Monkeybrain Launches Digital-First Line
Published: 07/02/2012 01:02pm
Monkeybrain Books and Comics will launch a digital-first creator-owned comic line exclusively on comiXology this week. Monkeybrain is co-owned by comic writer Chris Roberson, who very publicly left DC in April over issues related to its treatment of creators (see "Roberson Speaks Out"), and his wife Allison Baker.
Five titles will be launched Wednesday, Independence Day:
Other creators planning to publish under the imprint are Grace Allison, J. Bone, Chad Bowers, Wook-Jin Clark, Kevin Church, Matt Digges, Ming Doyle, Curt O. Franklin, Ken Garing, Chris Haley, David Hahn, Phil Hester, Joe Keatinge, Axel Medellin, Michael Montenat, Ananth Panagariya, Thomas Perkins, Adam Rosenlund, Chris Schweitzer, Brandon Seifert, Chris Sims, Josh Williamson, and Bill Willingham. In addition to the five announced so far, some 30 other projects are in some stage of development, according to Roberson.
Formats will be 13 to 28 pages for $.99 to $1.99. Marketing for the digital comics will be done by Monkeybrain as part of its publishing function.
Roberson cited Image as an inspiration, and said that he doesn’t see what Monkeybrain’s doing as competition, but is "…trying to add one more avenue for creator-owned comics." He also noted that Image is constrained by the “harsh realities” associated with its commitment to print publishing. Monkeybrain differs from Image in that it will only handle projects for which neither the writer nor the artist are doing work for hire (i.e., it would not handle comics for which a writer hires an artist who does not share in the copyright).
Monkeybrain is serving only as a digital publisher; print rights remain with the creators. Monkeybrain was started in 2001 as a prose publisher of genre titles, which are distributed to the book trade by National Book Network and to the comic trade by Diamond Comic Distributors. Monkeybrain is not precluding taking a role in the print publishing of collections from its digital imprint, but sees its role as more to "facilitate" potential print editions than as a publisher of print collections that finances printing costs.
Asked by ICv2 why a publisher would be interested in taking print-only rights when digital is becoming such an important distribution channel, Roberson said that there would be no investment required in the creation of the material, which would be a savings, but that "for some publishers it wouldn’t be worth it."
Some experimentation in format to take advantage of the flexibility of digital comics is expected, and some creators are considering the inclusion of back-matter in addition to the comics.
Bill Willingham, the biggest name associated with the imprint, is working on a project which he will be writing and another artist drawing. No details or release date were revealed.
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