stereotypical white adult male buyer that most of the market has targeted for the past few decades.
Turning the page “There is significant growth in digital comics readers who have never read a comic before in their lives,” says Leah Moore, comics writer and co-founder of Electricomics. “They are predominantly 17–25 and
primarily to digital. This goes hand in hand with the recent push towards more “It’s like progressive content that your comic now has a represents a wider range of hundred pages instead of 20, human experience. The poster girl for this because each panel transition is movement is Ms Marvel, effectively a new page.” starring a teenaged Muslim – Kieron Gillen, writer girl named Kamala Khan. When the first issue launched in 2014, it sold more digital copies than print, and publisher Marvel has since announced that Ms Marvel is its number-one title on digital comics platforms. By comparison, in terms female, and this demographic of print sales, it was only Marvel’s 109th is one I believe publishers and best-seller in 2015. creators should take notice of. Issues to opportunities Imagine every girl in her teens or Sales are just one half of the digital story twenties buying a digital graphic for comics. The new format brings its own novel every month on her way to challenges: for example, double-page college or work. Comics would kill spreads with a single detailed image don’t for that traction.” fare too well when shrunk down to fit a Understandably, this intent is shared by small screen. But there are also a host of just about every digital comics platform. unique opportunities that creators are just Steve Suna, PR manager for the mobile-first beginning to explore. Stela Comics, says it “hopes to reach a new “In a printed comic book, turning kind of reader, one that grew up with social the page is what we call the reveal,” says media and smartphones”. Comixology’s Steinberger says simply, “Our mission statement is to make everybody on the planet a comics reader.” The “accepted wisdom”, as Gillen puts it, is that new comics readers are drawn
AD-FREE INFINITUM Like magazines, most print comics have their content broken up every few pages by advertising. In a world where ad-supported apps are the norm, though, digital comics have actually gone the opposite way, by removing them. According to Comixology’s Steinberger, this was originally a side effect of the app’s initial focus on old back issues with outdated ads which “it didn’t make sense to include”. “Introducing it at this later date just doesn’t really feel right,” he says. “I think customers expect digital to be less expensive, because there’s no distribution or printing costs. If we were able to lower the price and include ads, maybe we could consider that, but it’s not something we’re really focused on.”