Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin have released the first instalment of a new comics serial as pay-what-you-want digital downloads. It comes in PDF and two standard comics-reader formats, in English, Spanish and Catalan versions. The page size appears to approximate half of a European comics-album format page. That gives the landscape orientation you see in the image above, falling in with what seems to be the new standard in a certain wing of digital comic. I wrote a bit about that last year.
They’ve set up shop at Panel Syndicate, with the strong suggestion that, should this first episode go over well (and five minutes after I tweeted the link this morning, their PayPal back end seized up from transaction velocity, so I’m guessing they’re okay), they’ll be doing more projects through this portal.
There is no reason why any number of comics companies could not have been funding, facilitating and producing this kind of original creator-owned comics work on the net two, three, five years ago. There is no reason why any of them could not have been absolutely bullish about driving this –- except that they just didn’t want to. So it remains something that happens in fits and starts, done DIY by the creators.
Brian would tell you that he is absolutely not leaving comics publishers behind, I’m sure. And, you know, he’s clearly not. Except that any of the publishers he works with should have come to him with this distribution idea two years ago, because it’s that fucking obvious. And because they didn’t, he and Marco had to do it themselves.
Brian and Marco suggest 99 American cents for this first, substantial episode of THE PRIVATE EYE – a social science fiction story about privacy, with a classical detective-fiction engine. But pay what you want, if you like the sound of it. (I gave them a fiver.)