, covers a lot of marketplaces.

ISC: Now let’s talk about the apps. I’m a little confused on what you guys are offering. I imagine that this “branded experience” is actually, instead of people going to a Graphicly app that no one’s ever heard about, they get their own app that no one’s ever heard about.

BJ: That’s quite on target, though it all depends on how you market yourself! I think that it’s very hard for indie creators to develop the app and then have people find it because the way to find it on an Android device or Apple Newsstand, where it’s housed, you have to search directly for it. So, if you’re looking for an indie book, you have to know the exact name of the book in order to find it. It can be advantageous for some creators who have a lot of fans, or especially ravenous fans.

The app model works best for larger pubs or pubs who market widely. For instance, we publish The Walking Dead through its own app and Game of Thrones has its own as well, and both of these titles, which already have huge followings, definitely benefit from it, gaining large subscriber bases and fan follows. It’s a very elegant experience, and a lot of our indie creators who have purchased it really seem  to like it, I just think that it’s a little difficult for some people to search for the apps and find them correctly.

ISC: Now this is interesting, you mentioned Game of Thrones, now doesn’t Dynamite publish those books? What’s the relationship between Graphicly and Dynamite? Wouldn’t they just have their own Dynamite app?

BJ: Some of these comic book publishing companies don’t have conversion houses that convert their pdf or digital files into epub files, which is a very difficult and finicky process. We’ve been doing it for a year, and it takes a team of 20 of us all day every day to figure it out.

That’s our service. That’s our model and that’s what we do for people. I think that companies like Image and Dynamite might open their own conversion services within their publishing house, but it would take a lot of technology, time, and a lot of specialized web developers, which we have, and we’ve grown over the years. It’s very specialized work.

ISC: What do creators think about Graphicly? Have you gotten any specific feedback from your clients?

Becky Cloonan’s Wolves

BJ: One person who really understood our model is Becky Cloonan. She’s an awesome artist and she’s used our model and our service to distribute a few of her smaller books through the web and epubs. One of her books on Graphicly, Wolves, has done well.

We have creators like Becky who really do understand what we’re trying to do and they take one look at our service and they’re like “I get it. This is valuable to me.” Additionally, they’re able to use our conversion tools and they can modify the experience of their own artwork. They can take their comic book and put it in our system and sort of orchestrate the panelizations and the sequence of the reading. We allow our creators to take full responsibility and full directorship of that. A lot of creative people really enjoy that.

ISC: A lot of creators use your services, maybe not to make money on their comics, but to create a space as a sort of online portfolio. I’ve talked to creators who see Graphicly’s web service as essentially a marketing tool. How do you guys feel about that?

BJ: We definitely have noticed that our webstore is more of a promotional tool than a sales tool. I think what’s helpful about the webstore and the service being on the web is our tool allows them to see the analytics and the breakdown of sales through each platform. Creators can take a look and notice that they sold 4 books on Kindle Fire, 3 on the Nook, and 7 on the web. I think that’s a useful tool as far as testing the waters for their fanbase.

What many creators may end up doing is discovering that they have a large digital followership and then they’ll print their book, or use the Graphicly web book as a tie-in with a Kickstarter campaign. More and more creators of ours seem to be saying: “If this book is successful on the internet and I can get enough people to like it there, maybe it’ll be worth printing, or worth sending on to Amazon.”

ISC: How do you feel about digital comics as a medium? Where is it going?

BJ: Well for Graphicly, we definitely see digital comics as a niche genre that’s allowed us to move into publishing books in general online and through eReading devices. I think that the comics experience, digitally, is very fun for many people. I think a lot of people enjoy the digital social experience around comics. It’s just fun! However, there’s still the part where comics fans enjoy the retail experience of comics – actually going in to a store, flipping through books, chatting with that weird comic book guy. You know.

