“It’s more important to be available through ComiXology than in the brick and mortar stores” Deluge comic’s J.D. Oliva on his journey to the digital storefront
Back in May 2012 we caught up with film-maker and comic writer J.D. Oliva to discuss his new Deluge comic, a New Orleans set, post-Katrina crime series that was about to be released by digital only publisher Moonshot Digital. Nearly two years later, and Deluge has finally seen the light of day, appearing on ComiXology via Submit. Keen to find out what J.D. had been up to and the journey he had taken to finally get Deluge published on the world’s biggest digital storefront, we got in touch.
The last time we spoke, you were all set to release your comic Deluge via Moonshot Digital, can you tell us a bit about the journey you’ve been on since then?
JDO: Well, unfortunately MoonShot never got off the ground. Which is unfortunate cause I think they had some really cool properties, but that’s business.
After MoonShot closed up, I tried to figure out what the next step should be. I got some really good advice from Andy Schmidt, my Comics Experience teacher, and Paul Allor, my editor and friend from CEX who has had a tremendous amount of success in his short career.
While we were kind of in Limbo, Rich Clark (Deluge’s artist) got some fantastic opportunities. He colored Grant Morrison and Darrick Robertson’s Happy for Image and drew Corey Taylor’s (of Stone Sour and Slipknot fame) House of Gold & Bones for Dark Horse, which slowed production on Deluge, but since we were stuck it worked out.
You’ve published on ComiXology this week, how was that experience and how important is it for you to have Deluge on such as massive platform? Is it available anywhere else as well?
JDO: As a film/video professional, I was a big proponent of the “digital revolution” cause it made owning your business much more affordable and realistic. With Indy comics it had been different. Since Deluge had been in various stages of development for three years, I got to watch how some of my friends were making their way in the business. I knew that there was no way that I would be able to get Deluge into Previews without a publisher, as I’ve seen great books that sell well through other channels not get picked up. And when it became obvious that I wasn’t getting a traditional publisher, I needed to figure something out. Then ComiXology announced their Submit program. In this day and age, ComiXology is the newsstand and I think it’s more important to be available through them than in the brick and mortar stores. For the past two years, I’ve bought all of my books through ComiXology. Plus, it’s the best opportunity for a nobody like me to get his work out to people. I was blown away Wednesday when Bleeding Cool chose Deluge as their ComiXology Submit top pick for this week. That’s fantastic exposure and I can’t thank ComiXology enough for the opportunity.
Has the story evolved at all since we last spoke? Have you changed anything as time as gone on? Did you want to? And do you think the story is still relevant this far removed from Katrina? Or has it gained more significance with time?
JDO: The last time we talked was the day I finished the script. That was around the time I changed the ending. Originally it was going to be something more traditional and commercial, but by the time I got to it, that seemed fake. I’m much happier with the ending we went with. It’s more real, I think.
I don’t know about the relevancy or significance of the story. I don’t take my stuff that seriously. I just want to write about things that interest me.
Is the entire story complete and ready to be published now? If so, what will the time frame we’ll see for release? Monthly? And for how long?
JDO: We are totally finished! We shipped out the finished trades to our Kickstarter backers awhile ago. I’m hoping for a monthly release schedule, but the folks at ComiXology are swamped with creators trying to get their own work out. So based on that, it seems their program is a huge success. It’s only a three issue miniseries, so hopefully by spring it will all be available.
What else have you been working on in the meantime and has this process made you more excited about comics or more wary?
JDO: I’m always writing stuff. Indy comics is a very tough world. Especially in regards to finances. Making comics is expensive! To be frank, even after running a successful Kickstarter, I put a lot of money into Deluge and my wife kinda pulled the purse strings (and rightfully so) on me. Plus it didn’t seem right to try to do another Kickstarter before Deluge was complete. So that’s been tough, cause I really want to do more work.
But I’ve got a great new project that is completely different from Deluge. So we’re building up material for that and I’m hoping to run another Kickstarter in the spring or summer. I’ve learned a ton and will be able to make the process move much smoother this time.
It’s been a tough two years, but after this week, I’m more fired up than I’ve ever been. Comics is where I want to be for the rest of my life.
You can purchase issue #1 of Deluge via ComiXology for £0.69/$0.99 and to find out more, follow JD on Twitter @JD_Oliva