Robot 6

Vaughan and Martin launch name-your-price digital comic

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I was excited by the teasers for Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s creator-owned projectSaga is one of my favorite current reads, and I love anything the artist draws — and now I’m pleased to see the actual announcement doesn’t disappoint.

Rather publish a traditional miniseries, which is what I was expecting, the Doctor Strange: The Oath collaborators have reteamed for Panel Syndicate, a website where they’ll release digital comics in a variety of formats, all DRM-free, which will undoubtedly please those who have been critical the the industry’s predominant digital-delivery methods. What’s more, the creators are allowing readers to name their price, although “we think 99 cents is a pretty fair asking price for our new issues” (hitting upon another hot-button subject in the digital debate, that $2.99 or $3.99 is too expensive for a standard-length comic).

Panel Syndicate debuts with The Private Eye, described as “a detective story set in 2076, when everyone in the United States has a secret identity. Our protagonist is a member of the paparazzi, outlaw private investigators who dig up the kind of personal dirt no longer readily available through search engines. It’s a mystery with lots of masks, but no superpowers.”

The 32-page first issue (of an expected 10) is available now on the Panel Syndicate website, although I’ve been unable to purchase it (I keep getting the message, “This recipient is currently unable to receive money”). And even if you can’t buy it yet, you can still check out a three-page preview.

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Got through checkout with paypal quickly. One of the easiest impulse buys I’ve ever made.

$0.99 seems too little for 32 pages, but I could see people giving less for #1 as they sample it.

Simon DelMonte

March 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

Call me old fashioned, but it’s disappointing that they don’t plan to publish this on paper. I will give it a try, but I remain attached to the old ways

“Call me old fashioned, but it’s disappointing that they don’t plan to publish this on paper.”

On the last page, BKV mentions doing a Kickstarter once they’ve completed the comic.

Yeah, got it the second I heard about it. Pretty awesome comic too. Marcos Martin kicking ass on interiors and BKV telling a story about the death of internet on the internet. Can’t wait for the next issue and I’m supporting this with my whole comicbooky heart!

JK – I read that more along the lines of, they decided not to do Kickstarter because they wanted to release Private Eye as it was being produced rather than asking for money and then producing the entire thing. Combined with the statement in the FAQ that says “we don’t currently have plans for THE PRIVATE EYE to ever appear in print” and I think waiting for a collection to appear on paper might not be the best bet if you really want to read it.

Ah, you’re right Stephen … I read it as him saying they were holding off.

Yeah, a lot of people seem confused by the print/digital situation, especially since you kind of have to read the FAQ nad the end word thing to get the full picture.

They say they’re never going to put in print.

I’m going to with fan demand will soon have them reverse that decision. I honestly see no reason for them to pass up money.

So wait, in the FAQ, Vaughan says…

“Sorry, we don’t currently have plans for THE PRIVATE EYE to ever appear in print. We still love paper comics, especially the retailers who sell them, but this is something different.”

But from what JK says, does the inside of the comic say something different?

@Jason Green
“Marcos and I really like sites like Kickstarter, but as relatively old hands in the biz, we didn’t want to shake the tin cup until we had a finished product to share.”

Yeah, I read that statement as “we’ll do a Kickstarter once we finish the project,” but I hadn’t read the FAQs.

I like that these guys kept their mouths shut and heads down until they had a book. No convention talk, no rumors, no Kickstarter, no vaporware on Twitter, they just made it. They teased it the day before it came out and then released it on their own terms.

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