Mark Millar has been promoting the second volume of his work-for-hire Magic Order comic book from Image Comics and Netflix, drawn by Stuart Immonen. It goes to Final Order Cut-Off from comic book stores on Monday, but with the conversation about creator-owned comic books and Substack reading its head again, what's his take on the Substack scenario. This has seen comic book creator offered a large six-figure sum for a year to start up a subscriber account and publish their comic books through it, Although Mark Millar earns a seven-figure sum annually for Netflix, so maybe that's less of an appeal. He writes in his newsletter;
Why buy the print version of this? Number one, I'm biased. Comic stores have given me my whole career, but also gave me a place to hang out as a teenager where I always had a great laugh with people who were just like me. I like to see them continue to exist and I pretty much only ever buy the paper versions of the things I like because, at heart, I'm a collector. It's just my personality type.
This is no slight to the digital peeps or the Substack boys and girls, all of whom I think doing something really bold and interesting as they try to push comics out into new markets (especially people who don't live near comic-stores). But at the same time I can only think of the podcast I was listening to recently with a truly fascinating American economist who talked about consumers manifesting the world around them with their dollars. We THINK economies are outside our control, but it's really us who set the trends. For example, if you like the alternative media you can subscribe via patreon and others ways to make sure it continues or you're stuck with the mainstream media who might be feeding you an establishment agenda. Similarly, we create the future of the comic-book market by where we personally choose to invest our money.
Again, I see a lot of advantages with the digital model, especially if they can create a nicer price point for people, but at the same time a world without comic stores is a world I'm not crazy about. These are the men and women I owe my very nice life too. These are the folks who sustained me and kept the shirt on my back all those years. So personally it's where, if anything, I want to INCREASE my presence and get the actors from our new shows, for example, to do signings or even just little things like putting posters for our books on their walls instead of the useless tweets everyone has been doing for the past ten years. A tangible poster, I really believe, is worth a billion social media posts, advertising to real life fans.
It's notable that when his Millarworld books first came out and day-and-date digital distribution became a thing, in 2013 Millar delayed the digital sale of his then-creator-owned comic books for months, fearing issues with comic book retailers. He then performed a reverse ferret in 2014 for the day-and-date digital release of Starlight. You know, the one where he faked an elderly comic book reviewer to praise his comic and get a tattoo on her back before disappearing completely. Will we have a reverse ferret on Substack sometime soon?
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