Where I see it in the future? Right now, ebooks are often seen as a mostly supplemental source of income for publishers who have successful hard copy books, though this isn’t always true. Books in general have been selling a lot on eReading devices. Just recently, ‘hardcover’ books on Kindle Fire outsold the same books in brick-and-mortar retailers. This year was the first time that ever happened. Even though comics are niche, I think they can get to this point as well. And that is very exciting.

There’s also enhanced reading experiences on the horizon for comics. We’ve already seen motion comics and enhanced books, but I think there is a huge opening for enhanced comics on ereading devices to be explored.

ISC: We have our comics on Graphicly, but where are you guys going? I know you started in comics, but with digital books growing by leaps and bound every year, are you looking to move more into that market? Is there any commitment to the comic creator crowd?

BJ: I think while we have a deep commitment to the comic book fanbase and world, we are definitely moving toward the larger book market. But what our widget, what our tool is good at doing, is managing images through the web, and orchestrating an elegant experience of large areas of artwork. Naturally, we got our start in comics, but we’re looking to move on to children’s books and cookbooks. We look at novels occasionally, but again, our tool was built from comics and it manages images beautifully. It is made for art, and it makes art look fantastic.

Our company is very very dedicated to comics – we love comics, our sister site is iFanboy.com, and many of our employees who have been here since day one don’t know much about the larger book world, but we are excited to branch out into new territory.

Our CEO is very progressive with how he thinks about the future of our company. He sees us moving toward providing conversion services for the larger book world, and really just helping creators with distributing any book, anywhere, instantly. We don’t consider ourselves to be a competitor with Comixology. We’re for everybody and all kinds of books. We are sort of a whole new animal, but we got our start in comics and we are endlessly grateful for that.

Becky Jewell is the queen of public relations and customer support at Graphicly.com. You can follow her on Twitter @beckyjewell and she’s got some incredible art on display, and for sale, at her website

Talking Comics With Toronto Music Maven Sara Simms: The Future Prophecy

This past week I was lucky enough to talk to Sara Simms, a champion of Toronto’s music scene. Just recently she and her sister released The Future Prophecy, a vision of a post apocalyptic future where evil record companies harness the power of music to control the masses. So how did a DJ get into comics? Well you’ll have to read on to find out!

I Speak Comics: First off why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background, you’re a DJ right?

Sara Simms: I’ve been DJing for over ten years professionally, and have a background as a hiphop/battle DJ and turntablist. About five years ago, I was inspired to begin playing techno and edm, and decided to change my DJ alias.   Since then, I’ve played around the world, and rocked in Japan with fans.

Sara Simm’s Super Heroic Alter Ego

ISC: Tell us a little about The Future Prophecy.

SS: The Ancient Prophets of the Underground foresaw a Great War written in their Score of Infinity.  It would be the Final Chapter of Man.  They created a blank score, on which a new future could be written by The Chosen One…

The Future Prophecy takes place in Toronto, after The Last Great War.  Bogtown Records, an evil musical corporation are using negative sound waves to control the city’s population and create their mutant CACU army.  Decklyn Dubs, a technological wizard knows the time has come to find Sara Simms, the Chosen One who must pass the musical tests that lie before the fabled The Future Prophecy.

ISC: What motivated you to create a comic? How’d you get into the comic book world?

SS: When I returned home from a tour through Berlin, my sister Melle and I wanted to create a new project that combined together music, art, DJ culture, technology and an epic story.  Melle has a real passion for graphic novels, and had ideas for the main concepts in the story.  We began to write The Future Prophecy, and based our characters on DJs and musicians who we encountered in Toronto’s vibrant music scene.

ISC: Why did you choose to publish through Graphicly as opposed to other services? Why go digital instead of print?

SS: I liked the fact that Graphicly catered to independent graphic novel and comic book creators, and offers distribution to major retailers like iBookstore, and Amazon.  I also like their Zoom feature, which allows you to look at each panel of a comic individually.  We chose to publish digitally, as our world is moving towards a mobile-based society, and this has impacted the way we read and purchase literature.

ISC: In your eyes what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of digital comics?

