At Long Last, Storefront

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Today’s the day. Effective immediately, you should find a new button on our page to click. “SHOP” will take you our new Thrillbent Storefront, where you can buy downloadable collections of your favorite Thrillbent comics in PDF form, DRM-free–you buy the files, you own them, simple as that. Read them on whatever device you like, at your convenience.

Digital comics distributors like Comixology and iVerse continue to be great and valuable partners to us, and our comics will remain for sale through those platforms, as well. I get fully that there are plenty of comics readers who value the convenience of cloud-based services like the ones they offer (and–value-add for us–we genuinely like the people who run those companies). But we hear constantly from readers who prefer to own and collect the comics and files they buy so they’re accessible with or without an internet connection, and we’re happy to oblige.

Weekly CBZ files are still free to download for now, but buying the PDFs gives you exclusive bonus content designed specifically for each comic, including new covers, clickable hotlinks, behind-the-scenes essays and art, and more. Moreover, if you like what we do here at Thrillbent, these purchases are a relatively inexpensive way to show your support if you’re so inclined. I’ve said it a thousand times–we’re in this to make comics, not to maximize personal profits–but receiving money from fans and readers who feel like we’re giving them something of value in return, that’s what allows us to keep going.

With that in mind, all the collections of our flagship title, Insufferable, will be “pay what you will,” allowing you to set your own price when you buy. Yes, this means there’ll be people who will just download it for free; what we’re banking on is that there are enough of you out there who appreciate our work and our efforts who’ll maybe chip in a little more here or there, from time to time. We’ll do the work; you determine its value. If we’ve done a good job, everyone will win and we can expand this model across the Thrillbent line. I’ll let you know how the first few weeks goes.

Also of note on the storefront:

  • Collections of Pax Arena and The Walking Pandas/The Panda Show will include both English and French language editions. We’ll watch the downloads and expand Thrillbent into other languages if there’s a demand.
  • Comics aren’t just for adults! In addition to the familiar Thrillbent titles, the storefront will proudly spotlight the kid-friendly, all-ages Aw Yeah Comics! series by Art Baltazar and Franco, creators of the award-winning Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures. Unlike everything else, you won’t find Aw Yeah Comics! on the main Thrillbent site–it’s going to be the cornerstone of our soon-upcoming Thrillbent For Kids site because (a) DIGITAL COMICS FOR KIDS!, and (b) I don’t want some four-year-old blundering around the main Thrillbent site and stumbling from Aw Yeah straight to The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood. Go figure.

Launch titles on the storefront include collections of Insufferable, The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood, Pax Arena, The Eighth Seal, Moth City, and Aw Yeah Comics!, with many more to come. Click here to check it out!

Jul 30, 2013 In: Thrillbent News

PDFs, CBZs, and Downloads in General

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Almost exclusively because of my inability to lead effectively with a clear message, there’s been some confusion over the fact that, initially, we offered up free downloads of all our comics in PDF and CBZ format and now we seem to be inconsistent and all over the map on that. And that’s just around the Thrillbent offices. I can only imagine how puzzling it looks to you.

So after much deliberation, here’s what we’re gonna do. Here’s the standard policy as of today:

We will continue to offer free CBZ-format downloads of all the weekly installlments if the creators are cool with that. (For those not in the know, CBZ files are just zip files with a .cbz extension that makes them readable by a number of comics-reading apps and programs. As an app, I use ComicZeal. For Windows, I recommend CDisplay; for Mac, Simple Comic. Your mileage may vary.)

Downloadable PDFs are another story. We’ll soon get back to offering these–but with bigger chunks of story and more nicely packaged than the weekly CBZs. For one thing, we’ve found PDFs not as popular a format for downloads as the CBZs, but more importantly, led largely by the example of Tim Gibson and what he’s doing on his own Moth City site with PDF packaging, we’re going to take the extra effort to use the PDF’s hyperlink capabilities to enhance them in exciting new ways that we can’t with a CBZ.  More news on this to come very soon. But doing this right takes time and energy and personal bandwidth that we can’t free up at least until San Diego Comic Con is in the rear-view mirror, so thanks for your patience. And remember, you can always read for free online. We may be rethinking the PDFs, but there will always be free-to-read material on Thrillbent.

And feel free to hit me back with feedback in the comments. Your voices matter. We’re all in this together, building and exploring this new format and this new world….

Jul 19, 2013 In: Thrillbent News

Mark Waid Signing Schedule

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A whole bunch of Thrillbent creators are signing at Booth 1703 this San Diego Comic Con weekend, so stop by to find out exact times–we’ll be pushing out times through social media, too, so keep your eyes peeled. For me, specifically, since I’ve been asked, here’s the start of my signing schedule:

Thursday TBD, will update ASAP

Friday, 11-12 at the IDW booth

Friday 1-2 at Thrillbent (1703)

Saturday 12-1 at Thrillbent (1703)

More signings to come.  If you see me on the floor, say hi, and if I’m walking around and you need something signed real fast, happy to oblige. See you there!

Jul 18, 2013 In: Uncategorized

Thrillbent at San Diego

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The annual San Diego Comic Con is upon us, and a huge contingent of Thrillbent creators and behind-the-sceners are attending. Our good friends at iVerse Media have kindly lent us some of their booth space, so if you’re at the show, come visit us at Booth 1703. We’ll be doing a few signings and showing off some new material. We’re also hosting a Thrillbent Tutorial panel on Thursday at 5:30 in Room 8, where we’ll show you how we do what we do and answer any and all questions about the digital comics format.

