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While the whole rest of the world, it seems, is experimenting with digital comics, Box Brown has been going the opposite direction, publishing indie print comics through his own Retrofit Comics. I talked to him when he was launching the first season of Retrofit Comics, in fall 2011, and now that he’s back for a second round, I thought it would be a good time to ask him what he learned from the first iteration and what he will be doing differently this time.
Robot 6: What did you learn from your first year as the publisher of Retrofit Comics?
Box Brown: I think I spread myself too thin. I released 17 comics in about 18 months while working on a graphic novel of my own and I was working too hard. I wasn’t able to give each release the attention it deserved. Also, I learned a lot about “seasons” in the retail world. Stuff slows down a lot in the Summer. And, I think I also learned that people actually wanted a comic from Box Brown the cartoonist as well. Publishing your own work until a brand like this is kind of a weird feeling. I think I was uncomfortable with it for a while, but I’ve learned to say “fuck it”
Your sit-up-and-take-notice webcomic of the week is Sexbuzz, a smart, suspenseful, and (yes) sexy science-fiction tale from cartoonist Andrew White. Set in an ever so slightly futuristic city currently undergoing “the worst fucking period of all recorded history,” it focuses on a quartet of twentysomethings whose dependency on an illegal, intense drug-like sex technology called sexbuzz — and on each other — draws them into an underworld of crime and conspiracy. But the plot is just part of the comic’s appeal: The focus on the characters, the lush graytoned art, and a continuous vertical-scroll layout that lends itself both to gripping action sequences and breathtaking abstract passages combine for a comic with multiple, complementary strengths.
White hasn’t made a lot of waves online that I can see, but his art and writing for Sexbuzz are both crazily accomplished — fans of the thoughtful near-future science-fiction comics of Dash Shaw and Paul Pope will find much to admire, both visually and narratively. And White only updates the comic in chapter-length chunks, which means it’s only updated every few months but is much easier to follow from one installment to the next.