SS: You can read them on your mobile device or tablet anywhere.  A graphic novel that is well designed looks stunning on an iPad.

Sara’s Partner in Crime – Melle

ISC: What are your plans for The Future Prophecy after Arcanum? Do you think the book will ever make it to print?

SS: We are planning a launch party for the series on Saturday December 1st at The Mod Club, which features the DJs and musicians from the graphic novel performing as their superhero and villain characters.  After ‘Arcanum’, we plan to release the second issue; and continue the story for our readers.  All of the forthcoming issues of ‘The Future Prophecy’ will be accompanied by a song composed by the story’s characters, intertwining our story with a rich musical soundtrack.

We just published a print version of ‘Arcanum’, which includes additional bonus pages, and character development sketches.  It’s available for sale here:  http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/432438/follow and will be available on our website, http://www.thefutureprophecy.com. The first issue is available for iBookstore and Amazon Kindle as a free download: http://www.thefutureprophecy.com/read/
http://graphicly.com/sara-simms-productions/the-future-prophecy/1

ISC: Anything you want to say to fans?

SS: Thank you for reading and supporting The Future Prophecy.  If you enjoy the story, please keep checking back in with our website for project updates.  You can stay up to date with us by following us on Twitter and Facebook.  The journey is just beginning…
https://twitter.com/sarasimms
Http://www.facebook.com/thefutureprophecy
Http://www.facebook.com/djsarasimms

Right now The Future Prophecy is giving away cool free prizes in a Sweepstakes…prizes like a Pioneer DJ DDJ-WeGo, a Play Records prize pack, Audio/Video Courses from Witz Education and tickets to our Official Launch Party. Enter to win here: http://on.fb.me/SIbv9u  Hurry, our Sweepstakes close on Nov. 27th!

If you enjoy The Future Prophecy, please share it with a friend!  Tag us on Twitter as #tfp

You can find out more about The Future Prophecy at its official website – http://www.thefutureprophecy.com – and be sure to check out Sara’s official website – http://www.sarasimms.com – for more music madness!

Unlimited Highlights: Legion

Unlimited Highlights: LegionLast week’s Unlimited Highlights was gearing up for this week’s appearance of Legion in X-Men Legacy. David Haller’s been a hero and a villain, but unfortunately with his multiple personality disorder, sticking to the side of angels or demons is pretty darn difficult. If anything you’ve gotta head over and read New Mutants #2, which has gotta be one of my favorite issues starring Legion ever. Plus you gotta give it up for Dani’s straight chutzpah, ready and raring to take David down sans powers.

I’ll leave you with this incredible Legion cover for an upcoming issue of X-Men Legacy. Drink it in folks!

Talking Digital Comics with Frank N. Stein’s Ed Dippolito

Next up in I Speak Comics’ Talking Digital Comics series I got a chance to talk to Ed Dippolito, the big brain behind Frank N. Stein, an original series whose first issue just hit the digital marketplace through Graphicly. Ed agreed to share his thoughts on the world of digital comics, his own experiences in the digital realm, and how Graphicly helped get him where he needed to go.

I Speak Comics: What motivated you to create a comic? Is it a hobby? Do you want to make it a career?

Ed Dippolito: First and foremost, I like to tell stories. I always knew I wanted to tell stories for the rest of my life yet I was always unsure of the medium I would go about giving birth to these ideas. I contemplated between film, animation, novels and even video games as a possibility to tell these stories. Yet the one thing I knew I wanted from the beginning, total control, which is something I may have had to compromise, was I to take one of those “grand” methods. Then one day my brain subconsciously raised my hand and whipped it across my face which somehow implanted the obvious. Comics! Since I could remember comics were always a part of my life. I had a great amount of respect for comics, which were often the source of many great movies, video games, television series, etc. I knew starting my own comic entirely by myself was going to be hard work, but if it meant I solely have the control I originally sought after then I would gladly take on the challenge.

