Three Questions With Gabe Bautista

GaboWe’re on a roll with our weekly THREE QUESTIONS interview series! This week we were lucky enough to grab some time with digital comics creator Gabe Bautista (a.k.a. Gabo).

You might be familiar with Gabo’s art from his work with Oni Press (THE LIFE AFTER), DC Comics (ALL STAR WESTERN, THE SPIRIT), his self-published webcomic (JESUS CHRIST: IN THE NAME OF THE GUN) or Image Comics (COMIC BOOK TATOO) – for which he won an Eisner Award. He’s currently working with digital comics collective Thrillbent on ALBERT THE ALIEN and, lest we forget, he’s the creator behind the comic book battling site Entervoid.’

With our THREE QUESTIONS series we presented the same three questions to different digital comics creators, innovators, and pioneers. The similarities (and differences) in their answers is often both interesting and enlightening.

ALBERT THE ALIEN by Gabe Bautista and Trevor Mueller

ALBERT THE ALIEN by Gabe Bautista and Trevor Mueller

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

GABO: Innovation. The way that comics are read online, the pacing most importantly can now be dictated by the writer. A perfect example is this book I’m currently drawing for Trevor Mueller called ALBERT THE ALIEN, which is not only hosted as a webcomic but also on Mark Waid‘s Thrillbent website. At one point in the story when we reveal the identity of the mastermind behind a big mystery, in print form you turn the page and you are presented with a drawing of the character right? Well on Thrillbent, my writer Trevor, builds up the suspense by making each click of your mouse (clicks are used to progress the story forward or backward) reveals a new panel showing a different panel with a different character, each one reacting to the news differently. This new way of reading comics gives the creative team more control on how the story is paced, it’s really exciting to plan and imagine how to build up suspense that could never be achieved via print or even typical web comics.

PLANET PANIC by Gabe Bautista and Gene Goldstein

PLANET PANIC by Gabe Bautista and Gene Goldstein

One other amazing new frontier of digital comics is slightly animated webcomics. My buddy Gene Goldstein and I are working on a project that has the slightest of animations in each panel, like rain falling, a twinkle in a girls eye, smoke coming off a cigarette as the cherry pulses with a glow. Pretty amazing stuff you can’t otherwise do on paper!

CBTT: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

GABO: One of the worst things about digital specific content is the idea that digital comics can’t be seen by people who live in towns with no internet, or electricity etc. I am a first generation Mexican, and when I was a kid my parents would drag us to their technology free hometowns. I distinctly remember my father’s town didn’t even have a phone. Not one. If someone wanted to call you, they would have to call the next town over (which was about a twenty minute drive away) and ask for you, then some kid on a motorbike would have to race to the town you’re in and try to find you. That’s rough.

THE LIFE AFTER by Gabe Bautista and Joshua Hale Fialkov

THE LIFE AFTER by Gabe Bautista and Joshua Hale Fialkov

CBTT: That’s a really great point. It’s easy to forget that not everywhere in the world is quite as wired as, say, New York City.

GABO: The town has since upgraded and acquired high speed internet and cell phones, and I know it’s a silly thing to worry about as communication technology is getting cheaper all the time, but still – there are some places out there that won’t get to see your product. Then again, on the print side of the issue, I remember bringing my print comics to Mexico and the kids out there would flip the hell out. It was tough trying to find comics out there, you could only really get them in the big cities, and even then they were a bit hard to find.

CBTT: What do you see in the future for digital comics?

GABO: Color e-paper. Where is my damn color e-paper!? I love reading comics on my iPad, but it gets a bit annoying at times. I’ve had a PaperWhite Kindle for a while now and I love reading novels on it, and even sometimes download a few comics that I know will look good in black and white. HELLBOY in particular looks pretty nice, and they’ve got that panel-to-panel system that ComiXology uses, so its not so hard to read it on the tiny device. But still, I’m scared that eInk might have lost the battle against tablets. Especially with how long batteries are lasting these days.

