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Friday, January 05, 2018

Quantum Mortis #1

We're just about ready to proceed with our first print tests and we've already successfully constructed our first digital comic book, which is Quantum Mortis #1. We're also very close to wrapping up the inkings on the first Alt★Hero and Avalon comics, so we should be in pretty good shape to hit our February time frame.

We probably won't wait for the first print edition to come out before putting QM #1 up on Amazon; the question is whether to utilize KDP, Comixology, or both. KDP is a slam-dunk for us, so I'd be interested in hearing how many of you who read digital comics use one store versus the other. Amazon owns both of them, so the difference will ultimately be moot, but for now we have to decide between KDP + Comixology, KDP + KU, or just KDP. I don't see much benefit to KU with a 24-page comic, but then, this is an experiment and there is only one way to learn, right?

The digital version looks pretty snappy, I have to say. We chose a slightly larger font to make sure it was legible, and the bright colors really pop off the tablet screen. We're breaking more than a few of the "rules" of modern comics here, particularly as it relates to the "less text more detailed pictures", but then, what is the point of following the lead of people who are presently engaged in falling from the cliff from which they have leaped? The amusing thing about the "rules" is that a Marvel executive has publicly declared that there simply aren't any artists whose names are significant enough to sell a comic on their own.

As always, it is the stories that matter, not the trappings that permit them to be told. And after the stories comes the characters. Whether the medium is visual or textual, there are always technicians who insist that the technical details are the most important element in determining success. And, as always, their self-serving assertions are totally incorrect.

Of course, we anticipate Quantum Mortis will be warmly embraced by SJWs celebrating the fact that the attractive Detector Derin Hildreth - an actual woman - is a primary character. Are we not all about the diversity?

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51 Comments:

Blogger S1AL January 05, 2018 12:26 PM  

Several of the most successful webcomics have large amounts of text on a regular basis. The 'rules' are silly.

Blogger D. Bay January 05, 2018 12:32 PM  

Vox, will you be accepting submissions of comic book scripts for any of the Alt-Hero titles at some point? Just wondering.

Blogger cheddarman January 05, 2018 12:32 PM  

Boobs!!! looks great so far!

Blogger VD January 05, 2018 12:36 PM  

Vox, will you be accepting submissions of comic book scripts for any of the Alt-Hero titles at some point?

No. But we will accept submissions of complete or sample comics for publication under our Dark Legion imprint. Castalia has no shortage of writers; we need no assistance in that particular regard. It is the art that is the bottleneck.

Blogger JACIII January 05, 2018 12:36 PM  

QM is my favorite SF series currently. It doesn't receive near enough attention. It's at least as fun as LC's Monster Hunter series.

Blogger M. Bibliophile January 05, 2018 12:48 PM  



Just take my money. I devoured this book, and there is pretty much zero chance I won't be buying this comic. I hadn't bought a comic book in twenty years, but between this and Alt*Hero, that dry streak has come to a close.

Anonymous Russell Newquist January 05, 2018 12:48 PM  

Is this comic based off of one of the existing novels (which are fantastic, btw) or is it a new storyline?

Blogger VD January 05, 2018 12:54 PM  

It is the graphic novelization of A Man Disrupted.

Blogger Forge the Sky January 05, 2018 12:55 PM  

My opinion, offer first issues in Kindle Unlimited to give people a taste. They can buy subsequent issues if they like it.

Comic page lengths just don’t match up with novel page lengths.

Blogger Dire Badger January 05, 2018 12:59 PM  

Is alt hero going to be available through regular amazon? I don't like using credit cards, and I still have 1200 dollars on account with amazon.

Blogger Anno Ruse January 05, 2018 12:59 PM  

I own more than 100 graphic novels on Comixology. I bought a few graphic novels via the Kindle store before I realized Comixology existed. The Comixology app has so many useful features that make it superior to the Kindle app. Comixology does a lot of promotion and discounts and their store is easier to use than Amazon's. I wouldn't purchase a graphic novel anywhere else.

Blogger pdwalker January 05, 2018 12:59 PM  

Detective Hildreth isn’t bad, she’s just drawn that way.

