Warren Ellis On About Digital Comics

A Collection Of Rambling On The Subject Of Digital Comics

I’m talking with various publishers about digital right now — mostly in a conversational, advisory way — and the one thing I’m trying to impress on everyone is that digital comics revenues are going to stay small for as long as everyone treats digital comics stores as back issue bins. While day-and-date digital releases of print comics is going to help with that, it won’t help enough on its own. It’s going to be the combination of day-and-date AND original digital material that drives the use of these services. (And remember that digital comics aren’t tablet-bound, all these services have web ends too.) And, further, original digital material should not and probably CANNOT be bound to the old model. Forget monthly release patterns. Original Digital Comics — Digital Original? — I need an acronym like my OGN, Original Graphic Novel — could drive people to these services fortnightly or even weekly. And they don’t have to be 22 pages or 20 pages or whatever the current print standard shakes out at. And the price, so far as I know, only has to end with a 9. I’m okay with, say, 10 or 11 pages a fortnight at USD 0.99. Or maybe even 8 pages a week at USD 0.79.

Two points:

1) Say seventy-nine cents a week for 8 pages. That’s about one-third the amount of content for about one-third the price what a classic print comic book is. Hm, so we’re back to the three bucks an issue thing?

2) Original digital material as extras would help. It would push the audience to digital, but also sorely piss off the obsolete stores.

Two other points:

1) I’m not the core fan audience, so what I think probably doesn’t matter.

2) Leaving out eInk devices with eInk screens might not be wise. Why pass up that potential audience? But including eInk would be very difficult. Is this where things cleanly differentiate between color and monochrome?

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