More realistically speaking though, the future for digital comics I feel will be download codes you get from print copies. I’ve seen Marvel and DC doing this as of late on select titles. I hope that someday it’ll be as common as you it is when buying Blurays, and getting a download code for iTunes. God knows I’m running out of room in my house for all these print books – how nice would it be to be able to get rid of the ones I probably won’t read again for ages, and keep them digitally?

CBTT: Pretty nice.

Gabo is currently hard at work Kickstarting a print volume of ALBERT THE ALIEN. You can find more of his work on his personal website or his DeviantArt page. You can also follow him directly on Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.

Three Questions With Liam Sharp

Liam SharpOur weekly THREE QUESTION interview series with digital comics thinkers, creators, innovators, and pioneers continues this week with someone that is arguable all of the above – Liam Sharp.

Death's Head II by Liam Sharp & Ryan Brown.

Death’s Head II by Liam Sharp & Ryan Brown.

You might recognize Liam by his many comic credits, from his early illustration work with 2000 AD on JUDGE DREDD and DEATH’S HEAD II to his later work with Marvel and DC Comics where he contributed his unique style to the likes of THE X-MEN, SPIDER-MAN, THE HULK, BATMAN, SUPERMAN and others. In addition to his illustration work, Liam is also the founder of a critically acclaimed and award-winning publishing company, Mam Tor Publishing, showcasing a variety of independent, fantasy, and science fiction comics and prose. That’s not all! Liam is also the Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Madefire, a pioneering digital comics storytelling platform whose motion books blend elements of comic storytelling, animation, audio, and even video game sensibilities for a wholly unique reading experience.

Liam was kind enough to take part in our three question interviews. His singular perspective with both print and digital publishing as an artist, writer, editor and innovator is a welcome addition to the series!

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

Motion Books are short burst, episodic, digital reading experiences that combine audio and visual elements.

Motion Books are short burst, episodic, digital reading experiences that combine audio and visual elements.

SHARP: For me it’s the fact that it really is a new medium, so the old rules can be broken! It’s rare to get to use your skills – words and pictures – to create an entirely original experience. And the extent that creators choose to embrace the possibilities is wholly subjective. A digital comic can be completely authentic to the original medium, with no frills, or it can incorporate motion, sound, timing – new ways of revealing the imagery via masks, or fades or slide-ins. I also love how the aspect of time means you no longer have to establish a top left to bottom right reading standard. The eye is led by the next reveal, so you can take the reader wherever you want to go within the confines of the screen. And I think sound adds much more to the experience than we ever expected. The grammar for digital-first reading is just evolving!

CAPTAIN STONE by Liam Sharp, Christina McCormack, Cody Garcia, Joe Costello & Box Of Toys Audio

CAPTAIN STONE by Liam Sharp, Christina McCormack, Cody Garcia, Joe Costello & Box Of Toys Audio

We know, too, that people who find digital comics or motion books online are not all comic fans to start with, so it can lead them to print comics. I don’t believe the mediums are in any way mutually exclusive.

CBTT: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

SHARP: I’m not really seeing a negative – other than iPads aren’t particularly great to read on in bright light!

CBTT: What do you see in the future for digital comics?

SHARP: It’s wide open. I hope people continue to explore the possibilities. I think a new wave of creators will burn down the established bastions of storytelling – all the stuff we old pen, ink and print guys have to unlearn – and they will build myriad digital constructions in bold and varied forms, far beyond the silent constraints of 22 pages.

CBTT: Exploration is the key!

Liam’s latest venture is Madefire. You can learn out more about Madefire from their website or the motion books section of DeviantArt. You can also find Madefire on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Madefire motion books are available through a free iOS App.

You can find more of Liam’s personal work on his personal website, his DeviantArt page, or on the Mam Tor Publishing website. You can also follow Liam directly on Twitter and, of course, be sure to check out episodic his Motion Book – CAPTAIN STONE IS MISSING!