Blogger tuberman January 05, 2018 1:00 PM  

Good news, thanks.

Anonymous Tyson January 05, 2018 1:09 PM  

Thank you for breaking the rules that ruined comics. story decompression, art over writing, activist/clueless editors, and gimmicks over continuity all contributed to alienating new and old readers.

Blogger LP9 January 05, 2018 1:18 PM  

ALT HERO!!! OML, the art is so cute, this is awesome.

Blogger LP9 January 05, 2018 1:19 PM  

8 Even cooler, great, wonderful work, carry on gentlemen!

Blogger Azure Amaranthine January 05, 2018 1:22 PM  

For a warm embrace, it's awfully cold and slimy.

Blogger Michael Thompson January 05, 2018 1:24 PM  

"Thank you for breaking the rules that ruined comics. story decompression, art over writing, activist/clueless editors, and gimmicks over continuity all contributed to alienating new and old readers."

And if he sold them for 50-75 cents, it might actually work. I doubt it because the comic book industry has spent the better part of 3 decades torching its original business model and virtually ensuring that there was no replacement audience for the Gen X crowd as they gradually, and very slowly, finally aged out of the hobby. That means that we are about 2 generations removed from kids adopting comic book reading as one of their activities of choice and I doubt that's going to be replaceable.

I think the comic book companies had one last shot to reverse that, which would have been linking their comic books to their movies that are making a billion dollars apiece and giving away free issues at every theater showing their characters, but they didn't. That's why you're seeing books that used to have runs of 100,000 limp along with runs of 15,000 these days. The stupidity started long ago, but politicizing the books and acting with overt hostility toward the remaining audience they had left accelerated the process over the last few years.

Comic books, as an art form, are probably sadly in their death throes.

Blogger VD January 05, 2018 1:37 PM  

Is alt hero going to be available through regular amazon?

Yes.

Blogger James Dixon January 05, 2018 1:37 PM  

> And if he sold them for 50-75 cents, it might actually work.

That would have been true in the 80's. Thirty years of inflation have made that more like $2-$3.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab January 05, 2018 1:37 PM  

I only read comics from KU. I don't want to load a new app to my device and I'm not paying twenty times more for a digital comic than I did for my first print comic. I can't read print anymore so it's digital or nothing for me.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine January 05, 2018 1:37 PM  

I'll also say that I find more text to be good. In my mind, many of those who still read comics in the first place are tending towards the same group that still read books. Where this begins to fall apart is in the anime/manga territory which has a much broader audience variation. Sailor Moon? Still popular with women you'd never suspect ever picked up a comic.

It would also be interesting to see how this changes with unconverged media that didn't come from Japan. I'd expect the audience to become suddenly much broader, in which case more text/less art will still work for many, but an array of tactics is probably best.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine January 05, 2018 1:41 PM  

KU is probably suicide for more than samples/teasers. Yes, page count is a killer unless you get an utterly massive audience. Surviving that medium would probably require an entirely different production model with a lot less emphasis on quality.

Blogger SmockMan January 05, 2018 1:43 PM  

I used both kindle and comixology to read digital comics. I found the amazon reader works much better on a touchpad device (surface pro). And the price was usually cheaper on amazon anyway.

Blogger Michael Thompson January 05, 2018 1:47 PM  

"That would have been true in the 80's. Thirty years of inflation have made that more like $2-$3."

I don't know. You're still asking kids to make an allocation of whatever disposable income they have. I could be wrong, but I imagine if you asked most kids to empty their pockets at any given time, the amount they'd pull out would be roughly similar to the amount they would have pulled out in 1990, which was the high point of my comic collecting heyday.

At that time, I could go to the comic book store and spend a little over $10 and come home with about 10 comic books.

These days, that $10 would maybe get me 3. The successful business model for selling comic books is not really to sell 3 $3 dollar comic books. It's to get kids who will be customers for the next 10 years to get invested in as much of your line as possible, so they will keep buying as many comic books as their disposable income will allow, the older they get.

Which means as their income increases, the disposable amount, or the amount they are willing to 'throw away' also increases and, hence, they will be willing to buy more comic books.