I am finally getting the chance to tell the stories I’ve always dreamed of telling. No, it is not a hobby, I have big plans to take my comic, FRANK N. STEIN to the limit. Which means the amount of time needed to work on it is quite demanding. When I first started the comic I was working as an Animation Director in New York City which was also very demanding of my time. Realizing that I could never fully devote the amount of time I felt necessary to the comic it became aware to me that were I to truly make this dream happen a choice had to be made. I decided to take the risk; I quit my full time job and began the path to FRANK N. STEIN.

ISC: Why did you choose to publish through Graphicly as opposed to other services? Why go digital instead of print?

ED: I chose to publish through Graphicly after reading an article about the company making a change. They decided to shut down their comic app and instead focus on getting self-published comic creators seen. After reading that article I really respected the Graphicly team for such a genuine approach to helping us indie guys. Whereas most of the other digital publishing services seemed to handle things the way Graphicly used to, by having to purchase books through their particular apps. I also read a lot of forums and Graphicly had a really good reputation and seemed to be the number one pick amongst the community. That in itself spoke to me, if you ever want honesty, head to a community forum.

There will never be anything like holding a fresh, store bought comic in your hand, and originally I always saw myself going the print route, but there were just too many pros to going digital.  The most important being cost efficient, which of course is a huge thing and I really didn’t want to start out in debt. Another pro being the amount of ease there is to the whole procedure. All I have to do is upload my files and let Graphicly do all the work. Then there is the “Graphicly Dashboard”, which keeps records of important things, like how many times your book has been opened to even a monthly sales report. I can also appreciate the fact that Graphicly is connected to Facebook and Twitter, which I believe creates a huge convenience for anyone interested by allowing people to share and comment on your comic. All contributing factors to help you build a bigger audience!

ISC: Which path did you choose to publish through? Web, Ebooks, or Apps? Was it cost effective? Are you seeing any return on your initial investment?

ED: I published through both Web and Ebooks on Graphicly. It had only cost me $150.00 to publish the entire issue which is now being reviewed by those particular ebook carriers. Compared to what I’d have had to pay going the print route, it was absolutely cost effective. As of now I am only seeing little return through the web on the Graphicly App while the ebook is being reviewed.

ISC: In your eyes what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of Graphicly? Digital comics in general?

ED: A major strength of Graphicly that I’m quite fond of is that once my comic is on sale through the multiple ebook carriers, the potential amount of audience I’m able to reach out to is massive. As well as once it’s live there is no mention of Graphicly any longer, you are put on the ebook market and you have full control over your product. Although I believe there are some things that could be changed in order for me to have a slight bit more control over my comic and it’s pricing. One change being I’d like to be able to gift my comic to anyone I choose, say a family member or friend that I’d like to show my comic without having them buy it. I also would like to be able to advertise within certain channels and provide a promo code or something to help give an incentive to possible begin reading my comic. Not to mention I wouldn’t mind a slight tweak to the interface, the way it is now is a bit messy while navigating around.  Other than that I have to say I believe Graphicly to have a fantastic thing going for them and I thank them for their efforts in helping me get the chance to make my story heard (or rather read). Indie Comic creators are really getting a great opportunity to break out on their own and get to do things on their terms.

Like I said before, there will never be anything like holding a store bought comic in your hands and physically turning that fine, crisp page onto the next and continue to unveil the story. Maybe it’s the link to my child hood that brings great memories each time I read a new comic or just my personal belief. I believe there will always be room for the printed comic but for many people the thought of going out on their busy day and to the comic shop to purchase a comic just seems inconvenient. Let’s face it, we are in a digital age and we all need to embrace it. With tablets and smart phones being on us at all times, convenience is at the touch of our fingers and I can appreciate that.

ISC: Did you ever consider making Frank N. Stein a web comic?

ED: For a second, but quickly disagreed the thought. I knew from the beginning I wanted FRANK N. STEIN in the traditional comic format.

ISC: Do you plan on publishing more books through Graphicly? In your opinion, could being a digital comic creator become a career? Where do you see the future of the medium?

