Thursday, October 28, 2010

Comic books designed for small screens - eReaders and smart phones

I've always loved comics, but the cost of printing, distribution, advertising, and senior management benefit packages make them unviable in today's marketplace. Most comics are between $2.99 to $3.99 for a mere 22 pages. Who is going to pay that other than the comic book addicts? There's no room for the marketplace to grow--at least not in print.

But the eBook movement and the move to smartphones opens up a whole new market and new opportunities. There are no printing costs and minimal distribution costs. Plus, a cartoonist doesn't need a big company to publish anymore, so the senior management benefit packages don't have to take their chunk out. Many people have tried to do digital comics, but none have succeeded very well because of three problems: 1) Pricing, 2) Formatting, and 3) New Content. So I designed a new comic to meet these concerns.

Most digital comics cost either $0.99 (which isn't enough to make them profitable) or $1.99 (which is too much for 1's and 0's with no resell value). To overcome this, I've priced my comic at $1.50, which allows me to make a profit but doesn't soak potential customers.

Most digital comics take existing print comics and chop them up into pieces so you lose everything achieved from panel layout. I've designed my comic to be easily read on a smart phone, eReader, or a computer screen. Yet the comic still has the resolution and detail to look good in print for when I'm ready to do that.

Finally, almost all digital comics are reprints of old comics, not the new comics that come out every Wednesday. So I made mine all new material.

My new comic is called Wandering Koala(TM) rides The Phantom Coach. It's in two parts and a trade paperback, all of which are now available from and for almost all eBook capable devices, and I drew it almost entirely on the computer with Corel Painter X and Google SketchUp 7.

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