Three Questions With Steve Ellis

Steve Ellis Welcome back to THREE QUESTIONS our weekly conversation with digital comics creators and innovators. This week we’re talking to Steve Ellis. You might recognize Steve’s mainstream work for Marvel and DC Comics on characters like GREEN LANTERN, IRON MAN, and the WINTER GUARD but he’s also the Harvey Award winning creator behind ComiXology’s first digital original series BOX 13 and Zuda Comics’ debut series HIGH MOON. He’s currently partnered with writer David Gallaher for another digital original comic, winning critical praise from the likes of Boing Boing and The Hollywood Reporter, with THE ONLY LIVING BOY. As always, we’ve presented Steve with the identical question we’ve asked previous participants. Steve’s unique insight into the digital comics creative process is a welcome addition to the series.

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

ELLIS: It allows you the ability to interface with the reader in a way that takes advantage of technology. For example, the way BOX 13 was created for the iPhone, we were able to consider the reader experience in an individual way; the pace of the story is dictated not only by panel changes, but more significantly by the speed by with the reader clicks through panel-to-panel and screen-to-screen.

BOX13 BY Steve Ellis & David Gallaher

BOX13 BY Steve Ellis & David Gallaher

It’s exciting because it can be a much more interactive experience. Digital also affords us the ability of being directly interactive between the creators and the readers. The feedback loop is immediate for the creator, and it makes the reader more invested in the project community.

CBTT: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

ELLIS: From an artistic standpoint, it can be visually restricting on how you design a page. A lot of artists enjoy the freedom that comes with wacky panel design, but that’s restricted when you have to consider devices like a phone or iPad. It’s harder to do more intricate, fluid panel design when you feel restricted to the ratio of a smartphone screen. The rectangle can be oppressive!

THE ONLY LIVING BOY by Steve Ellis & David Gallaher

THE ONLY LIVING BOY by Steve Ellis & David Gallaher

CBTT: What do you see in the future for digital comics?

ELLIS: Hopefully, as more and more devices appear on the scene, I would like to see and create more projects that interact with the reader more. I think that rather than giving people an animated experience to watch like motion comics do, I would like to see something where the reading speed, flow, tempo and style is fitted more to an individual readers pace. The nice thing about digital with regard to comics is kind of like Scott McCloud said – the canvas is infinite! I think we’ll see more experimentation. There will always be conservatives who think paper first, and there will always be people trying to push the limits of technology. But I think we’re going to settle somewhere in-between flashy technology and a paper dominant model, in a place where the reader’s interactive experience is paramount to how the material is processed. Too often, the technology wants to move us toward animation, which leaves the readers as simply viewers, and therefore less engaged. I’d like to see comics that allow the reader to interact with the material in the same way that one might turn a page (flipping panels, choosing the direction of the image flow) without affecting the story.

CBTT: Fantastic and valuable insight. Thanks for playing along, Steve!

As the Chief Creative Officer behind Bottled Lightning, Steve is hard at work on THE ONLY LIVING BOY. However, if you’d like to see more of Steve’s work you can check out his personal website. You can also find Steve on Tumblr, DeviantArt, Facebook and Twitter.

Three Questions With Alex De Campi

Alex De CampiWelcome back to THREE QUESTIONS – The Comic Book Think Tank ongoing series of questions and answers with digital comics creators, innovators, and storytellers. This week we’re thrilled to speak with filmmaker and Eisner-nominated comic creator Alex De Campi!

Alex has been on the leading edge of digital comics and is one of the original “turbomedia” storytellers, notably on ComiXology’s platform using their “Guided View” format as a creative tool instead of merely a way to help read print comics on small devices. With her original series VALENTINE, Alex didn’t just help popularize a method of storytelling but also experimented with the creative process itself, effectively crowd-sourcing the translation of the comic into multiple languages. She has recently migrated VALENTINE away from ComiXology and joined forces with the progressive digital comics collective Thrillbent where she continues to tell great stories.

VALENTINE by Alex De Campi & Christine Larsen

VALENTINE by Alex De Campi & Christine Larsen

As the headline states, we’ve asked Alex three questions; the very same three questions asked of other digital comics creators. We think the similarities (and the differences) in their answers is often enlightening.

