Author: Todd Allen

On The Economics Of Digital Comics

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Have you been noticing that the digital comics scene is a little… active… these days? You’ve got the market getting estimated at $90M for 2013. There are a lot of different reports about how many copies the same day digital editions sell. I’ve heard anywhere from 10% to 25% of the print sales. It seems to vary from title to title and by publisher.

Amazon bought Comixology and it looks like that sale has been completed. Marvel’s announced they’re going to be selling current issues on their Marvel Comics Unlimited app, but nobody is quite sure what that means for Comixology and Amazon. Diamond is bringing back their digital initiative with new partner, Trajectory, after shutting down the old version earlier in the year. It looks like they’re going to be having DC on board with new version.

The money in digital comics in increasing. The distribution contracts are moving around like pieces on a chess board. We’re still largely stuck with DRM – partially at the insistence of publishers and the corporations they license properties from. The formats are anything but standard and the lessons of digital music seem lost on publishing, particularly comics publishing.

Over on the webcomics side of the world, crowdfunding is the new new thing. Oh, Kickstarter’s been a tool of the trade for a while, and an effective tool for pre-orders and financing color print runs. The new kid on the block is Patreon. Where Kickstarter and its class of crowdfunding sites tend to focus on the creation of an object, like a graphic novel or reprint collection, Patreon is more like a monthly subscription. SMBC (the webcomic sometimes known as Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) is over $8500/month in Patreon pledges. That projects as over $100K/year in crowdfunding income with no books to ship. OK, Zach Weinersmith (the man behind SMBC) might be a bit ahead of curve on this, but there seems to be an increasing amount of money flowing in this direction and the revenue mix is changing for a lot of people.

The digital comics world continues to evolve and we really have two schools right now: an eBook school that’s from the comic book/graphic novel tradition and a webcomic school that’s from the newspaper strip tradition. There’s a little crossover between the two and the world of print. A whole lot of cartoonists see a print book as one of the endgames for making money no matter whether the initial publishing is done on paper or with pixels.

If you’re interested the world of digital comics and how the money flows through it, I’m Kickstarting a book on the subject… through this afternoon. Time’s almost up on that. Feel free to pop on over to and have a look.

Cyber Force Kickstarter closes with a $117,000 raise

Cyber Force Kickstarter closes with a $117,000 raise

cyberforce 198x300 Cyber Force Kickstarter Closes With $117KKickstarter is a topic that tends to get people worked up, both on the pro and con sides.  Call it what you want, Top Cow just pulled in six figures to relaunch Cyber Force in what’s the biggest crowdfunding effort to date from a U.S. comics publisher (and #6 largest comics project to close on Kickstarter).

I occasionally compare crowdfunding to the days when artists had patrons who paid the bills and let the artists create.  That metaphor seems particularly apt here.  1,419 people pooled their resources to raise $117,135 which will fund 5 issues of Cyber Force with free distribution online and in print.  That averages out to roughly $82.50/person.  A very high average.

Kickstarter tells you the most popular pledge is in the $20-$25 range.  The most popular Cyber Force pledge level was the $50 level, which was also the hard cover graphic novel level.  622 people pledged there/ordered the hard cover and when you add in the higher premiums, it looks like somewhere in 800-850 range for various HC copies.  So while this wasn’t _solely_ funded on the strength of the collected edition, around half of it probably was.

The gamble here is that by making the material freely available, Cyber Force will garner a big audience for issue #6, which would theoretically be a paid purchase.  Or perhaps they can do another Kickstarter for the next arc.  Either way, Top Cow rolled the dice on this one and came out of it getting what they wanted and a little bit more.

There’s a lot left to play out with this new variation on Kickstarting a comics project.  The material has to be produced.  Reactions gauged.  The plans for issue 6 and beyond formalized and executed.  The journey has just begun, but this is going to be fascinating to watch.  New rules apply and we’re not sure what those rules are yet.

Gareb Shamus Resigns From Wizard World

As of last Thursday, Gareb Shamus is no longer president/CEO of Wizard World, Inc.  Being publicly traded, notice of this change had to be filed with the SEC.

This includes the company’s report and also includes Gareb’s letter of resignation. An SEC filing is about as official as you’re likely to get on the matter.