Hey Kids, Comics!

Been giving more thought to the idea of a digital comics line. The recent debut of Chris Roberson’s Monkeybrain Comics, joining the ranks of Mark Waid and John Rogers’ Thrillbent, shows that the digital field is growing. Despite my post earlier this week where I lamented the hectic pace that results from my desire to “DO ALL THE THINGS!”, this really is one of those things that I keep coming back to, so I’m fairly sure that I’m going to give it a shot at some point, and most likely sooner rather than later.

What follows are a list of Guiding Principles that I would keep in mind for any digital comics project:

  1. All Ages: Not dumbed down, not “kids stuff”, but say a Bronze-age level of writing, able to be read by, say, a 43-year old comics fan (ahem) or a reasonably bookish 12 year old.
  2. Full Use of the Format: As Mark Waid as pointed out, “the world is widescreen.” Use the space given by the digital format, and the tools available that are distinct to that format, rather than just porting print to screen. For an example of the sort of thing I’m talking about, check the Artist’s Annotations version of Cthulhu Calls over on the Thrillbent site.
  3. More Positive Handling of Gender and Race: Role-model-worthy characters from all races — actually reflecting real demographics. Women who are built like athletes (Like this, or this for example), not porn stars.
  4. Each Issue Is NOT 1/6th of a Story: I’m tired of the collection-focused pacing of modern comics. Every issue is somebody’s first, and they deserve a story. You can have arcs, sure, but somebody should be able to jump in at any point (remember the old “as seen in last issue — Smilin’ Stan” editorial comments that would tell you what you need to know?).
  5. Cheap Entertainment: The fact that this is digital means that there’s already a barrier for entry — a fairly expensive device (phone, tablet, or computer). There’s no reason to compound that with high prices. Plus, I want to see a return to comics as impulse purchases. When I was first buying comics, they went from 30 cents to 75 cents an issue. Now they’re 3 or 4 dollars. If they stuck with inflation, they’d be somewhere around $1 to $1.50, which seems to be a good target to me.

So what about you? What would you want to see — your Guiding Principles?

3 Replies to “Hey Kids, Comics!”

  1. I’d say that continuity (or rather, a shared world) is a foolish goal, and has been handled ad infinitum by the major comics companies. Let series stand on their own.

    Also, don’t be afraid of the mini-series. Better to write a nice finite series with a definite overall story arc (comprised of chapters that can stand alone, of course), than just keep going indefinitely.

  2. One of the reasons why I reread Nextwave recently is that it’s really good about keeping arcs to two issues and a decent recap on the “plot” that was missed. I wished more comics did that instead of writing for the trade.

  3. @Jason: That’s a really good point. The shared worlds of the big publishers also occurred organically, they didn’t set out to build them that way. I see the efforts of new publishers to launch from a shared continuity to be the same phenomenon as the fantasy author who gives you the massive, detailed world map — for a story that takes place in a single kingdom.

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