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

DE CAMPI: That any transition can be a page turn. That you can’t see ahead and take in the next four-to-ten panels at a glance, the way you do with a paper book. As a writer, I find my pacing is pretty consistent whether I’m writing for digital-first or dead tree, but the experience of digital-first is so heightened for the reader, especially with my style of writing, which is thriller/suspense.

SMOKE/ASH by Alex De Campi with gor Kordey, Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Sienkiewicz, Richard Pace, Colleen Doran & Dan McDaid

SMOKE/ASH by Alex De Campi with Igor Kordey, Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Sienkiewicz, Richard Pace, Colleen Doran & Dan McDaid

The writer also has a much greater control of the reader’s experience of time in a digital comic. Although you can slow a reader down or speed them up via the number of panels on a printed page, you have so many more tools to do this digitally, from having the reader tap to bring up dialogue, to adding in spacer panels or cutaways/reflective moments to drive home a character’s thought process or emotions.

CBTT: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

DE CAMPI: I don’t see a lot of “worsts” with digital-first comics, except the badly-done ones, but hey, 70% of everything is badly done, isn’t it? Anything that overly invades on the reader’s control of time is problematic to me. Voiceovers, animation that’s not simple effect/atmosphere loops (eg. rain, fire, snow, etc). I talk in my “bests” about how digital comics give the creator more control of time, but you have to respect an ultimate line. The reader has to choose for the next thing to happen, and when it happens, by clicking/swiping. You can’t foist it on them – eg. by having an animation or voice dialogue just start five seconds in, unexpectedly. As a reader, that makes me so stabby.

GRINDHOUSE by Alex De Campi, Chris Peterson & Simon Fraser

GRINDHOUSE by Alex De Campi, Chris Peterson & Simon Fraser

CBTT: What do you see in the future for digital comics?

DE CAMPI: I think we’re going to see short, fully-animated trailers/intros. I think there will be a lot more borrowed from video games – not necessarily “Choose Your Own Adventure” (but I’d love to see that done really well. I fear the production of the redundant plot lines would make it financially unviable, though) – but, other video game tricks and tropes: looped atmosphere animations, looped music, SFX on transitions. I think digital comics have barely reached 15% of their potential. And if some nice entertainment company would just give me a good budget and a skilled coder, I will happily take that frontier and march it well forwards into the unknown. Ad astra!

CBTT: On est ad astra mollis e terris via!

If you’re interested in seeing Alex’s storytelling technique in action you should check out VALENTINE on Thrillbent. Alex is also the creator of SMOKE/ASHES and GRINDHOUSE, both available from Dark Horse Comics. Of course, for the social media minded, you can also follow Alex on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Three Question With Matthew Petz

Matthew PetzOur regular series of THREE QUESTIONS continues this week with digital comic writer and artist Matthew Petz. Matt is most well known for his original digital comics series WAR OF THE WOODS, a former Zuda Comics winner about an alien invasion told from the point of view of the woodland creatures that try and defend their home. He’s just started work on LORDLESS, a fantasy series about a harsh, violent hero set in an bitter arctic wasteland. Matt’s also done extensive production work in the comic industry for companies like comics Madefire, Random House and GoManga that brings a unique perspective to his approach to digital publishing. As the name implies, we’ve asked Matt three questions; the same exact three questions we’ve asked other digital comics innovators. The similarities (and differences) in their answers is often enlightening.

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

WAR OF THE WOODS by Matthew Petz

WAR OF THE WOODS by Matthew Petz

PETZ: I think comics that are made with digital delivery in mind feel more natural then something that’s simply repurposed. It can be as simple as drawing in landscape or as innovative as adding sound and animation. When you take advantage of the technology, you’ll always be ahead of the game.

CBTT: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

PETZ: I still think some people think of digital comics as secondary to print. That’s changing, but it still feels slow.

CBTT: What do you see in the future for digital comics?