If all you did at the beginning was hook them on Iron Man, because Iron Man is all they could ever afford, Iron Man is all they'll ever buy.

Blogger Johnny January 05, 2018 2:29 PM  

Going by the picture it looks to me more like a graphic novel than a comic book. No idea they sell in the market you are trying for.

Blogger DJ | AMDG January 05, 2018 2:39 PM  

I’ve been on Comixology forever and have over 500 books. I continue to buy TPBs for myself and floppies for my boys. Since I’m on iOS, I cannot buy directly from the app which is stupid. (On Android the app doesn’t support MicroSD book storage which is doubly stupid - even when using a Kindle Fire!) I have to use my browser for that. But I can search the entire catalog and also see all featured books and sales. Comixology also has an “unlimited” reading subscription serve since Amazon bought them very similar to KU. You might want to look into that.

I do not read comics on my Kindle or through iBooks on my iOS device. I find Comixology the superior app. It also supports “enhanced” comics which are similar to MotionComics without the voice over if you’ve seen those.

Blogger DJ | AMDG January 05, 2018 2:46 PM  

I think you grossly underestimate how much carry around money kids have to spend on stuff, and how much they get in iTunes/PlayStore credits. I’m shocked by it, and I’m not talking about just wealthy kids either. Further, comics aren’t as ubiquitous as they were for young boys in the 70s or 80s when last the were <$1. There are FAR more options available for young people to spend that bounce around money. That fact alone justifies a different marketing strategy that targets a different demographic beyond - boy with bike at corner drug store.

Blogger DJ | AMDG January 05, 2018 2:50 PM  

I don’t know about consumer cost of comics through KU, but most all digital versions of (recent) print books cost the same as the printed version. If the floppy hits the stand Wednesday, you can buy the digital version (often the night before) at the same price (without the ads of course).

Blogger DJ | AMDG January 05, 2018 2:54 PM  

Many issue #1’s will come with a code for a free download of the same book in digital form. I’ve even seen some novelized books come with a code for a free download as well. I could be wrong, but I seem to recall seeing an overpriced Kindle version of some GRRM book (not ASOIAF) listed as coming with a code for the digital version of some other related GRRM graphic novella.

Blogger Lovekraft January 05, 2018 3:06 PM  

I'm a 'purist' so it's pretty much first printing hard copies for me. I do have the odd graphic novel, but it's something about having the first edition, not to mention the joy of hunting down missing issues that is part of my hobby (been tracking down Alan Moore's "Providence" 12-parter recently. Phenomenal book).

Can't wait to go into my local CBS and pickup the newest Castalia House comics.

Anonymous Russell Newquist January 05, 2018 3:10 PM  

@8: It is the graphic novelization of A Man Disrupted.

Sweet - that's my favorite of the tales so far. Another question: are we getting any more QM in novel form anytime soon?

Blogger Brian S January 05, 2018 3:12 PM  

Alt Hero will be my first comic since I was in high school, so I'm unfamiliar with any of these ways of delivering online comics. I would prefer to get them the same way I get ebooks, simply for the familiarity and not having to open another account or app (or both) to get them.

Blogger DJ | AMDG January 05, 2018 3:14 PM  

Comixology and Amazon use the same login fwiw.

Blogger Brian S January 05, 2018 3:18 PM  

cool, thanks

Blogger James Dixon January 05, 2018 3:56 PM  

> I don't know. You're still asking kids to make an allocation of whatever disposable income they have...

Oh, I agree that getting the price down to $1 or so would be ideal. But disposable incomes have increased some since the 1990's, even for kids.

Blogger Johnny January 05, 2018 4:34 PM  

A lot of kids get really big money for toys these days, but I would imagine most of it goes through the parents. So, you know, you gotta sell the parents to get the bucks.

Anonymous map January 05, 2018 4:41 PM  

VD

I got a kindle paperwhite for Christmas. I was starting out with the Quantum Mortis series and am wondering if there is an order to the series. I’ve already sampled A Programmed. Mind.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash January 05, 2018 5:48 PM  

Wth is with her shoes. It looks like she has camel toes.