ED: As of now, yes. I’m still in the very beginning stages with Graphicly so it’s a little difficult to answer. Overall I’m happy with their service. I suppose I’ll have a much better idea within a couple of months because there’s no doubt this is going to be a slow start. Comics are a business and just like starting up your own business it takes a lot of persistence and patience.

I do believe being a digital comic creator can be a career. Large publishing companies were necessary years ago when individual comic creators were unable to broadcast on a mass scale, but that time is over. With the internet and Grapichly’s service they are allowing you to do just that, reach the audience you need to let them know you exist within the vast sea of comics. It rests entirely on your shoulders to advertise and do whatever needs to be done to turn this business of creating comics a career. It’s going to be extremely difficult but is it worth it? My answer, absolutely! For the chance of telling my story I’ll throw everything I’ve got towards that goal.

I believe the future is very bright for digital comics. With tech developers creating devices that fit our personal needs on every level, more and more people will own these devices which in turn do nothing but help us creators reach that many more people. I believe this is only the beginning of the digital comic frontier, there is much more room for improvement and there is no doubt in my mind we will see some great things from people who’ve got wonderful stories to tell.

Ed Dippolito is a comics creator and mastermind behind the new series, Frank N. Stein. You can follow him on Twitter at EdDippolito and be sure to like the Frank N. Stein Facebook Page too!

Talking Digital Comics with Dimented Realities’ Michael Koch

Michael Koch, creator of Dimented Realities, took some time out of his undoubtedly busy day to answer some of my questions about his work in digital comics. Obviously head over to his site and check out his work, which you can purchase through Graphicly, as well as through the iTunes Store, for your Kindle, and so many other handy digital devices.

I Speak Comics: What inspired you to start publishing your own comics?

Michael Koch: Thought my comics were different and would have real difficulty getting in with a publisher based on past experience. They are neither hipster or superhero-ish so there is no clear cut market for publishers to get their head around. And not all people like my style or sense of humor…. Instead of altering my approach for some kind of shot at being published, I took the opportunity I saw with Graphicly to self publish and keep my vision intact. It also helps that I work as designer by day.

ISC: Which digital comics service(s) do you use? Why?

MK: Graphicly. It was all set up in a way I understood  to help  get me started. And on Apple & Kindle, the main markets for self published digital comics, getting on those 2 stores is pretty streamlined with them. Would love to be on Comixology since the great design of that app helped propel digital comics much in the same way iTunes did music.

ISC: What appeals to you about the digital comic medium?

MK: Freedom & quality of imagery. Also that it doesn’t have the burden of making it in a store one month in print form or figuring out websites. The ability to self-publish in color is something that isn’t common in print form for independents due to the costs. remember there’s a lot of black and white and two-color books out there. And not all by choice. Besides colors looks great in digital. Like many, I see Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in a new light because of digital. Back when i was a kid, that stuff looked very washed out and antiquey due to faded colors & printing. Now one realize how badass these guys were now that the color and inking sharp .

ISC: Do you see digital comics as a career or a hobby?

MK: A good career, 6 months out of the year and live anywhere in the world if I can get paid for it. I have other interests too- fine art painting, design, some business. Not paid for it yet but working towards that goal.

ISC: In your opinion, does the digital comics medium offer financial security? Might it in the future?

MK: Depends on the public. Even big names in the big two or Image would be reluctant to jump in digital comics all way. Its what you make of it and for the public that buys comics to give the best stuff in digital a chance, that’ll take at least a few years. Also comic news are pretty focused on DC, Marvel & Image and maybe a few hits from Valiant. They could make a difference or put that kind of exposure on non high profile stuff isn’t in their DNA yet. Marvel, DC and the like get a lot of free and adoring press. It just smothers everything else being done out there to compete and have any kind of chance.

ISC: Why not web comics? And if you have done web comics, what is the difference between the two?