PETZ: As technology advances I only see things getting more innovative and exciting. We’ll probably have to redefine what a “comic” is. Paper books and pamphlets are great, but they are limited. I think we’ll see more creators taking advantage of the exciting storytelling opportunities digital allows!

LORDLESS by Matthew Petz and Ron Perazza

LORDLESS by Matthew Petz and Ron Perazza

CBTT: Just to follow up on what you said about digital being second to print, do you think that’s a general attitude for readers or do you think it’s something specific to comic book fans?

PETZ: I have a feeling this is probably a very specific view of comic fans. Whereas ebooks have been accepted as books, digital comics are still seen as lesser to some extent. They aren’t as “real” as print book. I’m pretty sure it’s a left-over collector’s mentality and culture. It’s probably generational and at some point barely anyone will care, but it’s not there yet.

If I was to guess, it’s going to take a massive IP along with superstar talent doing something only in the digital space to really destroy the perceived second class citizenship of digital comics.

CBTT: Thanks, Matt!

You can find more of Matt’s work on his website and his DeviantArt page. You can also follow him on Twitter and Tumblr. The first episode of LORDLESS can be read free online at Union Combine while WAR OF THE WOODS: Season One and WAR OF THE WOODS: Season Two are available through comiXology.

St. Patrick’s Day Digital Comics Roundup

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the holiday we thought we’d focus on a few digital and webcomics by Irish creators. Enjoy!

SUPERHERO HELP DESK by  Tree Farrell, Kerrie Smith & Hugo Boylan

SUPERHERO HELP DESK by Tree Farrell, Kerrie Smith & Hugo Boylan

SUPERHERO HELP DESK – Creators Tree Farrell, Kerrie Smith and Hugo Boylan have created a light-hearted, fun comic about the unenviable job of providing information, troubleshooting problems, and providing support to the peculiar problems of super heroes and villains.

BUNSEN BUNNIES – A webcomic by Ann Harrison, John Clerkin and Derm McGuigan that follows the misadventures of a medical student Frank N. Stein as he tries to become a doctor; however, his plans go awry and soon he’s hip deep in mad science lab rabbits!

HENBRA COMICS by Mike Heneghan & Kody Peters

HENBRA COMICS by Mike Heneghan & Kody Peters

HENBRA COMICS – Over on the Henbra Comics site (and on FIVE HOUR BREAKFAST) creator Mike Heneghan, along with fellow collaborators, is posting a series of one-and-done gag strips that often poke fun at the mainstream world of superheroes and pop culture.

Bonus! If you’re into excellent comic art you might want to check out the Eclectic Micks; a collaborative art blog by Irish professional comic book artists Stephen Mooney, Stephen Thompson, Len O’Grady, Nick Roche, Will Sliney, Bob Byrne, Declan Shalvey and Tomm Moore.

There are, of course, a wealth of Irish creators making great comics. Got a favorite of your own? Leave a link in the comments!

Three Questions with Dan Goldman

Dan GoldmanWith our THREE QUESTIONS series we ask different digital comics innovators the same three questions. The similarities (and differences) in their answers is often enlightening. This week we’re happy to continue the series with digital comics writer, artist, and speaker Dan Goldman!

Dan has been at the forefront of experimenting with progressive storytelling for years, first as a co-founder of the webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE, where he serialized KELLY, and then with the critically acclaimed webcomic SHOOTING WAR (with Anthony Lappé), originally published by Smith Magazine.

SHOOTING WAR by Dan Goldman and Anthony Lappé

SHOOTING WAR by Dan Goldman & Anthony Lappé

SHOOTING WAR was hailed as a “must read” by Entertainment Weekly, “a subversively buzz-worthy online comic” by USA Today and earned him an Eisner nomination for Best Digital Comic. He follow up with 08: A GRAPHIC DIARY OF THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL (with journalist Michael Crowley), an ambitious – and successful – long-form comics journalism project written and drawn in real-time during the historic 2008 Presidential election.

