Friday, July 13, 2012

ComiXology Distributing Digital 'Mom's Cancer'

HERE'S some news out of the San Diego Comic-Con I knew was coming but had to keep quiet until it was announced, which was evidently today: my publisher Abrams has signed an agreement with digital comics distributor ComiXology to carry a select list of Abrams' graphic novels, including my own Mom's Cancer.

Here's ComiXology's press release about it. In addition to Mom's Cancer, the other Abrams books getting the digital roll-out are My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, Empire State: A Love Story (or Not) by Jason Shiga, Fairy Tales for Angry Little Girls by Lela Lee, and Cats, Dogs, Men, Women, Ninnies & Clowns: The Lost Art of William Steig by Jeanne Steig with illustrations by William Steig. That's some excellent company to be in!

Honestly, I don't really know what to make of this or how big a deal it is. Evidently, people may now read my book "through the power of ComiXology’s patent pending Guided View technology and CMX-HD." I don't know what that means. However, I do know that the ComiXology digital platform works on the iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire; I like the sound of that. ComiXology has provided more than 75 million downloads of more than 25,000 comics, so there's potential. But most of that total is Marvel and DC books bought by superhero fans--not traditionally my best customers, so who knows? I expect we'll tally somewhere between 1 and 1,000,000 downloads.

Basically, I look at it as one more unexplored medium, one more opportunity for Mom's Cancer to reach readers it didn't reach before (also a medium that didn't exist when I created the story!). That's what that book is about.

Thanks to the ComiXology folks for taking me on, and to Editor Charlie and the folks at Abrams for making it happen. Both show an impressive amount of faith that I hope my work justifies.


Mike said...

I think you should be more optimistic. You could easily end up with between 1 and 1,000,000,000 downloads.

Brian Fies said...

Why, it's virtually guaranteed!

Jim O'Kane said...

Brian, you drew Mom's Cancer originally for the web. Then, you worked the layout into a wider-format, landscape styled book. Now, the same work is going to appear in a tablet format (which is typically presented in portrait orientation). Could / Would the software be able to force readers into viewing the work in landscape mode? I'm trying to imagine the issues in reformatting your art to suit another delivery mechanism, but I wind up thinking about sliding "15-puzzles" with individual panels wandering around the screen. Are you working on Project X with a sense that the art could be displayed on paper, or on iPhone too?

Fascinating stuff!

Brian Fies said...

Above my pay grade, Jim. I'd think that anything roughly rectangular could be made to work on any rectangular viewing platform, horizontal or vertical, but have no idea. Since I don't own any e-readers of any type, I may never know.

I honestly don't assume that anyone will ever see Mystery Project X besides me; certainly wouldn't presume it'll be printed (and no one has formally offered). The dimensions I'm working in were chosen to maximize the layout and storytelling possibilities. This isn't exactly how I've set it up, but picture a 9 x 12 unit grid you could divide into fourths, thirds, halves, etc. as the story demanded.

While my intentions were good with Mom's Cancer, I discovered late in the game that my horizontal aspect ratio was a real pain in the neck, severely limiting how I could lay out the panels. Won't make that mistake again.

Brian Fies said...

That said: I still have a back-of-the-mind goal of someday doing a comic that could ONLY be viewed in print. Maybe something the size of a giant poster you'd have to unfold in a certain way to read. Just to show 'em.

Jim O'Kane said...

Al Jaffee would be proud.

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