It's not easy to promote indie comics, or at least it's not easy to get anyone to listen or respond to that promotion. And back when I was cold-calling retailers and e-blasting the hell out of various comic review websites for Division 18, the response was so small on both counts that we could only put out one printed issue through Silent Devil. It was actually cheaper for us to just put the next two issues online for free than it would have been to self-publish them. And now the book is in a strange limbo where we want to keep it going--and, in fact, we are keeping it going in small doses, like in the upcoming Dremo's Taphouse book--but question whether there's enough interest from readers to bother.
But that sad tale leads to some pretty cool news for someone else. One of the bright spots during the mostly failed promotion of D18 was the enthusiastic support we got from one reviewer, Dave Baxter, at a site called Broken Frontier. (Sadly, those reviews have since been lost after a recent BF redesign.) We joked that he was our #1 (and only) fan--which was probably not far from the truth--and would include links to his hyperbolic praise for our comic every chance we got.
Well, Dave has moved on to bigger and better things. And not even just something moderately better, like writing his own comics or starting his own personal review site. No, Dave (with his partner Hermes Pique) is in the process of revolutionizing the whole damn comic industry with his made-for-mobile comics company, Robot Comics!
Robot Comics isn't the only company taking part in revolutionizing comics, but it is nice to see that it is at the forefront of the paradigm shift, as evidenced by their inclusion in a story about "The Future of Pulp" on CNN.com today.
I'm not yet convinced that I would ever be comfortable or interested in reading my weekly pull of comics on a computer screen, Kindle, or some other handheld device, but there is a whole new generation of potential comic readers who live and die by the tiny gadgets they carry around, and have a psychic aversion to paper--so this sort of initiative is what is going to keep the industry alive. Plus, consider my sorry song about indie comic struggles, where it was more cost effective to give our hard work away for free because printing costs are so high. If we had something like Robot Comics back on 2006-07, it would have saved us a lot of headache and heartbreak and given you a lot more D18. Robot Comics may very well become the next home for D18, if we can hunker down and adapt our made-for-print pages into something compatible with new technologies.
So, congratulations to Dave, our #1 fan and one of the new heroes of comics! Hopefully, he'll get to see more of the book he loved, in a whole new context.