Dan was kind enough to take some time from his current project, RED LIGHT PROPERTIES, to answer our Three Questions. Here the are!

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

DAN: Letting the storytelling be led by the capabilities of its medium is always the ideal situation, that’s why digital-first comics sound so sexy when you describe them like that. But there’s a huge problem already from that point: digital-first comics all seem to be designed for iPads by default, but “digital” doesn’t mean one screen-size (or even a standard resolution), so you get a range of varying results from beautiful to quite shitty. If you have the right device (read: the iPad), the reading experience is downright delicious.

But that lack of standards makes for an unevenness in a new medium that print simply doesn’t have to contend with, being a fixed-form medium. These are of course fits and starts as “comics” slow-morphs into its next evolutionary phase, but it’s hard to hold digital comics up as something revolutionary if they only look right on some devices, y’know?

CBTT: Absolutely. The freedom inherent in digital original work comes with it’s own challenges. So with that in mind, what is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

DAN: The extra steps you take in innovating for digital are all storytelling beats you can lose going “backwards” to vanilla print pages… which unfortunately is where the majority of the comic-reading audience is.

The other worst thing about digital comics is the fact that they’re digital, which means a majority of the current US comics readership will simply not engage with them until they’re in print. I know that probably comes off bitchy, but I’ve seen a huge jump in the readers willing to give my RED LIGHT PROPERTIES a shot now that it’s available in book form. Like, it never even existed for them before.

RED LIGHT PROPERTIES by Dan Goldman

RED LIGHT PROPERTIES by Dan Goldman

Granted, any second chance to make your big debut is cool, but that doesn’t negate the hair-pulling freakouts trying to connect with that audience when you’re digital-only. RED LIGHT PROPERTIES lived digital-first in various formats/platforms for years, and it’s only now that there’s a book will most comic readers try it out. Obviously I find that thinking frustrating (even kinda neanderthal) after many years in the digital trenches, but that’s my recent experience in our #comicmarket right, having a book out for 29 days after it lived digitally for several years.

The saving grace here is that I deeply believe this is is already changing with the generation coming up now raised reading all kinds of digital media content on tablets, and Comixology/etc are instrumental in helping this shift happen, even if they’re feeding into a broken distribution system instead of creating a new and better one. We’re just part of the transitional generation, so it’s our hurdle to overcome for now.

CBTT: Speaking of that new generation, what do you see in the future for digital comics?

DAN: I see an actual functioning marketplace developed around digital comics that’s not just a direct market-dependent digital extension of a system that never really worked well. A true digital publishing system with new digital-first publishers with a business model that produces (i.e. pays) creators to develop a new digital medium that is the great-grandchild of what we now call “comics”. What that looks like, I’m not sure yet, but the screen-native stuff happening now that stems from Balak’s work is certainly the beginning of it.

And as much as comics’ jump to digital formats need mutation/evolution, the thinking of comics’ readership has to embrace digital as an end-point in and of itself before if it’s ever going to fully blossom. Comics’ roots in pulps/collectibles really is holding this generation of digital comics back, if only that it keeps creators reliant on other mediums just to make a living off stories we’re already producing fully-realized versions of. Sadly, that’s nothing new in comics… but it’s even sadder that this cycle perpetuates itself over and over again from newsstand to comic store to digital app and (hopefully not) beyond.

CBTT: Hopefully not.

Praise for RED LIGHT PROPERTIES by Dan Goldman

Praise for RED LIGHT PROPERTIES by Dan Goldman

Thanks to Dan for going above and beyond with his answers! Dan’s RED LIGHT PROPERTIES is published by Monkeybrain Comics and has been featured on Boing Boing, Nerdist, Wired and Publisher’s Weekly. You can find more works by Dan on Amazon, visit his website, follow him on Tumblr or follow both Dan and RED LIGHT PROPERTIES on Twitter.

