by: Kyle Latino
Let me start by saying that I was boycotting the new STAR TREK movie. The reasons are unimportant, because I have changed my mind. I read the STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN comic on my iPhone and was blown away by several aspects. The first thing that I noticed was the art and story are expert and engaging (pardon the Trekkie humor), but that’s evident with just a casual viewing.
What really blew me away was how sucked in I was to the comic itself. There were clearly many choice that were made in the adaptation of this comic to touch phones that took advantage of the devices: segmenting longer panels into multi-screen panels, cropping panels and letting the wordballoons outside the gutter allowing the art to breath, slight zoom in repeated panels to display all the captions from wordier panels.&n bsp; There was never a sense of claustrophobia with caption and balloons crushing the storytelling.
And lastly, I wouldn’t have bought a STAR TREK floppy comic– ever. I’ve always been selective of franchise entertainment branching out in other media. I won’t read STAR TREK books; I won’t watch any series beside the original, Next Gen, and DS9; and I won’t read the comics. Buying pages and pages of corpse-ish likenesses of compelling actors blundering through static media story-telling just doesn’t work for me. However, because I wasn’t buying a physical copy and the price of three issues at the iTunes Store was still cheaper than a single copy at my local Downtown Comics, I took the plunge. Gotta say, I’m really happy I did. See, the system works, digital comics got a person who wouldn’t buy the comic normally to give it a shot (not stealing business).
Without anymore jibba-jabba from me, some Q&A with, iVerse Media representative Michael Murphey.
So, tell us how iVerse became involved with the STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN project. Did IDW come to you, or what?
I think originally I made contact with IDW back when we first started putting iVerse together. One of the first titles I asked about was Star Trek, because I’m a life-long Trekkie. I just watched “Measure of a Man” before sitting down to do this interview. I love Star Trek, and hoped that we’d get a ch ance to bring IDW’s fantastic work on the franchise to mobile platforms. Luckily, it all worked out, and we were able to do it.
Was the comic adapted to the touch screen format in-house or by IDW?
iVerse did all the adaptations for the screen. I actually did the first 3 issues of Countdown myself. I handed the fourth issue off to another team member due to time constraints, but I wanted to do that one too. I love working on these books in any capacity…but thankfully we have a great team that works with iVerse on our adaptations, so I knew it would be in good hands.
You mentioned on your twitter that you are releasing STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN day and date with it’s print edition. Is that the first comic to do this on touch devices?
Star Trek: Countdown #3 was the first comic that I’m aware of to be released day and date on a mobile platform and in print.
Where do you perceive the purchase of iVerse copies coming from? Is it just from comic fans, curious iTunes Store shoppers? What is the target demographic, would you say?
I think people of all walks of life will purchase comics on mobile devices. In the case of Star Trek or Farscape from BOOM! you have the fans of those franchises that might not venture to the comic book store. I think we have a good chance of grabbing casual and new readers too by giving them a chance to try something new. Proof and Atomic Robo are two titles that sell incredibly well — and quite consistently — because that first issue is out there for people to try. Books like Dynamo 5 and The Red Star — all of our free books are there to grab new readers, and it’s working.
I would say that the true demographic for a digital comics reader is just anyone who owns one of the devices, and is looking for a good story. There’s something for everyone.
How about the iVerse agenda? Are you crusading to change minds and finally turn comics digital, do you see iVerse as a supplementary market with a little overlap, or do you see different and new opportunities for story-telling for the future? Where does STAR TREK: COUNTDOWN fit into that?
The iVerse Agenda is to find new readers. If you’re a hardcore old school comics fan and you want your paper comics in your hand every Wed that’s fine with us. We don’t want paper comics to ever go away – and I don’t think they will. I think a lot more single issues will find their way to digital distribution, and at some point in the future trades will be the norm, at least for smaller titles when it comes to print. We’re already starting to see that movement.
The next generation of reader is going to come from reading on screens. They’re not going to have a problem with getting comics this way, and that’s why the Digital Age of Comics starts now. Digital is a great supplemental income stream for creators right now, and at some point in the near future it will be a viable primary income source. It will provide new and unique storytelling opportunities that you can’t get on paper, and it makes world wide exposure easier than ever. So there is some amazing opportunity here, but the main thing we’re trying to do here is find those new readers.
There has been talk for the last several years about where that next generation of reader is going to come from – and I firmly believe this is it.
Can you tease us with any other titles down the pipe?
Hmm….well, we’ve got a lot more Trek coming down the pipe, we’ll be releasing the Bluewater “Female Forces” books on as many platforms as we can soon, more from all our publishing partners, and some comics created specifically for the iPhone by several creators that I think people are really going to dig. Plus, with the iPhone 3.0 update looming we’ve got some fun and interesting enhancements to the iVerse reading experience we think people are going to be really excited about….so there’s a lot coming up in 2009.
Any other comments or plugs? Questions you wished I would have asked?
Just that we’d love it if people stopped by http://www.iversecomics.com and said hello. We’ve got tons of great comics coming out for all kinds of mobile devices…and I can’t wait to be able to show you some of the stuff that I can show you yet. It’s going to be an exciting year.
Thank you very much for typing at us. The work you fellahs are doing is really good stuff.
–And of course we are open to your questions/comments/suggestions – you can email us at brainstormingcomics(at)gmail.com or contact us at http://www.brainstormingcomics.com