In just five years, Boom! Studios has garnered multiple Eisner and Harvey Award nominations and published some of the industry’s most exciting titles, like Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, 20th Century Fox’s 28 Days Later and Die Hard, The Henson Company’s Farscape, and the original Mark Waid series Irredeemable.
They’re also a pioneering force in digital publication of comic books. As part of Digital Comics Month at TFAW.com, we had the opportunity to talk with Chip Mosher, Marketing Director at Boom! Studios, on the state of comics in the digital age.
TFAW.com: How many titles/issues do you currently have available? What do you project to have at the same time next year?
Chip Mosher: This past May we launched our iPad app and our presence on four digital comics vendors: comiXology, Graphic.ly, iVerse, and Panelfly. At that time, we committed our entire back catalog of Boom! Studios single issues as being available digitally. Right now, that is over 300 single issues. Next year, it will be nearing 400 issues. We have since added MyDigitalComics to our vendor list.
TFAW.com: How did you choose which comics would go digital first? What was the thought process behind your launch?
CM: Thought? Heck, we just wanted to get as much of our back catalog up as humanly possible! (Laughs) We really left it to the individual vendors as to what they wanted to do first. We’re pretty near to having all of our Boom! Studios back catalog up with most all the vendors, so it is really just coordinating releases of upcoming titles.
TFAW.com: What are the biggest challenges in publishing digital comics?
CM: Honestly? Well, our last editorial pass is when we go to trade. So when we did the whole back catalog, we couldn’t just go to the single issues files and export them, we basically had to re-build the single issues from the trades. If we took out a “to be continued” on the trade, we had to put that back in, etc. It was a pain in the butt. But our design department and my assistant Ivan Salazar really put their backs into it, so we got this project done in a couple of months. Processing all of that was by far the biggest challenge.
TFAW.com: Who is buying your digital comics? Is it your usual audience, or do you think you’re reaching a more nontraditional demographic?
CM: Oddly enough, 40 percent of our sales are international. That makes sense, right, because single-issue distribution is very, very weak in foreign markets. I know we are reaching some consumers who have never bought a comic before, but I think as an industry we need to do better on this end. Also, we are really reaching the lapsed Wednesday shopper. The dad who just doesn’t have time to go to the store every Wednesday. It’s great to have our entire back catalog up for consumers who may not have our comics near them physically, or who might not have purchased our comics for a variety of reasons before.
TFAW.com: Do you currently offer day and date comics? Will you offer more of those in the future?
CM: Back in January 2008, we offered our North Wind comic book series with MySpace Comics as the first day-and-date release for the comic book industry. Boom!’s pretty proud to be on the forefront there. Right now, I am not really seeing the data that doing day-and-date is the right thing for us across the board. It really depends on the project. With North Wind, the comic was listed on the log-in page for all of MySpace, and definitely reached non-comic readers. The writer, David DiGillio had a ton of fans online from his TV show that had just aired. It made perfect sense for that project.
TFAW.com: Digital comics have broken a lot of the traditional barriers of the direct market–they’re easy to purchase and less expensive than the paper versions. Do you think this will help publishers develop a wider audience?
CM: As I’ve said before, I think people take it as a fait accompli that since buying digital comics does not involve having to make a trek down to your local comic shop, that they will instantly expand the audience. I am certainly not sold on that scenario–you have to do the work. We, as an industry, have a ton of outreach to do with comics–both in digital and print–to truly expand the marketplace in a significant way. Of course, that’s not to say that Boom! isn’t excited about the opportunities with digital, we totally are. Boom! has some things up our sleeves. Hang tight!
We want to thank Chip Mosher for taking the time to chat with us about digital comics and Boom!’s initiatives. You can check out all of our Boom Studios’ comics and graphic novels here at TFAW.com. Make sure to come back Friday when we’ll talk with In Maps & Legends creators Mike Jasper and Niki Smith about their digital-only comic.
Have you purchased any digital comics by Boom! Studios? What’s your favorite Boom! digital comic? Post your comments below!