Two years ago, we launched Thrillbent.com, a curated platform/foundry for state-of-the-art comics in digital form. Looking back, I honestly can’t believe we’ve come as far as we have, but…wow. With the help, support, and enthusiasm of some of the most forward-thinking creators in comics, we’ve helped define what digital comics should be—can be—and we’re constantly inventing new storytelling techniques for the medium (mostly because I’ve been smart enough to ally Thrillbent with visionaries like Balak, Alex DeCampi, Tim Gibson, Jeremy Rock and others—you can see the full list here).
I’ve always been open with you, our readers, about not only our successes but our challenges—chief among them, how to pay for all this. How to streamline that social contract between us, the content providers, and our fans, who are willing to pay a fair price for what we provide so that we can keep bringing the new.
On our storefront, we’ve experimented with different models—some downloads with fixed prices, some pay-what-you-will, all DRM-free—and that’s been helpful but unpredictable. We’ve always been resistant to putting up some sort of tip jar because (it’s a personal thing, no judgments) that just makes me uncomfortable. Still, we know we have a proven audience out there willing and eager to support us financially so we can continue to bring them new content, and we think we’ve finally figured out how to give readers that opportunity in form that nets them the most value.
This past weekend, we stealth-launched the Thrillbent iPad app. It’s a thing of beauty. If you’re so inclined, go check it out (and, yes, Android is in the works). Effective immediately, the Thrillbent website will sync up with it—make sure your name is on the mailing list for immediate notification—as we begin to roll out even more new series. There will still be free content on Thrillbent, there always will be—we’re big believers in the marketing power of “free”—but to that, we’re adding a “Hulu Plus” level of new content, if you will—the next wave of new Thrillbent comics, including, just for starters:
EMPIRE VOLUME TWO, the long-awaited sequel to the out-of-print graphic novel EMPIRE by myself, Barry Kitson and colorist Chris Sotomayor;
THE HOUSE IN THE WALL, a fantastic horror series by THE EIGHTH SEAL’S James Tynion IV and Noah J. Yuenkel and artist Eryk Donovan;
INSUFFERABLE: HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE, the next series of INSUFFERABLE adventures by myself, Peter Krause, Nolan Woodard and Troy Peteri;
THE BEST THING, an upcoming series by the Hugo- and John W. Campbell-award winning writer Seanan McGuire, whose audience and fan base eclipses my own;
The long-awaited return of THE DAMNATION OF CHARLIE WORMWOOD, maybe the best damn looking series we publish, and I would say that even if I didn’t own the joint, I promise;
and more to come on top of all of that—again, stay on the mailing list for updates and announcements throughout the summer.
That’s a lot of new content, and I’ll be blunt—to make sure our artists, colorists and letterers are compensated fairly, and to continue to build a base for other creators to redefine this medium in new and exciting ways, we can’t afford to give it all away for free the same way we’ve been doing. But neither do we want to create an unfair barrier to entry. Ultimately, what we arrived at was this: a monthly subscription model that allows access to all Thrillbent material past and present for the price of one print comic: $3.99.
For that $3.99, you’ll be able to read everything as it rolls out, the moment it’s posted. You’ll receive push and/or e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted. Create a subscription account and your info will be kept up-to-date on the website, the iPad app, and all future apps and platforms, meaning wherever you’re signed in, we’ll keep track for you of what you’ve already read and what’s new so you can tell at a glance where you are in any given series. And, yes, anything you’ve already purchased carries over to the new system, no worries there.
We honestly think that $3.99 (again, the price of one print comic) is a really, really good deal for what you’re getting (several new comics a month from award-winning creators, plus full access to the entire back catalog of over 250 existing comics). You can still purchase downloadable, DRM-free PDFs from our storefront if you want to read our comics offline or gift them or mash them up into dark Tumblr fantasies or what have you, and if you’ve already got an existing Thrillbent account, yes, your previous purchases transfer over to this new system.
Subscribe today either through the website or the app and don’t miss out on a thing as new content rolls out beginning next week. Subscribe today and—and—your immediate reward on top of all this is a free graphic novel by that Mark Waid guy and his art partner, Barry Kitson. You may have heard of it:
Yep. The years-out-of-print, I-am-asked-about-this-a-hundred-times-at-every-convention EMPIRE graphic novel as a DRM-free PDF so that as we launch into EMPIRE VOLUME TWO in the upcoming weeks on the site, you’ll be fully up-to-speed on What Has Come Before. It’s nearly 192 pages. This is the only way you can get it if you’ve never read it, because it’s been out of print for years. And for the next few weeks, it’s a free download for subscribers.
Subscribe. Get all your new content (and more to be announced—we’re constructing a calendar-list even now so you’ll know what’s coming and when). And if you’re a charter subscriber, you’ll immediately receive a link to the EMPIRE download which, I humbly suggest, is in and of itself worth way more than $3.99. But we think—we believe—it’ll drive traffic to and interest around Volume Two, we think it’s of service, and as I think we’ve proven repeatedly, we’re more comfortable giving than taking, anyway.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for being a part of what we’ve built and continue to build. As ever, if you have any questions or concerns, you can reach us through the contact e-mail. I think you’ll be excited by what we have to offer; I know I am.