International Women’s Day

If you weren’t already aware, March 8th is International Women’s Day; a time to celebrate the achievements of women, show support for the women in your life, and inspire the next generation of women to go even further. In honor of the day we thought it might be nice to showcase some digital comics created by women. Some you might be familiar with, others you might not, but all are worth checking out. Of course, if you have any favorites that aren’t on the list please feel free to post them in the comments. Enjoy!

Ava's Demon by Michelle Czajkowski

Ava’s Demon by Michelle Czajkowski

AVA’S DEMON by Michelle Czajkowski – Follow the story of Ava and Wrathia, the demon that’s haunted her since birth, in a story that is a unique blend of magic and science fiction.

CHESTER 5000 XYV (NSFW) by Jess Fink – In this erotic, Victorian, steampunk romp, an inventor builds a sex-bot to satisfy his wife but fails to anticipate that they’ll actually fall in love!

DIGGER by Ursula Vernon – Winner of the Hugo Award for best graphic fiction, Digger is a complex epic about a wombat’s journey set against an often surreal backdrop where humans, animals and more co-exist.

Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

GIRLS WITH SLINGSHOTS by Danielle Corsetto – Hazel and Jamie, along with McPedro the talking cactus, get into an assortment of misadventures with friends, lovers, and booze in this funny, often ribald, comedy.

GRONK by Katie Cook – A heat-warming, clever comedy about Gronk, the ex-monster far too adorable to be scary, and her human companion Dale.

HARK! A VAGRANT by Kate Beaton – This New York Times Bestseller and Harvey Award winning comic is an informative, sometimes absurd, and always entertaining tour of history, literature, authors, politics, and more.

HIS FACE ALL RED by Emily Carroll – A short but haunting story about two brothers, jealousy, fear, and death.

Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler

Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler

LACKADAISY by Tracy J. Butler – Prohibition-era adventure and hijinks about as bootleggers, rum-runners, gangsters, and flappers are reimagined as cats!

MUSEUM OF MISTAKES by Julia Wertz – A series of comics that are part memoir, part autobiography, and part observational humor with the signature wit of Eisner Award nominated cartoonist Julia Wertz.

MY CARDBOARD LIFE by Philippa Rice – A charming webcomic of short gags involving characters created entirely from cut paper, cardboard and collage.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

NIMONA by Noelle Stevenson – A fun, funny, and often thought-provoking examination of good and evil as Lord Ballister Blackheart and his protegé, the shape-shifting Nimona, confront Ballister’s nemesis, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin.

NOTHING CAN POSSIBLY GO WRONG by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks – It’s a no-holds-barred world of high school class warfare and robot death matches. Nothing can possibly go wrong!

OCTOPUS PIE by Meredith Gran – A genuine and humorous webcomic that focuses on the lives of two women, the cynical Eve and free-spirited Hanna, living in Brooklyn, New York.

SUPER MUSIC MAGIC ACADEMY by Jillian Tamaki – This smart and relatable Ignatz Award winning webcomic is a series of shorts centered on the anxieties, influences, ideals and schoolyard drama of super powered teens.

THUNDERPAW by Jen Lee – Best friends Bruno and Ollie are lost. As they try to survive and search for home together, the world around them continues to crumble.

Three Questions With Geoffo & Mast

Geoffo Our series of Three Questions continues this week with two gentlemen on the leading edge of “turbomedia” – Geoffo and Mast. In fact you may remember Mast from an earlier Comic Book Think Tank post about the history of Turbomedia. In addition to chronicling digital comics Geoffo is also a prolific digital comics creator and winner the Reader’s Choice Award at the Stumptown Comicfest for his work on VIC BOONE with Shawn Aldridge. Mast is also a dedicated digital comics creator and one of the organizers of the Lille Comics Festival in Northern France. Mast Together they’ve collaborated on a number of progressive digital comics for Thrillbent in addition to working with Marvel on their Infinite Comics line. So, guys, Three Questions…

PAX ARENA by Geoffo, Mast, and Balak

PAX ARENA by Geoffo, Mast, and Balak

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

GEOFFO & MAST: This is still unexplored territory, so it’s very exciting. Digital storytelling is so different, really, and not being limited to the classic physical canvas anymore is so liberating. We can create new things, push boundaries and sign our fan’s tablets with a knife!

