July 21, 2009 / Brad Guigar Portrait / Photo by Bob LaramieCartoonist Brad Guigar knows a thing or two about web comics having been producing them since 2003. Starting with Greystone InnPhables, and relationship advice strip Courting Disaster, he has been producing weekly comic strips for over a decade, but perhaps his best-known work is the brilliant web comic Evil Inc, which is set in the offices of a company run by villains – the aforementioned Evil Inc. Mixing brilliant jibes at superhero culture with the inanities of modern office life, it’s monthly anthologies are available on DriveThru Comics and will soo be available on ComiXology, so we got in touch with Brad asked him for some tips on the best way to run an evil conglomorate.

LoveBros_PinkHeart_NEWWith love in the air this Valentines Day, what better way to celebrate than with the aptly titled The Love Brothers from Aces Weekly, written and drawn by Marc Hempel. The Love Brothers is Marc’s first foray into the world of digital comics, having worked on books like Mars, Blood of the Innocent, Greogry and Tug and Buster in the past, but we think this brilliantly quirky new title could be a real stand out for Aces going forward. So here’s a quick introduction to the world of The Love Brothers and it’s creator…

markwaidHaving written some of the finest comic stories of all time (Kingdom Come, Flash, JLA, Daredevil, Superman), superstar comic writer Mark Waid turned his back on print in 2012 and declared his allegiance to the world of digital. Over the past 12 months he has established himself as the true godfather of digital comics, thanks to the launch of Marvel’s Infinite series, but also with his creator owned web portal Thrillbent and its lead title Insufferable. As one of the most high profile advocates of the brave new world of digital publishing we asked Mark the secrets to a great digital comic and where things are heading in 2013?

TheLegendOfSpacelordMoFo-Episode01One of the great things about our digital comic of the year poll was that it enabled comics creatives to get together and share their love for digital comics with each other and champion their favourites. As well as discovering the fantastic Aces Weekly, our attention was also drawn to the brilliantly titled SpaceLord Muthaf**ka (aka SpaceLord MoFo) from Aussie writer Pat McNamara and artist David G Williams, aka the Ironclad Imagineers. Inspired by the likes of Mark Waid’s Thrillbent website this digital only title was initially released in bite-size chunks via their own site, but as of this month is also available via DriveThru Comics as an interactive PDF – or rather digital cinegraphic novel.  Best viewed using a PDF reader that allows you to cycle through the pages, it brilliantly mixes the interactive elements of books like Powerplay and Insufferable, with the motion elements of Madefire and adds in a politically incorrect Aussie attitude for good measure. So what kind warped minds could come up with such an outlandish concept, we contacted Dave and Pat to find out.

Zombies-Hi-1Proof that digital comics is the great democratizer comes this week in the form of Northern Irish zombie anthology Zombies Hi, from Uproar Comics. This self published digital only title features a brilliant mix of zombie themed stories supplied by writers and artists from the Derry area alongside a main story written by Uproar co-founder Danny McLaughlin with artwork from fellow co-founders Kevin ‘Gio’ Logue and John Cambell. By basing their stories in and around the Derry area it  gives the book a fantastic localized feel, and so makes much more distinctive than dozens of other books which follow in the shuffling footsteps of the Walking Dead. 

Double Barrel is a fantastic comic strip double header featuring the latest work from talented cartoonists Kevin and Zander Cannon (no relation). Not content with the lead time required to publish their books separately, the Cannons joined forces with the brilliant Top Shelf to produce this monthly digital title. Not only containing their new strips Heck and Crater XV, its also packed with fantastic articles on how to succeed in the comics business and how to motivate yourself to become a better writer and artist. It’s like reading a fanzine or an old style mini-magazine and is a brilliant way to keep your audience up to date with your latest work. Plus, at 69p for well over 100 pages is an absolute bargain. We got in touch with Kevin and Zander to ask them just where the idea came from and why we should get excited about this double barrelled double act.

The latest book to be launched by digital publishers MoonShot Digital is comic strip Grunts by Jeff Martin. Jeff made his name with web comic HEAT, but for this new outing he has combined his love of comics with his history degree from the University of Alberta to create a unique view of a fictitious civil war, based loosely on WWI, from the point of view of those unfortunate enough to be involved. But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom, there’s still some jokes and plenty of explosions along the way! We got in touch with Jeff to ask him where his inspiration for the title came from and just how difficult is it to come up with different ways to have people failing to smoke in the rain!

Grunts 1 cover from MoonShot Digital

This week sees the release of INFINITY the first magazine dedicated to digital graphic novels and comics. Produced by publisher Russell Willis and the team at Panel Nine (who we interviewed back in May) a free to download Preview issue is now available via iTunes and as a subscription on Apple Newsstand. INFINITY contains roundups of the latest digital comics as well as features and interviews with creatives such as Eddie Campbell, David Lloyd and PJ Holden, discussing everything from reviving their old content for a new generation to dealing with the strict rules brought down by Apple in this new digital age.

In a previous life, INFINITY was a small press comics fanzine in the 80s published by Willis, but he’s swapped his photocopier for an iPad and relaunched INFINITY for the digital age with this free to download preview and a first issue proper available in September

When asked about the launch of INFINITY Willis commented: “Digital delivery is a huge part of the future of comics and we’re launching INFINITY to cover things as they develop, debate the key issues such as user experience, platforms and pricing, interview the key players, and provide a guide for people to the good stuff. Appropriately the magazine is specially designed for the iPad, and contains audio, video and Panel Nine’s “Panel Mode” presentation of digital comics.”

You can download INFINITY from iTunes here and for more information on Russell Willis and the 80s INFINITY check out this great article

As interactive books and comics get more and more sophisticated the boundaries between them are getting even closer. One title which is hoping to blur the lines even more is Bottom of the Ninth by animator Ryan Woodward. Hailing it as the world’s first animated graphic novel (as far as he knows), it combines Ryan’s love of comics, animation and baseball and looks set to be one of the true ground-breaking titles for the iPad in 2012.  I got in touch with Ryan as he finished off the final finesses  ahead of it’s Summer release and did my best to get to the the bottom of Bottom of the Ninth.

What would you do if you felt the quality of comics on the iPad wasn’t up to scratch? Most people would just grumble and moan and keep buying inferior books, but publisher Russell Willis took matters into his own hands, created his own comics platform inventing the ‘deluxe digital graphic novel’. Taking existing books from some of his favourite writer/artists, Russell developed his own publishing platform along with his Panel Nine app development team in Tokyo, approaching the artists in question to record an in-depth audio commentary to give the books that extra layer of interactivity.  After the success of his first release, From Hell artist Eddie Campbell’s Dapper John , he has followed it up with hard boiled crime drama Kickback from V For Vendetta artist David Lloyd. We got in touch with Russell to ask him how he came up with the idea for the deluxe graphic novel and what he think s makes this format so great for the iPad.