Monday, September 30, 2013

Value Comics and 2-Bit Comics Depth

I thought I should touch on Value Comics and 2-Bit Comics a little bit here, and maybe this will see a reprinted form in the next issue of each book, but I never really made clear what the primary goal behind each title is. In the first issue of 2-Bit Comics, the one which collected Canteen Kate, I wrote a little bit about how I wanted to reintroduce classic titles to the marketplace for the sake of exposure and culture. That's true, and it's still the primary philosophy behind Value Comics.

What I noticed, though, was that printing the books in color drove the prices up to a ridiculous amount. Not just the prices, either. I'm not hiding the fact that this is all stuff done at home and that I'm using CreateSpace to publish and distribute this material. Unfortunately, CreateSpace has a data cap, and I can only upload a maximum of 400 megabytes per book. That might seem like a lot, but when you're dealing with full color 300 ppi images measuring in at about 7.5x10 inches a piece, it adds up fast. As it is, I'm forced into reducing the quality by about 10% during the PDF conversion process, which makes me all kinds of sad inside.

I realized that 2-Bit Comics, while remaining within the reasonable pricing range for collected edition comics, was not the best deal. It's great for getting whole series back out into the marketplace in the best quality that I (and if somebody out there [and I know you are] can do this better than I can, I encourage you to do so) can produce, and that's worth continuing the series. What it's not great for is enticing readers to slap down ten dollars for what amounts to the same as three modern day comic books. With all the work and effort that goes into the newer stuff, it really isn't that great a deal. And the less people there are checking this stuff out, the more expensive it is to be exposed to the material, the less I'm succeeding with enriching the culture.

So I took my toys for a couple months and went home and thought about the best ways to share them. I learned that I could upload them to the Internet Archive, but they were still trapped in cyberspace. That's kind of a big deal. I feel that things have to be available physically, so I don't want them to be stuck in the digital realm. So I thought a lot more. What I came to realize was that removing the color from an image greatly reduces its filesize. Right there I could fit more material into a book. But the price would just grow and grow to monstrous proportions with each additional page (you should see the estimates CreateSpace was giving me when I estimated a color page count for Adolescence. Holy mackeral).

My logic was fault. Black and white pages cost significantly less to print than color pages, something I should have thought about from the start (I was working with the mind that Createspace simply charged a flat page per price, because they like money). So what I'm doing with Value Comics is to print more material for a lesser price, with a slightly reduced experience, in an attempt to reach as wide an audience as possible. I want every individual from every income bracket to be able to enjoy the work which has pretty much served as the foundation for the modern entertainment industry for the past ten or so years.

The other thing about Value Comics is that the stories are not in order. I am not presenting full issue after full issue of one series, I am taking stories from multiple titles and scrambling them into one book. Why am I doing this? Again, it's about the exposure. I like horror, but I'd never touch straight-on romance. I'm not the only person who stays in these narrow niches, and I really want people to break out of that and learn to experience a whole spectrum of material they might not otherwise glance at. While working with the comics, I inevitably read some of the romance comics I was going through (and working primarily with titles from the St. John library means a whole lot of romance), and there is some genuinely great stuff in there. So yeah, there's kind of a bit of trickery to the Value Comics, but I genuinely hope it's for the better. Just think of it like syndicated television. A little o' this, a little o' that (and don't worry, I'll be posting the complete list of titles which originated the material for each issue).

I have been thinking about doing a black and white 2-Bit comic as well, just reprinting the original books at a lower price. That's something I might do in the near future. Likewise, a color version of Value is in the pipeline, although it won't be much of a value at all. This series, tentatively titled "Glory Days", will only be 100 pages in length, and may feature balck and white filler pages. So it's less of a bargain, but the primary reach of that book is for people who want to experience the books in a format closer to what was intended. That won't come around for quite some time though, another year at least, as I'd like to get a large group of ready-to-go material to work with (and unlike Value, it won't have any crossover with 2-Bit. That's an aspect I'm rethinking right now, if I really intend to release black and white 2-Bit editions).

Anyways, I hope this is a clear enough explanation for my motivations behind the two titles and for why they are being presented in such different fashions. I also intend on releasing at least one prose anthology which will collect the text-stories from the comics for those readers who aren't so fond of graphics. Considering going two ways with those. One, that is definitely happening, is a compilation of the scans, including whateve advertisements may happen to occupy the same page as the story. The other road (and the one which will take the longest to accomplish and be the least frequent between my various projects) is to transcribe these stories into usable text documents and print them in a more friendly-looking collection.

And don't worry, I'm still chugging along with my original fiction. I've finally found a schedule that suits me, and I've made remarkable leaps and bounds with my latest story, Dead Kiss, which will probably debut in this year's annual collection. Unfortunately, Mrrda and his relatives have taken a bit of a break while I tool them away from the serial mindset (it really wasn't working for me).

Since I'm crap with endings, I'll close this all out in true Resetti fashion:

Don't forget to brush your teeth, your breath reeks! My nosehairs wilted from here. Got it? Ya hear me? Good. Now

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