“We want to showcase the work of the creators involved” Glenn Møane discusses digital anthology Outré volume 2 and the success of volume 1

Outre_2_review1Back in May we spoke to Norwegian publisher Glenn Møane about his exciting new digital anthology Outré which was released on Free Comic Book Day and featured a fantastic collection of stories based around the theme of ‘Responsibility’. Well this Friday Glenn and his team are releasing an all instalment – Outré Volume 2 – just in time for the holidays. This time it’s based around the theme of ‘hopelessness’ so we got in contact with Glenn to find out about the success of the first volume and why they chose such a bleak title for this festive offering!

Outre Press volume 2

Outre Press volume 2 will be available for download for free on Friday December 20th from www.outrepress.com

This is the second anthology from Outré Press, tell us a bit about how the first one was received and were you happy with how the first volume turned out?

GM: We were very pleased with reception of the first volume. The reviews were, with one exception, more than positive, which satisfied us greatly. Even if we didn’t charge a dime for our product, and thus ran the risk of the book being labeled as a cheap, digital giveaway comic, Outré #1 was downloaded hundreds of times. And that was really all we ever wanted: to showcase the work of the creators involved. We also enjoyed the fact that the reviewers responded differently to the four 8-pagers, and that each of the stories got to be one critic’s favorite at least once. So yeah, we’re happy, with both the issue itself and the feedback.

What did you learn from producing and marketing volume 1 that you have applied to volume 2?

GM: In one of the interviews we did after the launch of #1, we stated that we were bent on getting the second issue completely done in good time before the release. As we experienced during the production of the initial volume, making comics takes time, especially when we’re not offering the creators more than fame and glory within the digital indie comics scene (if such a thing exists). Everyone had to make time in their schedule to work on this anthology for free, which we were going to offer to the world for the exact same amount. So working on an Outré story was naturally not always given the top priority by every creator, and when we sent out review copies to various comic book sites, we were three days away from our launch date.

Now, since an issue of Outré will be available on our site forever, it doesn’t really matter if a review that can interest a potential downloader is posted a week or six month after it’s released – but it never hurts to get a little buzz going as soon as we have new issue available. With that in mind, we were hoping to have #2 done at least a month ago, but things turned out differently. But at least now we had a review copy ready as much as ten days before our release on December 20th, a new Outré record!

Outre Press volume 2

Writers and artist donate their time and stories for free to Outre which means they can offer the book for free to fans in return !

We also learned that some sites will never bother to respond if you tell them about an anthology such as ours. Maybe it’s because Outré is “just” a digital anthology, and/or not available through Comixology, or maybe they are just hesitant to check out something that’s not from the Big Two. But we expect this to change, as it seems like the industry and fans are gradually getting friendlier towards the idea of independent, non-superhero comics. So we’re sending the book out to many of the same sites as before, as well as a handful of new ones.

How did the various artists and writers get involved in the project and how much guidance did you give them on content?

GM: The process was more or less the same as with #1: We presented the theme of “hopelessness” on our homepage and on sites like Digital Webbing, and told creators we would like to see their submissions. After deciding on four stories, the writers’s scripts went through a couple of drafts, based on our editorial input. When the scripts were ready we handed them to the artists that had expressed interest in the project and they took it from there. One creator, writer/artist Brett Uren, did everything on his story, meaning that he wrote, drew, colored and lettered the piece. This eased the process for this story quite a bit, but for the rest of them we put together creative teams based on the submissions pile and our own network of comics creators. Two creators had to bail on us when the production was well under way, but fortunately we managed to bring in others who were eager to contribute.

As for guidance and feedback from us to the creators, it was a case of sometimes “pushing the story” in the right direction, and giving suggestions about things like dialogue, panel layouts and color schemes. This is something that many indie publishers skip completely, which is surprising, as one would imagine someone putting out a book would want the final result to be the best it can be. Neither me nor [co-editor] Magnus [Aspli] are professional editors, but we drew from our own experience of creating comics when giving creators input. This was of course not always necessary, as the Outré family is a talented bunch of gals and guys.

Outre Press volume 2

Outre Press features an incredible mix of writers and artists telling stories around the theme of ‘Hopelessness’

Hopelessness‘ is quite a bleak title what made you go for that rather than something more upbeat? Does that just give your writers more scope do you think or is that just the Scandinavian way to look at things which are a but darker?

GM: The theme for the first two issues were decided upon when me and Magnus shared a table at the Oslo Comics Xpo in 2012. This is where we came up with the idea of Outré, and I believe it was me that threw out “hopelessness” as we bounced ideas back and forth. I think it’s an exciting theme to handle literary-wise, and we were curious about what kind of stories the writers who submitted would come up with. And as evident by the four stories inside Outré #2 (and the rest of the submissions we received) it can lead to some very different yarns. Also, a story about hopelessness could be about someone overcoming it, so despite being a Scandinavian from the cold North, I don’t automatically think of it as the bleakest of all themes, heh.

Any plans for a volume 3 or other standalone titles? How would you like to see Outré develop in 2014?

Outré #3 will be released on May 3, 2014, on Free Comic Book Day. To release an issue of Outré on FCBD and right before Christmas is in sync with our mission statement of creating and giving away comics for free. The third issue’s theme is “xenophobia“, and we’re about to put together the creative teams for the four stories we have decided upon (Artists interested should send links to their portfolios to submissions@outrepress.com). Issue 4 will be released a year from now, though we haven’t decided on the theme yet.

We have been talking about expanding the Outré brand in the next year, though it’s too early at this poimt to tell about the when and what of it all. But the format is set in stone: digital.

Outré volume 2 will be available from December 20th at outrepress.com where you can also download volume 1 and find out more about them.

Author: Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.