If you’re not able to make it to the show, keep a close eye on the @Thrillbent twitter account nonetheless–we’ll be rolling out some announcements throughout the convention.

Next week, it’s back to our regularly scheduled lineup of daily comics releases. If you’re joining us for the first time, check them out–all free to read, embeddable on your own webpage if you wish to share! Raygun is putting the finishing touches on our long-overdue message boards, which should finally be up shortly, but in the meantime, feel free to use the comments section in this post to let us know the Thrillbent comics you like most if you’re so inclined, or fire away with questions!

Jul 17, 2013 In: Comics, Thrillbent News

The Pandas Show!

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Hey, our friends (and frequent Thrillbent guests) Geoffo and Mast have a Kickstarter project spinning out of their (bi-lingual!) Walking Pandas strip, and we recommend you check it out here. We posted the first installment of The Pandas Show on Friday to give you a taste, because we like helping our friends and collaborators. That’s really the extent of Thrillbent’s involvement, so when you see it and laugh, don’t credit us; credit those two lunatics and their sketchy friends, none of whom we can understand because they always speak French around us.

And, as ever, if you want to show your support to us as well, check out our dozens of free-to-read comics! Thanks!

Jul 15, 2013 In: Comics, Thrillbent News

PRODIGAL

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Welcome to the premiere of a new regular Monday series at Thrillbent–PRODIGAL, from the team of Geoff Thorne and Todd Harris. We really dig it and we think you will, too. I (me, Mark) have asked Geoff to favor us with an intro–take it, Geoff!

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Hi. I’m Geoff.

For the purposes of this symposium, I will be the Voice of Genre 19, the partnership I enjoy with Mr. Todd Harris.

This isn’t due to any special powers or responsibilities on my part but, really, because, in our partnership, it’s my job to handle anything that has to do with words.

As you readers of ARCANUM already know, Todd Harris speaks via his art, and that with ridiculous eloquence. So, hi, again. Geoff again. Let’s begin.

I’ve been asked to talk a little about PRODIGAL, why we did it, how we did it and how it has arrived here where you folks can enjoy it for free. That’s a story I like to tell so, let’s just jump right in.

PRODIGAL.

It’s the time-honored tale of an indestructible boy meeting the world’s most lethal girl and the two of them teaming up to steal things for money. There’s action, bloodshed, treasure, monsters, lots of fighting, lots of lying and lots and lots of running. Sometimes the running is away.

WHY.

Comics, American comics with super-powered characters in them, are meant to be fun. At some point, the majority of them stopped being that from our point of view.

Don’t get me wrong; the art was still awesome; the stories were certainly more complex and some of them did make us smile but, on the whole, a malaise of darkness had crept into the worlds of “mainstream” comics where “more realistic” seemed to have translated into, “dark, psychotic and unhappy.”

We’re not fans of Unhappy. There’s enough Unhappy in real life. We buy most comics, we collect them, because, at their core, they are meant to be fun. Since they weren’t being fun, we decided to make some that were. PRODIGAL is the first of those.

If you don’t like fun, there is no need to read this yarn. If you don’t like fun, I’m telling you, right now, just turn around and walk away. We have nothing to say to you. However if, like us, you enjoy fun….

HOW.

Todd can draw, yes? We can all stipulate that my friend Todd can draw his proverbial ass off. You need a guy like him if you’re going to make comics. Not solely because the  artists are, usually, the rock stars in the comics industry but also because, selfishly, you want what’s in your head to look just as stellar when it’s on a page. If you’re lucky, very lucky, a guy like Todd can actually improve what you had in your head.

Since ours is an “indie” venture and, since both of us had been burned by indie writers and artists before, on several projects that still have not seen daylight (and a publisher or two as well), we decided to sidestep the main pitfall of such pairings which is ego.

I can draw. Pretty well. Todd is an excellent storyteller, both verbally and visually. But neither of us is anywhere near being capable of doing the other’s job at a level that truly competes. We admitted that, accepted that and made it part of our working structure. What has to do with the visuals is Todd’s kingdom. Mine is the one made of words. When there is a discrepancy about a sequence or plot points, we both stand in our Places of Power and work the problem out like two mechanics deciding the most efficient means of repairing a car.

We are our own pit crew; our single goal is to make the best comic we can, rather than to outdo the other or to “be the boss.” The boss, with us, is the story being told. Only that. No room in that scenario for ego.

To make a story, we sit, I ask what sorts of things, people and places he’s interested in drawing and then I start to spin stories that include them while he sketches. We swap the product of that first sitting. We debate a bit. We refine. At some point, we meet and a loose version of the story is locked down. Todd waits for me to turn that loose story into a solid outline. We discuss. We agree.

I go to write the issue/chapter synopses. Todd waits for scripts, working out character looks, locations, tech, all that. As I deliver scripts, he begins to draw. As he delivers pages, I letter them and sometimes help with the flatting during the coloring stage.

Rinse, repeat.

We don’t ALWAYS do it that way but that’s the main method for us. There are only two of us so, whenever necessary, we share the workload. Thus far we’ve created three of the ten initial properties we agreed to make together and a couple of for some friendly publishers that have as yet not been announced (using their characters). So, y’know, mums.

Anyway, that’s it. Wish it was a sexier story but we saved the sexy for the four-color stuff when we can.

And, what a coincidence, here we are and here you are. Shock.

As I said, if you’re a lover of the fun, dig in. If you’re not, to paraphrase a beloved and recently decapitated android, “You have my sympathy.”

GT

Jul 01, 2013 In: Comics