Comics Creators

Digital Comics


If they can survive but it requires $4 per issue then is there a right to gripe about prices? Should the comic just be canceled if it won’t go to $3 per issue to satisfy some fans?

For me Art isn’t something you can define like a can of soda or a packet of crisps. Most art won’t pay for itself, it has no way to. But the world is much poorer without that art - we need culture and art and dance and music in as real a way as we need nourishment, shelter and companionship (it’s just got different consequences). And we need new art all the time, we need to constantly create and invent - art never rests.

Occasionally a piece of art can be a commercial success that revolutionizes an industry and pays for itself in scales never imagined. But to get tht one Harry Potter, we needed dozens of small press young adult books because that’s how art works - lots of small failures and one massive success.

Last month 266 indie comics were published. 5 sold more than 20,000 units - the basic threshold for ok salaries for the creatives involved. 2 Millar books, 2 BKV books and Walking Dead. Every other single independent creator therefore should consider shutting down. And in turn it’d shut down the comic stores and the industry itself.

Marvel released about 80 new comics last month. ~50 of them sold more than 20k units, meaning that Marvel subsidized 30 books running at a loss to make that art available for the public.


The world is poorer without art, but we can’t demand that everybody in the world pays $4 for a piece of art just to enrich the world’s culture. Well, we could – we could tax the people and have all art state sponsored so the artists never have to struggle again. But I suspect most people would object to that. I’ll say it again: capitalist society.

So, again, it comes down to artists appealing to enough people at the price they need to ask. Very few comics appeal to me enough to pay $4, and to be honest dropping the price to $3 or even 99 cents isn’t going to make them any more appealing. It’s nothing to do with the idea that asking .99 “devalues” the product, because at the moment the product has zero value to most of the potential audience. People who curently think it is worth $4 aren’t suddenly going to smack themselves on the head and say, “It’s only worth .99, why didn’t I realise?”


But, they demonstratably do say - this isn’t worth $24, but I will pay $1 for it. That’s what is happening here.

And, furthermore those of us who did value it at $4 an issue, only to realise that we can now make a 95% saving on the same material, will no longer value it at $4 an issue afterwards. You would be insane to do so.


Which should be remembered. I think the reason this has been noticed is that huge discount. There have been plenty of 99c sales of issues since Comixology started selling big 2 books 7 years ago. Plenty of half price trade sales too, this is every new trade at 96% off (or thereabouts).


You feel like a sucker. Anyone who orders the trades or bought the floppies feels like a sucker. Stores who inventory these books feel like suckers. It’s reliant that digital and print are different markets with little cross-pollination, but I don’t know if that’s the case given the small size of the comics buying public.

Why buy any print book if you think you’ll get the same story for a tenth of the price in a few months? This kind of action is deeply troubling.


If you didn’t think it was worth the cover price, there are apparently plenty of places you could have acquired it for nothing. So presumably you did think it was worth $4. And the only thing that has changed is that somebody else now thinks it is worth less than you think it is. Why are you listening to those people? Don’t let Marvel dictate what you feel! If it was worth $4 to you, it’s still the exact same material, and you know it’s worth $4, no matter what they say!

If I walk into charity shop and see one of my favourite books or albums in there for 50p (it happens often), I don’t go home all depressed and burn my copies. I still love them! I still think that limited edition Storms Over Still Water was worth the £20 I paid for it, I’m not a sheep who lets other people dictate how much I should like it.


Do they feel more or less of a sucker than they did when they could have got the same material for effectively nothing on Marvel Unlimited? If you like Marvel and you don’t mind digital, you’re a sucker for ever picking up a floppy, and have been for the last few years.


Can I just ask who feels like a sucker for sending @mattgarvey1981 £3 for The Devil in Disguise when he’s now made it completely worthless by giving it away as a pdf? I mean, screw that guy and his worthless comics, right?


(Just to be completely clear in case the sarcasm wasn’t obvious enough: I still think TDID is worth at least £3, no matter what dumb Garvey says.)


I think what Matt is doing is very different though. He’s trying to bring attention to his work and has been clear that he mostly hopes to break even on this stuff right now. If that is what Marvel is doing, there’s something incredibly broken.


That’s not what I’m saying, David. And I think you know that.

There’s a huge difference between buying a brand new book, day and date, for 95% off and buying the same book months or years down the line. You cannot equate the two.


Matt loses money on every single comic he sells. He’s been pretty clear that he doesn’t earn anything, and that he’s doing this to pursue his dream, akin to training or a college course. If Matt actually needed to rely on comics for his income he wouldn’t be doing the things he’s doing. He’s a perfect example of a starving artist.

I believe Marvel Unlimited has had an adverse impact on their sales and it’s why a) DC hasn’t done the same and b) why DC appears to be gaining share.

If Unlimited had a better interface, and had even more recent comics available it’d utterly devastate the comics industry.

I assume David is being stubborn here. This exact same scenario is playing out in all media, and the adverse impacts of digitization are readily forecast-able and apparent. This is like climate change, there’s really no place for debate - the numbers are already in.


It’s like you guys are all talking about like I’m not in the room…


No, being completely honest I don’t know what you’re saying if not that. And:

No, I’m not, I’m being completely honest about how I feel, and I’m struggling to understand why everybody else doesn’t feel the same way. If you paid $4 for a Marvel comic, then either you believed it was worth $4 or you were incredibly stupid. And if that comic was once worth that to you it’s the same comic, and you shouldn’t care what Marvel say.

Why are people having problems with this? Seriously.


Well now that you’re here…


Ok, maybe here’s the disconnect in the way we view it. Because I don’t care how old the stuff is that I read, it’s still the same material, it’s not going to “go off”. I never go to the LCS on a Wednesday, often don’t go in for a month or more, and miraculously the comics they have put aside for me still seem new. If you feel differently then I can understand why it would be a problem for you to wait (though I still don’t understand, intellectually or emotionally, why you feel differently).


Yep…i lose money making comics…
It’s tough…it’s getting tougher…but I’ll keep making them:
As long as I can
As long as it’s still fun.
Yep…I give them away…because there is no point having comic if no one is reading it…plus a free Pdf goes a long way…most people who read them for free still buy them too…


To me, and I assume many other “Weds Warriors” there is a value timeline.

A single comic purchased on publication date cost $4/ 20 pages; and I am willing to pay that for a finite number of comics, for the immediacy of that read.

I would not, however, be prepared to spend the same amount on the same comic a few months or years later. As there are many, many cheaper options available to me. Collected editions, Marvel Unlimited, digital sales, and so on.

This type of sale undermines the former (and will eventually impact the latter too), by giving me a cheaper alternative on publication date (or very close behind - I may love a comic enough to pay $4 for it this week, but there are precious few that I am not prepared to wait a few weeks for in order to get a 95% discount).

This will reduce how much I (and others like me) spend day & date. It’s inevitable.


Because essentially without the perception of value and readers willing to pay $4 for comics the industry dies.


This isn’t in keeping with free-market values - products are worth what people are willing to pay.

Similarly, a UBI would make art more available as artists wouldn’t need to rely on income from art to continue producing.

Just snapped up the Hulk: Visionaries collection on Comixology for $0.99. And the discounted BWS Weapon X collection.

I was going to too (even though I have the run in floppies) but this collection has some random newer stuff included.