CBTT: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?

GEOFFO & MAST: Stories that don’t use the format enough. Don’t play it safe! Don’t think “print”, think “screens.”

CBTT: What do you see in the future for digital comics?

THE PANDAS SHOW by Geoffo and Mast

THE PANDAS SHOW by Geoffo and Mast

GEOFFO & MAST: Well, we’re launching a company specialized in digital storytelling for the screen, so we kinda hope it’s gonna be a glorious and bright future! There’ll be more stories made specifically for digital reading. Technology will probably change, we’ll just have to adapt and evolve with it. The most important thing will always to make great stories first.

CBTT: I know this is technically a fourth question but you mentioned adapting to evolving technology and I think that’s has a big impact on the types of stories that can be told. I know you’ve done some work in Flash in the past. What are your current favorite tools to create comics?

MAST: We use HTML5 and JavaScript mostly, since you can get the same results as with Flash. It’s interesting because we had to learn how to program a bit, something we didn’t expect we’d have to do, back when we started doing comic books.

CBTT: How about during the creative process? Do you still create comics by hand?

GEOFFO: Photoshop and Manga Studio.

MAST: And Flash for PAX ARENA.

GEOFFO: Really?

MAST: Were doing way too many projects on different software!

CBTT: Ha! Thanks, guys.

GEOFFO & MAST: Merci!

If you’re interested in Geoffo and Mast’s digital comics and “turbomedia” work you should check out THE PANDAS SHOW and PAX ARENA from Thrillbent, BOUNCER: A GHOST STORY on L’Express with fellow creators François Boucq and Alejandro Jodorowsky (note: this is a French language comic), the later issues of IRON MAN: Fatal Frontier, and the upcoming AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Infinite Comics from Marvel. You can also follow both Geoffo and Mast on Twitter.

We’ll be back next week with an all new digital comics creator for another set of answers to the Three Questions. In the meantime, as always, feel free to leave your own answers in the comments.

Three Questions With Mark Waid

Earlier this week we announced the debut of a new feature on the Comic Book Think Tank blog aimed at offering different perspectives on creating comics specifically with digital reading and distribution in mind. Today we kick off that feature with none other than Mark Waid!

Mark Waid Not only is Mark a New York Times best-selling author and an Eisner award-winning writer with critically acclaimed runs on THE FLASH, IMPULSE, KINGDOM COME, CAPTAIN AMERICA, 52, DAREDEVIL, IRREDEEMABLE (and more) but he’s also the a tireless advocate for exploring digital storytelling and the founder of the progressive digital comics website Thrillbent. To say that Mark is passionate about comics, their history, and their potential as a medium is an understatement. So…

CBTT: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?
Mark: Not reading them through a cardboard tube. In other words, being able to take in the whole page at once so the artist’s overall storytelling and design come through.

CBTT: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?
Mark: Tough one. Other than the nagging sense that they’re more “ephemeral” in a way because they’re not tactile, not tangible–a condition that causes me no lost sleep–I can’t think of any “worst.”

CBTT: What do you see in the future for digital comics?
Mark: A continuing broadening of genre and subject matter as comics once more becomes a mass medium.

INSUFFERABLE by Waid, Krause & Woodard

INSUFFERABLE by Waid, Krause & Woodard

There you have it! Short and sweet. You can find more of Mark’s digital comics work on Thrillbent; look for IN THE PI OF THE BEHOLDER, LUTHER, IF YOU’RE SO SMART (warning, this one is Flash), and INSUFFERABLE. He’s also working on DAREDEVIL: ROAD WARRIOR with INSUFFERABLE co-creator Peter Krause for Marvel’s digital original Infinite Comics line. And of course you can follow him on Twitter.

Don’t forget to come back next week for another set of answers to the Three Questions! In the meantime, feel free to leave answers of your own in the comments.