Sunday, May 13, 2012

Flashback Mail Bag

Today, I'm going to reach into the Flashback Mailbag and answer some readers questions:
Question 1. Are you going to make any more comics?

I hope so! As fortune would have it, Gentleman Jerry Hinds has recently had time in his busy schedule to get back to working on his Flashback Two-In-One story. Here's a finished page he sent me the other day (click to see the full size)

So, when we get all the pages completed, I'll begin the process of lettering Chris Sim's script and there will finally be another Flashback Universe comic. :)

After that, hard to say. My perspective on comics has changed a lot since I started Flashback Universe. My original goal was two fold.

One, I wanted to create the world's first comic specifically formatted for CBR/CBZ (digital) format. In that, I was successful. Many of the techniques and transitions Pierre and I pioneered with our original Flashback Comics have since shown up in other comics with Mark Waid doing the best job in pushing this envelope.

Two, I wanted to create a comic that gave readers the same rush they might experience reading their first classic Silver Age Marvel comic. I was really more interested in emmershing readers into a world populated by a myriad of colorful characters than an ongoing narrative. I never really had a long term plan for the FBU, and it shows.

With that said, I still love comics as a medium, and I'm constantly coming up with ideas and helping other people with their projects, so I don't doubt I'll soon be working on something. I just might not involve FBU characters. The one thing you can bet on is it will still retain a lot of the classic bronze age sensibilities in one form or another. ;)

Question 2: What's up with Pierre?
He's been working on a new animation project. As those things run, they tend to work at a breakneck pace which keeps up at all hours. As it is, he's doing good to answer an email here and there. He's also got a new website to help promote his animation and illustration skills which you can check out here:

Fortunately, he managed to squeeze in some time for the Avengers and has written a review which I will be posting Wednesday!

Question 3: What do you think about the current Digital Comics market?

I get the sense that sometimes people are asking this question to see if I feel vindicated that so many of my predictions have seemingly come to pass, but in all honesty, the digital market sort of depresses me.

As it stands now, Comixology, sort of have a lock on the digital market. There are a few (1?) other companies out there but the biggest contender for competition, Graphically, sort of threw in the towel a month ago. To make matters wore, as of last week, Marvel announced they were going exclusive with Comixology. And let's be honest here, with 65 million downloads, Comixology deserves their spot in the sun.

Unfortunately, if you are small independent publisher, I think you're going to find the way their app highlights comics from the Big Guys on their main screens limits your ability to sell your comic. Check out this screenshot. Did Moonstone Publishing have a new debut this week? How would you know?

That's not how I was hoping things would be. I was hoping that the digital age for comics would help level the playing field as far helping introduce readers to new and diferent comics. What it feels like now is a digital version of the Diamond Catalog.

I wanted a world where non-techie types could create a comic, upload it to some marketplace where people could discover it via their interests in similar comics (like how Amazon suggests items for you.)

Well, I guess I can hope we eventually get there. :)

Have a great day!


Trey said...

Ah, good to hear that story is going to get completed.

It is interesting how the digital comics medium is evolving. A lot has changed since you started FBU.

Blitzdawg said...

I think to compete with the "big boys" smaller publishers will have to unite and form their own mega-digital shop. SLG, Top Shelf,:01, Campfire, Oni, Boom! Studios to name just a few that would be good to combine together. They could also offer space to individual artists or projects for a percentage of each sale- talking pennies, really. But it gives the little guy a place to showcase, he/she can maybe even get one of these companies' lables on their digital book, and if it sells, everyone has made a little change for their pockets!

MattComix said...

FBU has been one of the few...perhaps the only attempt I have seen for producing a sincere unironic, non parody, non-deconstructionist, straight up fun superhero webcomic/CBR files that was also completely formatted for the monitor screen. I think one of the big problems with independently done superhero comics is an inability to get past ideas like "what if Superman was a violent asshole?". FBU was extremely refreshing both for this and it's unapologetic embracing of Bronze Age style and approach.

I agree with you about the potential for Comixology to be the digital Diamond. The last thing the medium needs is to march into the digital age only to have a single distributor holding it by the scrotum just like before.

JimShelley said...

@Blitzdawg, yeah, a showcase for up and coming creators and comic titles would be a win for everyone I think!

JimShelley said...

@MattComix, thank you! Yeah, I think too many creators are afraid to dip into the well spring of their childhood comics without adding parody for some reason. Grant Morrison does a good job of using what he's learned about old comics to create new ones.


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