Anonymous Man of the Atom January 05, 2018 5:57 PM  

Michael Thompson wrote:"That would have been true in the 80's. Thirty years of inflation have made that more like $2-$3."

I don't know. You're still asking kids to make an allocation of whatever disposable income they have. I could be wrong, but I imagine if you asked most kids to empty their pockets at any given time, the amount they'd pull out would be roughly similar to the amount they would have pulled out in 1990, which was the high point of my comic collecting heyday.

At that time, I could go to the comic book store and spend a little over $10 and come home with about 10 comic books.


In 2012, about $16/week was the average allowance over all age groups.

If all you did at the beginning was hook them on Iron Man, because Iron Man is all they could ever afford, Iron Man is all they'll ever buy.

Disagree. Effective house ads can hook the reader. I started reading Fantastic Four (Marvel) and Adventure Comics (DC). House ads hooked me into over a dozen titles from each company. Marketing can be a productive friend, even for 8 year olds.

Anonymous Man of the Atom January 05, 2018 5:59 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Wth is with her shoes. It looks like she has camel toes.

2000 AD - Judge Dread

Blogger Starboard January 05, 2018 6:03 PM  

MT, your concern is noted, but I don’t share it. The kids I know consume digital content. Anime, manga, webcomics etc. They wanted to be animators and comic artists for several years before growing into other aspirations. Don’t count the next generation out.

Anonymous Man of the Atom January 05, 2018 6:23 PM  

Vox: I'm wasn't a digital guy, but once Castalia House arrived, I became one. If CH publishes it, I'll buy it and figure out the app. All I ask is an avenue to get a non-DRM'd copy if I want one.

Blogger dtungsten January 05, 2018 7:13 PM  

I'd very much like to be able to read the digital version in Comixology.

Blogger Dave January 05, 2018 8:47 PM  

I vote KDP + Comixology. Also Comixology will let you subscribe to a series on the web where each issue will be delivered automatically to your account as soon as it's released. When Alt★Hero and Avalon and QM really take off down the road a series subscription would be super convenient.

Anonymous Post Alley Crackpot January 05, 2018 9:13 PM  

KU might be worth doing initially because it would help establish that what you're doing merits future sales without KU at a desired price point ...

With that in mind, you might consider doing the first two issues with KU and then offering a "catch-up" volume of the first three issues at a preferred price point, just so you can ease future sale conversions.

This would also help hook some people who are delaying purchases because they want to see how the series continues to work out. They may have heard enough negative press from Those Kinds of People that they're going to play the wait-and-see game.

What I suspect is behind the question is that the file formats are different, and that you're going to have to deal with CBZ/CBR with one, PDF with another, and then Amazon's platform which is more EPUB and MOBI friendly. I wasn't aware that Amazon supports fixed layout in their software that's like what you get with EPUB 3, but if they're going to do that or are already doing that, perhaps that would help eliminate the need for CBZ/CBR eventually.

If that's the case, then the real question is whether you should deal with Cosmixology rather than about the other two.

Blogger Jon D. January 06, 2018 1:26 AM  

Comixology is where it's at digital comics wise

Blogger Dire Badger January 06, 2018 1:57 AM  

What's with all these comixology guys? I have never heard of it, and never heard of any of the people pushing it. It's like this site or whatever suddenly decided that AH was a 'thing' so they hired a couple of dozen spammers.

Blogger Dave January 06, 2018 8:54 AM  

Jon D. is a spammer now? Banned from attending Worldcon, kicked off Facebook, comments at VP and he is accused of being a spammer.

Seriously though Jon, on Micah and the Hatman the other day you never mentioned the Alt★Hero novel you're writing or will be writing?

Blogger Gordon Scott January 06, 2018 9:26 AM  

I have no idea about any of this. I supported Alt Hero because it looked like fun. I haven't purchased a comic book in at least 30 years. I do remember when the price on the racks went from 10 cents to 12: a shocking introduction to how inflation can ravage an economy.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit January 06, 2018 5:30 PM  

Checked previous indie comics bought from Amazon and the source was just Amazon Digital Technology.

Libraries use Hoopla.

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