MK: I have done web comics since 1997, comics since 1991.  I switched to eBooks because the tech was there and I had no success with the web. I was also very impressed with what I saw on Comixology.  I’m social media shy and my comic is not an easy sell or a really marketable concept. Also a comic is truly finished when you publish it in an ebook. On the web, how you show it and trying to monetize it is an ongoing tortuous technical puzzle that never ends. I don’t see it going anywhere far besides as promotion and blogging. I know. I’ve tried and failed over and over. I’ve been trying to show the same comics on the web over a span of years and it became anti-productive to my process. I am thankful in a way because my efforts to show comics on the web helped get me started in my design career. It’s how I make a living now

ISC: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of digital comics/the digital service you use?

MK: Strengths:

Anybody can do it if they get their act together but its serious work.. Also, another thing that  never gets mentioned, digital comics are a great house for IP of your ideas in a legit, legal way with an ISBN and everything. Having an idea on a website doesn’t mean its published, an ebook means it is. I learned that dealing with the copyright office. A main attraction for me.

Instant data and longer shelf life for comics like mine. But if tech is not good, you’re stuck. Right now for me,  the jury is still out on Graphicly but they have a super nice staff and helpful tech support there. Also if the medium levels out the playing field one day, the best quality books may win and be technically on par with the ones that have the biggest backers.

Cons

This move towards promoting on social media is more of a reflex of the times and works in spades for some. But I still think you have to learn to advertise and be steady if you are going to stay around. It’s own tortuous project. Its like what happened to independent film, cheaper and easier to make but you’re just lost in the mountain of stuff competing against each other for some attention, the little 1% left over from the big guys who can easily cross promote on their hits but have more overhead and pressures to succeed. You can make a movie on an iphone these days but the independent film movement looks pretty much dead now as opposed to when it was harder to make a film in the 90s. Too much stuff too sort out and distribution is now the expensive part. Best option these days for independents seems like making something wacky or viral on YouTube now to get views.

One easy question to put it in all in perspective, do you or anybody you know ever watch the Sundance Channel? Might be the same for self published comics.

ISC: Have you ever published print comics? If so why did you make a move to digital?

MK: No, I would like to have something in print but digital works for me just fine now. Digital was my only gateway into the medium and being as legit as possible on a small budget. Beside that, the biggest reason I published my two comic books is that these were a collection of stories and characters that I shaped over 20 years that I was proud of. ( little older than you bro)   I’ve had most of them published on the web for about 15 of those years at dimented.com, later dimentedrealities.com . Kind of unrecognized and unprotected as I struggled to make my web comics work website-wise in whatever free time I had. And  trying to be a fine artist as well while doing it.

But for me, there was one  2-page story I had out there for a long time on the web called  “The Street Gangs of Malibu” made in 1995, then I heard about  this movie “Malibu’s Most Wanted”…made in 2003 and a few alarm bells went off. Also I made a character “1978 Man” in 1994 and Austin Powers came out in 97-ish. Not accusing them of anything and I know the movies are different, easy for a few people to be on same track with ideas. But still, I was a bit concerned if that if it wasn’t the case in other scenarios, I would feel screwed and helpless.  I wanted all this work I did over the years to be protected and legit somewhere. Found out the web wasn’t that somewhere…..

Spoofs and satires are fine but I have original characters too and they could easily be mined in a web search. No character is popular yet but I think a few have some real potential. When ebooks, the iPad and  Apple as an ecosytem came along for real, the math was easy even though the effort was hard. In a nutshell,  I’m am so glad I’m not sweating it on the web anymore….Digital comics are superb that way.

Michael Koch created Dimented Realities in 1991 to express his writing and storytelling through comics. He is a classically trained painter, artist and self taught cartoonist. He is also a graphic and web designer. Michael lives and works in New York City.

You can check out his online portfolio, which features his graphic and web design work as well as some of the cartooning to be found in Dimented Realities, at KochGraphics.comHe’s done some fun Batman stuff too. He also has some beautiful paintings for viewing and sale at Kochart.com and every week he features, critiques, and comments on art from a variety of mediums at ArtxArt.