Why Create a Digital Magazine? Free Comic Anthology

I got an email from someone who’s created a free digital comic anthology called Premier Pulp!, seeking links to get more of an audience.

Premier Pulp

I checked out an issue, briefly, but it left me with more questions than enjoyment. Because each installment is available as a file (CBR or PDF), it takes some time to download. Now, someone with a reader may like having a file to transfer to their tablet or phone, but I just found it unnecessary delay. Why not put the comics directly on the web? Why keep the old-style, declining “magazine” format in a new medium? Instead of trying to mimic a print artifact, why not build a website with your comics and features and update more frequently?

As is typical of these kinds of projects, the quality of work varies greatly, with several of the selections rather amateurish. After the third piece I put in that category, I quit reading. Plus, with a quarterly release schedule, telling continuing, chaptered stories is annoying, at least to this reader. You expect me to remember to come back in three months for a few more pages?

Also, I think the title is misleading. “Pulp” suggests noir to me, retro storytelling, prose instead of comics.

Overall, just putting out free comics isn’t enough to get an audience any more. There are so many choices available that you need to stand out with quality. For me, this publication didn’t pass the test.

7 Responses to “Why Create a Digital Magazine? Free Comic Anthology”

  1. Jack Garren Says:

    Hey Johanna, thanks for the feedback. We’re still in a prototypical sort of phase so we welcome comprehensive criticism.

    Continuing stories were definitely a major misstep early on, and we’ve just about stamped it out with #3 and will continue further in that vein for future issues.

    As for the all-in-one magazine format, I think it has its unique merits (and will get around to writing a post on why some day). However, we definitely want to make it easier to read without requiring a download so a webreader is a priority and something that’s coming.

    We might not be the most reader-friendly outfit in town with the current set-up, but the process and community definitely seems to work in terms of getting comics made (and, lacking in completely neutral perspective though I might be, I think the comics we’ve been making have significantly improved in quality from #1 to #3). So if you’re an aspiring writer or artist reading this and interested in making some comics, come check us out.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Thanks very much for taking the feedback in such great spirit! I’d love to hear more about your take on the merits of the format, or read a link if you post one, when you get a chance. I’m glad you’re building a worthwhile community.

  3. Anthony Says:

    One advantage of a stand-alone file is not having to be tied to having an Internet connection to enjoy it. Something that’d be useful for non-3G-containing tablets (which might not always be around wifi)…

  4. Brigid Alverson Says:

    I’m with Anthony. Also, webcomics can disappear, which is OK for 99% of them… but there’s that 1% you want to keep.

    The other thing about a downloadable anthology is you could eventually charge for it, if it catches on.

  5. Federico Says:

    Glad to see some attention and feedback given to the project.
    Still, about my own involvment…

    …Mine was totally one of the amateurish ones, wasn’t it?
    I mean, maybe you didn’t even get to mine, I don’t know what standards to compare my story to.
    I mean, maybe some feedback might be nice?
    I keep hearing how it looks more like a comic waiting to be coloured as opposed to an actual black-and-white comic.
    Still, I’d like to know. I could seriously use as much feedback as I could get, since I totally wanna go above and beyond in drawing stuff by the time I start getting paid for something other than political cartoons.
    Or not. Your choice.
    Either way, thanks.

  6. Al Sirois Says:

    Of course this isn’t a review — it’s just an opinion piece. (Having read through your page about reviewing, that much is clear.) Still, this contributor feels justified in making some observations. Your remark “As is typical of these kinds of projects, the quality of work varies greatly, with several of the selections rather amateurish,” is hardly constructive criticism. Nowhere are you specific about what did or did not work for you, or why. You don’t have to be, I know, because this isn’t a review — it’s just a short opinion piece. Still, whatever you (or I) may think of it, the artists and writers put a lot of work into the stuff in PP#3. I believe they deserve to be taken a bit more seriously and not dismissed so cavalierly. But then, that’s *my* opinion.

  7. Johanna Says:

    You’re right, this wasn’t a full review — it was a brief mention. Given the demands on my time lately, it was either that or not write about the work at all. That’s not an excuse, just an explanation. Some folks would rather have any link, no matter how brief; others are more demanding. I don’t know which type is which until after I write and they get mad I didn’t do the other. :)




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