Mark Waid Gets Thrillbent At C2E2 And Launches "Insufferable"

Cody Walker and Taylor Ramsey are writing for Bleeding Cool from C2E2. Cody attended Mark Waid's panel last night while Taylor Ramsey had a quick word with the main man before hand.

Cody Walker:

It was a large crowd considering the late hour. Mark Waid took the stage along with Peter Krause. Throughout his presentation, as if to preempt any speculation and avoid any controversy beforehand, emphasized that he was not attacking the print industry that he was not attacking retailers and he was not attacking Diamond Distribution, but rather, he was trying to break down the logistical numbers so others could understand where we are as an industry.
"The print model is still great. The economics have changed. If you're not one of the big companies, then it won't succeed."
Though he has already broken down the economics of printing comics on his website, Markwaid.com, he broke them down again.
Most comics are $3.99 (at which point he emphasized that this wasn't unfair – that was just the price).
Diamond make 60% of every issue sold leaving $1.60 to the publisher (Waid emphasized that Diamond wasn't taking an unfair cut or screwing any one over, but simply that this is the way the industry works).
It usually costs $1.00 to print a comic leaving $0.60 to pay the writer, artist, inker, colorist, letter, editor, etc.  At which point he pointed out that this is not unfair, but just how things go.
He emphasized that people are losing money in the hopes to break even or get a movie deal to make money because printing is expensive.
Then, he dropped the bombshell.
On May 1st, Mark Waid will be launching a new website called "Thrillbent.com" where new comics will be published every week especially for digital format.
Currently, on Markwaid.com, he is running his blog to get people to show the process of creating digital comics.
Later, more people (Waid promises big names, but won't reveal any) will be on the site. By summer, there should be new stuff every day on the website.
Mark Waid announces new web series "Insufferable"
The first comic he will be doing with Peter Krause will be called Insufferable which Waid describes the series as a dramedy about a "Kid sidekick who grows up to be a douchebag . . . an insufferable Kanye West of a man."
Waid also plugged the Marvel Infinite Comic as a model. Then, the Q&A session started.
What are the differences between working with print and digital?
They wanted the reader to control the flow of the story which isn't motion comics. "I don't believe in sound effects and voiceovers. Reading comics is an intimate experience. Anything that makes it feel  like animation, you're no longer in control of the story."
Pages per digital comic?
8 – 10 screens per installment. Any less and it won't build a following. The first Insufferable will be 16 screens or so.
Panels amount?
Never a whole lot. They are still figuring out what works on digital screens. Captions are a little bigger. Landscape format. "I hate having to scroll around a page."
How hard was it to transition from the comic page to landscape?
Krause: "Not radical, but the transitions from one to the next is tough."
Waid: "each installment is written to try and experiment with the format and Pete has never let me down."
Krause: "For the first time, I'm drawing all digitally as well."
On-going series or minis?
All of that. Insufferable is technically an on-going. We can do what we want.
How will you make money?
Small group means less people to pay. It will be ad driven. After awhile, maybe put past issues into a vault and charge people for them. "None of these are million dollar ideas."
How are scripts different?
For the Marvel Infinite comic, Waid mostly wrote it in print and had the artists figure it out.
Will there be a thrillbent app?
Yes.
Print editions?
"If retailers haven't killed me first." Once every one has been paid, then maybe they will move to print. Waid then noted that it worked for Freak Angels, but was frustrated by the traditional panels used in the comic.
If you made $1 million from this, would you leave DC and Marvel?
"I love writing print comics. I like having my foot in both worlds."
"For years, guys in big towers have determined the business. Suddenly, writers and artists have the ability to take control of the industry."
Can people submit work?
Go to Markwaid.com and help out with the discussion. In a few months, maybe we'll take submissions.
How long does it take to make the comics?
A week.
Krause: "I save 2 hours a page drawing digitally."
Compensation for writers and artists? Have you heard of Kickstarter?
"the bubble will burst on Kickstarter, but the overall model exists and will continue. Spread the word about my site and we'll see what we can do to accommodate."
Are you worried about collecting the digital comics in print later and having problems in the conversion?
"At first, I wanted to write for both worlds, but the more I think about it, the more I don't care. I want to experiment with the format. I won't sacrifice potential so that print is a fail safe. One thing you can't get in print is surprising readers with each page swipe."
"The argument of print versus digital is crap. It is print AND digital."
Product placement in your comics?
"If we can do it cleverly, then we will. If it is Nabisco presents Insufferable, then we'll do it."
All ages content? What age range?
"Across the web, it doesn't matter. It probably at first is teenage to above. It's something I want to do, but I don't want to send kids to the site and tell them not to go to certain places."

Taylor Ramsey:

I had an opportunity to speak to Daredevil and Irredeemable writer about the digital venture before the big announcement.  I asked him if the economic model was going to be viable, would he be collecting and printing the stories in single volumes for all the trade waiters and non digital readers out there.  His answer…

"That is the whole idea.  Not to eclipse print but to compliment and defray the scary costs of print and distribution by sending these things out digitally first to those fans that want it in that format.  Collected volumes are absolutely part of the overall plan.  If the readers want it, and the numbers work, there WILL be collections of the digital stuff."

Good news for all the trade waiters, and people that are not fully sold on digital.

It is clear that this is an all or nothing venture and the entire scope of distribution is part of the model.

 

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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