“Print and digital aren’t at war, they support one another” Afterlife Inc creator Jon Lock on ‘why I love digital comics’

The latest in our ‘why I love digital comics’ series sees indie comic creator and Afterlife Inc. writer Jon Lock wax lyrical about the joys of digital.

Afterlife IncAs a writer and long term – heck, lifelong – reader of comics, my collecting preferences will always err on the side of story rather than medium. If I care about a character I will continue to read about them regardless of whether it’s on the page or screen. That said, with the recent rise of the digital comic, I admit to a slight fear that my beloved (physical) comics would be cast aside in a flurry of ones and zeros. Good for my heaving shelves; less good for my emotional attachment to the feel of a good book.

As it happens, the digital revolution of the comics world – “out with the old, in with the new!” – never really materialised, which is not to knock digital comics, quite the opposite in fact but to say that clearly print and digital can coexist peacefully. Since becoming the owner of a tablet, my comic purchases are now split neatly between the two. Floppies and, of course, collected editions of old favourites I get from my local shop. With Comixology, however, my preferred marketplace, I take more risks, browsing a massive library of titles with just the flick of a finger. Without the fear of overloading my poor shelves, I can gamble on titles I might normally avoid. It’s led to some great discoveries – and even some new favourites that I will no doubt also collect physical copies of when released.

“Print and digital copies aren’t at war; rather, they support one another. People are reading more comics than ever, regardless of the medium, and that can only be a good thing.”

In publishing my own comics, the rise of smart phones and tablets has been a real boon. Special thanks should be given to Comixology and their Submit program, in which independent creators were afforded the chance to have their comics included on the world’s largest digital comics marketplace, alongside the big guns like Marvel or DC. All three volumes of my comic AFTERLIFE INC. are available to purchase through Comixology. Volume 1 was also included in the Submit 1 year anniversary bundle of the top 100 indie comics. It’s been a terrific way of expanding my book’s readership while avoiding otherwise crippling printing and postage costs. People all over the world can now reach my stories with just the click of a button. Indie creators really couldn’t ask for a better friend than digital comics!

Perhaps the most exciting thing about digital comics, however, is the possibility of new storytelling methods. A screen is dynamic, interactive, animated – and digital comics are already starting to bridge the gap between sequential art and cartoons. Guided view and panel-by-panel transitions were only the beginning. As creators get to grips with the true scope of this new technology, we can expect to see an explosion of novel ideas and techniques. It’s a bold new era for comics, and everyone’s in on the ground floor. And that’s why I love digital comics.

Jon Lock is the writer and creator of Afterlife Inc. and numerous other adventures in comics. He is also a writer for the Harvey Award nominated Uniques Tales. In 2013 he co-founded Big Punch Studios with fellow creator Nich Angell. More info about his comics, and even some free stories, can be found on his website.

Get more Afterlife Inc in a new 3 volume collected edition available for pre-order via Kickstarter!

If you’re a huge fan of Jon’s AfterLife Inc, then you can help support him via Kickstarter and get yourself a copy of the first 3 volumes of AfterLife Inc. in a deluxe hardcover edition available via his Kickstarter which you can find here.

Author: Jon Lock