Filipino comics artist/self-publisher Gerry Alanguilan (Elmer), was supposed to deliver an address at a symposium called “Future of the Book” but he was forced to bow out, so instead he posted his speech for all of us to read. While reading the whole thing is the best way to approach it, the gist can be conveyed. Although Alanguilan is basically married to the idea of print publishing, he thinks it can exist with digital:
WASTED is the title of a comic book that I created from 1994 to 1996. It has gone through several editions in print, the first edition coming out in 1998 through Alamat Comics. In 2000 it was serialized for several months in Pulp Magazine. In 2002, Pulp Magazine published another compiled edition. A few years later, Wasted went out of print. In 2007, I decided to upload Wasted completely online, including a DVD-like commentary for each page at Webcomicsnation.com. It allowed a lot more people to read it, specially those from abroad.
But then, a strange thing happened. I still get letters and emails to this day from people looking for copies of Wasted. I always point out that they can read the entire thing for FREE online. The reaction is almost unanimous and immediate: No, we want to buy the print edition. There is not a comics convention that goes by (and believe it or not, we have something like six or seven of those a year here in the Philippines) that people don’t ask me for a copy of Wasted. The demand has grown so much that I’ve put it in the front burner of my company’s publishing schedule.
Another vote for free sampling.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.