Seattle Interactive Conference, or SIC, is in town October 28, 29, and 30. My first impressions are that this is a very cool place to be for whatever your creative bent. Case in point, a presentation I just enjoyed put together by Jack Conte of Patreon.com. I include a quick sketch I did during the session. Conte has a great way with people. He makes you feel like he’s a friend with a really cool idea to share with you. And, well, that’s basically what he turned out to be. He is the founder of a new crowfunding platform for creators who release digital content and that could be just about anything, music, video, and even comics.
Patreon is unique. You can think of Kickstarter to get a frame of reference but then quickly move on from that. With Patreon, your patrons pay what they want to receive your content one piece at a time. If you are a musician, well, then it’s one song at a time. And so on. What’s really cool about this model is that creators and patrons find the right fit in a whole new way and everyone wins in the end. How do musicians and other digital content providers earn money today? Check out Patreon.com.
Be sure to check out the Seattle Interactive Conference. Visit them here.
Becky Cloonan is a masterful cartoonist. She has a very loose and confident line that comes from years of love and practice of the comics medium. Ink gets in the blood and, like a painter, you’re always ready for your next chance to put brush to ink and paper. Becky Cloonan adds another short story to her Ink and Thunder presence at ComiXology Submit with, “The Demeter,” which runs 31 pages, and you can purchase for only 99 cents here. It is supposed to be the third and final book of a trilogy. While all three books under the Ink and Thunder umbrella are not related, they all share a similar spooky vibe.
Cloonan’s love of ink is infectious. She keeps creating opportunities to dive into that ink. Her artwork is gorgeous and her stories are platforms that allow that artwork to flourish.
That’s not to say that the stories aren’t compelling in themselves. Having read the three books she has with ComiXology, “Wolves,” “The Mire,” and now, “Demeter,” all three are very impressive, and even poetic, horror stories. Cloonan is a pro and she’s managed, over the years, to tap into some quality storytelling chops. She’s as good with words and she’s with artwork. “Demeter” runs very smoothly and naturally. At its heart, it’s a simple little story told with elegance and nicely paced. It’s a cautionary tale warning you to be careful about what you wish for.
Like Paul Pope, you get that unique view from one person as artist and writer. The words, the story itself, comes that much closer to the art compared to a team of artist and writer. That’s just how it is, no matter how closely a team works together. Only you know exactly how to scratch that itch. You can see it on the page.
“Demeter” is far and beyond well worth the price of admission. So, if you haven’t already, you definitely want to go ahead and get the other two books, similar in size and same price point. Just visit ComiXology here.
An odd little old gentleman proves to be very entertaining in this week’s releases from ComiXology Submit. “Short Hand #1” is a breath of fresh air. The main character has star power even if he can barely reach for the stars or just about anything else for that matter.
Meet Oscar Lindstat. He is one big ball of mischief and that has landed him a twelve-month house arrest. He’s 80 years old but he can still give the likes of Lindsay Lohan a run for her money. At the start of our story, “The Toothless Fairy,” we find Oscar is two months into his arrest and he’s triggered a visit from the sheriff and a deputy for tampering with his ankle monitor. Oscar looks sickly and vulnerable but surprisingly spry.
Sheriff Sumner looks worn out just looking at Oscar. That’s why he’s brought in backup, Deputy Woods, who is being lured into making Oscar his very special responsibility. Little does Sumner or Woods know that Oscar never gave up solving crimes and a little ole ankle monitor sure isn’t going to stop him for long. Thanks to crisp writing, by Jason McNamara, and engaging artwork, by Rahsan Ekedal, we quickly buy into the premise.
This comic has a sharpness and confidence to it that serves it well considering that you have a subject that you would suspect to tread along slowly. Yes, Oscar doesn’t move all that fast but this is definitely one of the most quick-witted comics you’re going to come across. “Isn’t it the little crimes that matter the most?” asks Oscar. It’s not a concept that resonates all that well with Deputy Woods. But maybe the guy just needs a little time to figure out what matters the most.
“Short Hand #1” is 25 pages, priced at $1.99, and you can check it out at ComiXology here.
Among this week’s ComiXology Submit releases is “Hell’s Brew #1” with this synopsis: “This is not your history…but it is your nightmare! Double-crossed and kicked in the dirt, Gabriel Garcia is out for revenge. He’s looking for the man who killed his brother come Hell or high water…but there ain’t no water in the desert!” Now, that’s a good kind of crazy to start with.
