It’s no secret that we love digital comics here at Pipedream Comics and we hope that comes across in every post we put on the site. But what about the rest of the comics world? Well, this week we are set to launch a fantastic new series of guest columns where some of the finest writers and artist from the world of digital comics tell us just why they love them. We’re going to start this off with a true digital pioneer, publisher of Aces Weekly the ‘world’s only digital art comic’, David Lloyd. A writer, artist and digital publisher, he also happens to have worked on a little book called V For Vendetta back in the 1980s, so knows a thing or two about the whole world of print too, but what is it about the world of digital that he loves so much?
Why do I love digital comics when I grew up and fell in love with great comic art on paper – and that special smell of print on paper that all those who were similary seduced are familiar with, whether it be from the newsprint British weeklies or US comic books, or for me, especially, the texture, quality, and beauty, of the superb printing and paper of something called Boy’s World, with its astounding centre spread of Wrath of The Gods (my strongest inspiration ), which had its own particular smell of new printed paper adventures? I can still remember what that was like – a wonderful memory.
One of the reasons is because digital is ours. It belongs to us – or it should. We can make it and put it on screen for the whole world (publish it) and take in the money from it if we want to sell it. These days we don’t have to make deals with someone who has resources, in order to pay printers, distributors, shippers, or retailers to put it in front of a wide public – a deal that usually involves giving them a chunk of it. Small print press things of course can be owned completely by us – and we don’t have to give any part of those away. But small press is small – and doesn’t cover the territory the internet can cover. And putting comic art on screen incurs minimal cost and effort as opposed to the cost and effort the smallest run of printing imposes on us – plus mailing out of copies, etc.
Of course the drawback of a thing on a widely-seen screen being entirely ours is that it can be entirely everyone’s – and if your intention is to sell it somehow, and it ends up being free to everyone, it’s not a good result. Whatever you do you’ll never be able to guarantee escape from uninvited someones claiming the right to access your work because you put it out there, as it were a book you’d put down on a table. So we own it, but owning it we have the responsibility of it, which can be a burden.
“It belongs to us – or it should – we can make it and put it on screen for the whole world”
Another good thing about digital is we have no printing problems – no repro house and personnel we’re not in control of. We just do it and scan it, or, if it’s an entirely digital art product, just move it. The screen gives it luminescence that you can rarely get in printing. And you can correct things much easier, upload a different version in a trice, edit, stretch, bend.
Another thing is we can make it BIG. We can shove it on an internet-ready plasma tv or plug it into one via a tablet and enjoy the art at a size at which the art can be better perceived for the power it has. I feel one of the reasons comic art hasn’t been valued as much as it should be by the public at large is because it has always been SMALL. Lichtenstein – the famous art thief – saw the power of what great craftsmen had produced in this medium and blew it up to show people how impressive it could be, and made a lot of money doing it. Now, we can do that as well, and hope to impress and spread the word in a new way to those who may get a fresh viewpoint on how effective our medium can be through this means of demonstrating its strength.
I have left ‘motion comics’ out of this list of good reasons for loving digital comics. I do this not just because I don’t like most examples I’ve seen of them, but because that particular way of telling a story using digitalised comic art has too many variations in its forms – is an unsettled form of expression without firm ground for specific classification, so can’t be called digital comics in the purest meaning of the description : i.e. comics but digital.
But I’m certainly happy to present work that’s allied to motion comics in Aces Weekly – the digital comic art magazine that I publish. We’ve featured work from four great creators, who’ve used a time-delay facility in their storytelling on screen which can only be produced via a digital means of delivery. Mark Wheatley and Jeff Vaughan’s, Return Of The Human, and, Phoenix, from Jimmy Broxton and Guy Adams, are terrific uses of motion comic technique that never look like attempts to escape into a completely different form that depends for its strength on the motion rather than the comic, as I feel most other uses of motion comic technique I’ve seen do.
Can I just end this by saying that Aces Weekly has its first birthday on the 30th of this month, and I want to thank Pipedream Comics for being so supportive of us during this year, and to say thanks to any of Pipedream’s visitors who may also be our subscribers for being the backbone of our existence! And if anyone reading this is not a subscriber, please help us reach a second birthday – we really need your help and your custom at www.acesweekly.co.uk! And you won’t find a better bargain anywhere.