Okay, listen up troops:
This past weekend at Small Press Expo (SPX), I earned the Ignatz Award for “Promising New Talent” based on my short story “Ghost!” from House of Twelve Monthly #3.
For those of you that don’t quite know, House of Twelve Monthly is an exclusive digital comic published by Cheese Hasselberger’s House of Twelve group via ComiXology. This weekend made a little piece of comics history—this is the first major award given to an original digital comic (non-webcomic)
And it’s only going to get bigger, but ComiXology’s got to stop hiding the books! Without using the search function, can you find House of Twelve Monthly in ComiXology’s store? Without having me or Cheese tell you explicitly, would you even know that this anthology existed?
We’re not unreasonable; we know that DC Comics brings in the lion’s share of ComiXology’s business. But I’m starting to get the impression that they actively don’t like indie comics, and that they don’t like us. I say this because we cannot get our issues approved. House of Twelve Monthly has become House of Twelve Semiannual. Only two issues per year, seriously? House of Twelve is losing artists because they’re not seeing their work represented the way they were told that they’d see. We can’t even get simple business email replies from ComiXology. This is after being invited to ComiXology’s offices for a full demonstration/information session about their then-new technology. Ever since DC Comics and Marvel signed on, ComiXology forgot about the dozens of independent creators that it courted when it was looking to swell its client ranks.
I’m not being dramatic here. ComiXology is the sole distributor and retailer of House of Twelve Monthly, the digital comic anthology. House of Twelve Monthly proudly operates in the tradition of EC Comics’ MAD, Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science; the tradition of Zap Comix and Weirdo; the tradition of 2000A.D. and Heavy Metal. We are a periodical comics publication exploring the beauty and the ugliness of the world through grotesque imagery and merciless satire. Our ranks include Miss Lasko-Gross, Kate Lacour, Dave McKenna, Cheese Hasselberger, Fred Nolan and the unholy Victor Cayro (banned for life from Apple+ComiXology for being too extreme).
The beauty of digital entertainment is that it does not have to be run in the style of resource-scarce tangible entertainment. There’s room for everybody. There is always room for everybody. When you go into iTunes, for example, there isn’t a problem with Lady Gaga drowning out your favorite metal band. There are clearly delineated genre pages, with the interests of each genre being well-serviced and promoted in those contexts. There isn’t a sense that there’s a limited amount of space and resources and too bad for you if you’re not the biggest genre on the block. But ComiXology is showing us more and more every day, that the world of digital comics (pattered after digital music, specifically iTunes) is being handled as though resources and space were scarce and that the distributor and retailer (again, ComiXology is BOTH) were unable to accommodate all but the biggest blockbusters. Now you don’t need to be an expert in digital marketing, and application-based media to know that this notion is completely preposterous.
For all of you indie cartoonists and comickers out there, digital comics can be a godsend. I urge each of you to push forward into exploring your digital comics options to expand your reach beyond what your print resources would reach on their own. But let’s put our collective foot down and make certain that our work is carried with the full support of the distributors and retailers in the digital marketplace. We must not allow digital comics to be even more limiting and obscuring than print comics have been in the past.
If anybody has questions about Digital Comics, please participate in the #DigitalComics search-tag on Twitter and if you choose, you can include me at the user name @darrylayo. I will be there for you.