This 18-pager, priced at $0.99, is full of the stuff you’d hope to find from something this far on the edge. Liggett takes it to the limit but he doesn’t fly without a parachute. He’s laid down a solid foundation. The first page gives us a fine scenario: an alternate America, 1968, where the power grid has gone berserk and the Southwestern region is all but forgotten. Electric cars are dominant. For kicks, the lost kids create gasoline-fueled hotrods. They race all night through the forgotten desert highways.
Gabriel has just been let out of prison and this dead-ender is pissed off! Somebody killed his brother! He’s going to knock heads until he finds his bro’s killer and then he’s going to…kill him! I love it. We really cut to the chase with an unambiguous mission. Of course, there will be side trips, detours, and maybe even some romance, along the way but we’ve got a confident cartoonist behind the wheel to see us through. The art is sharp and the plot is priceless. We’re off and running.
There is definitely more going on here than just an action-packed adventure in some crazy wasteland, although that already sounds like plenty.
Visit our friends at ComiXology. And check out the first issue of “Hell’s Brew” at ComiXology here.
“Secundus” is another one of those spare, and seemingly simple, works of comics with deeper levels running through it. Mike Thomas wrote and drew this story about a gladiator who, on the day that he should have earned his freedom, the court magician, eager not to lose the emperor’s favor, hathces a way to interfere.
Giving it a careful read, I found this to keep to a slow but steady pace. There are enough little clues to future developments to keep me interested. It would be unfair to write this one off, especially since it clearly has a wider scope in mind and we’re only 32 pages into it.
The cover, and the synopiss, got me. For only 99 cents, you can check it out for yourself at ComiXology’s Submit, a new platform for emerging comics talent. You can check out “Secundus” here.
This has been a huge week in the evolution of digital comics. Not only did DC Entertainment release its much appreciated dedicated app for its line of Vertigo Comics, this is also the week that Dark Horse Comics made its line of comics available for Nook and Kobo readers. There is a recap on the Dark Horse news at the end of this post.
And, of course, all this news is timed for the release of iPad 3!
So, where does that leave the casual comics reader who has yet to make a significant leap into digital comics? Just a quick look at an Endgadget review from last November, which may seem to some like a million years ago, we see that even the most savvy reviewers are still figuring out what lies ahead in their comics reading experience. The Great Recession rages on so that will drive some people away from comics altogether while it may not have any effect at all on some and, for still others, it may drive them to escape with even more comics reading. Anyway, if this economy is taking any bite out of you, you may not even be considering a new iPad 3. But would you consider an iPad 2? At $400, that’s going to be someone’s sweet spot.
Or maybe you’re down to deciding between the less expensive but not necessarily lesser devices: a Kindle Fire or a Nook Color. Now, that could be interesting since the Nook Color’s price has dropped to $169 and that may be even a sweeter spot. Right now, as I’m not special and part of the 99 percent, I just don’t feel totally ready to buy any new gadget. But, whether it is gifted to me, or I finally save up, I do plan to get something this year.
If you’re down to deciding between a Kindle Fire or a Nook Color, then you don’t get to enjoy the Vertigo app. But, overall, if you’re a DC Comics fan, then the Fire makes it easier for you. And if you’re a Marvel or Dark Horse fan, then the Nook makes it easier for you. I understand that the Nook actually has the best screen to view with even when you factor in the retina razzle dazzle of the iPad 3.
For my money, and my true enjoyment, I don’t see print ever being fully overtaken by digital. At the moment, I already get to read a lot of PDFs as it is on my trusty desktop or on a laptop. But, for all those moments on the go, like waiting for the bus, which you’ll never get back, or leisure moments like reading in a cafe, for all those valuable moments, some gadget is definitely handy. I have an older model Sony eReader and, I have to say, it has easily paid for itself in more ways than one. I’m sort of sorry that Sony isn’t exactly a high profile player in the digital comics wars. Anyhow, honestly, I am finding just reading a good book to be the most satisfying thing most of the time. Currently I’m reading “Moby Dick.” I highly recommend it. For one thing, if you are new to it, it’s really not like anything you might expect. I just discovered from our friends over at Star Seeker that Timur Bekmambetov, director of “Wanted” fame, is determined to harpoon the classic into an action movie. No, this novel is far more epic than an action movie and yet as down-to-earth as any worthwhile independent film. I believe Herman Melville’s mighty work will not go down without a fight and will leave Bekmambetov bloody for his efforts.
This is the Dark Horse news regarding Nook and Kobo:
ComiXology, a leading source for digital comics, has redone their Web site. A lot of interesting changes going on over there. ComiXology is a big player in the brave new world of digital comics. Where are we headed with digital comics? Who is reading digital comics? Well, keep an eye on them, if you haven’t already, and let’s see how things develop in 2012 and beyond.