Last night – technically, this morning, around 4am – I finally put my end of the sprawling Marvel Anime project to bed. All four series are now in the hands of other people, to rewrite and expand and animate.
At the same time, a new thing with someone else reared its head, which we’re referring to as Project Blacklight. This is a weird one, not least because we’re going out looking for funding for it first. Once everyone’s up on deck, it’s going to be a short (if intense) job of work, and quite unlike anything I’ve done before. In fact, there hasn’t been much that’s like Project Blacklight. Dunno how much the tools we’re evolving for it will be replicable, so I’m not going to call it "ground-breaking" or anything. But it’s different, and very much of the moment.
As I think I mentioned before, I’ve broken dirt on Novel 2a (the originally intended Novel 2 having been lost in comedy computer death as described briefly here), and will be spending a chunk of the next two weeks working that up to a big chunk of ten or fifteen thousand words to show my publisher that I’m not crazy.
Peering at the reception of the iPad has been interesting. Seeing Xeni do screenshots of IRON MAN: EXTREMIS on the iPad. Seeing Cory excoriate the iPad experience as (among other things) deleting the social element of comics.
I wrote a book about comics called COME IN ALONE, and I entitled it that because (I like the song) I think comics are essentially a solitary experience, and with the continuing reduction in the number of comics stores they become even more a solitary experience. While I get that (say) Marvel comics on the iPad are locked and unshareable and that that isn’t ideal… I think that iPad comics have to be seen as an additional, rather than as a replacement distribution channel. No-one’s going to take your shareable trade paperbacks away from you. No-one’s going to stop you going into your local store and talking to people. But the iPad will reach places that comics shops can’t go. Where comics shops don’t exist. There are not enough comics shops left to service North America, really. I know people who live in big towns there who remain hundreds of miles away from the nearest comics shop. It’s speculated that anything up to three million iPads might be in circulation by the end of this year. Some of those will reach the places unserved by comics stores, reach the hands of people who like comics but can’t sample singles and don’t always feel like gambling ten or twenty dollars on a trade paperback from Amazon.
(Also, indie comics creators will have an additional distrib stream which might help them bypass the hundreds of comics stores who refuse to order their work and get into the hands of the people who want to read them. But that’s a whole other discussion, with its own problems and hurdles. It also ties into supporting experimentation at commercial publishers, which is, again, a whole other discussion.)
(Not that I’m particularly disagreeing with Cory, not at the point anyway. But I think there are more sides to be seen, that are of equal importance.)
And if and when that three million approaches thirty million — or, a little over half of some projections of what the iPhone might sell this year alone — well, that gets kind of interesting, doesn’t it?
You know, if Marvel sold, say, 4000 apps for iPad? That would equal if not overtake the number of physical locations that sell physical Marvel comics.