by Harper W. Harris
On Saturday, I got the chance to speak with Jordan Plosky, founder of Comic Blitz, a new comic app that operates much like Marvel Unlimited, only not just limited to Marvel. Although the company has only Valiant and Dynamite on board at this stage, they have plans to announce many more publishers’ comics being available via the app soon. Interested comics fans can go to ComicBlitz.com now to join the beta while it’s open. Here’s what Jordan had to say on the floor of HeroesCon.
HH: First I’ll let you take the lead and tell us what Comic Blitz is, how it got started, and what it’s all about.
JP: Sure. The easiest way to describe Comic Blitz is thinking about Netflix for digital comic books. So, as a customer you’d be paying one low monthly fee for access to all the comics we have on our platform. At launch, which is in the very near future, we’re going to have thousands of comics on board, you will literally have unlimited reading, there’s no way you could breeze through everything we have in one month. You’ll have unlimited reading for a very, very long time.
HH: So how does Comic Blitz plan to really differentiate themselves from other digital comics distributors?
JP: It’s great that digital has been the opposite of what everyone thought it was going to be, right? It was going to be the downfall of the industry, but it’s not, it’s been the greatest proponent for print since newsstands. Digital is the new newsstand. So what differentiates us from the other platforms out there today is the value proposition. So for $10 a month, for the price of one graphic novel you not only have access to an entire comic book shop, but you can read everything. You don’t have to choose with your wallet if you want to buy the latest Hawkeye book or read a Hawkeye book from the 70’s or something like that. When you’ve already paid your entrance fee, you have access to whatever we have. So the wallet doesn’t do the choosing; you just get to read and read and read as much as you’d like. You finish one issue? You can just tap a button that says read next issue and go straight from one to the next, you don’t have to go back to a menu, you don’t have to close open, open close, it’s just a seamless transition from issue to issue.
HH: So you guys are really trying to kind of implement binge reading into comics instead of having to de-bag and board or search through a box of single issues.
JP: Yeah, we think so. We’re not saying, “Don’t go out and buy the physical copies, don’t go out and collect.” We’re collectors, we do the same thing. But the convenience for just reading something, we find that digital is the most convenient way to do it. So you can have the issue ready and you don’t have to go dig it out of your longbox or something, risk bending or creasing it, you can read it digitally and know that your copy is tucked away safe in the box that you put it in and you never have to touch it again.
HH: That’s really cool–I hadn’t thought about it as being a supplement to your physical collection.
JP: This is like your new reader’s copy in a way. You get your collectable and then you have your copy you can read on your tablet.
HH: Tell us about what publishers and creators you’ve gotten involved so far and who’s on deck to be added to the app in the future.
JP: Right now as part of the beta test we have a selection of comics from Valiant Comics and Dynamite Comics. That’s kind of all we’re revealing at the moment is those two publishers, but it’s safe to say that we have much more content than the 18 titles we have in the beta test, from both of those, and as I’ve said, we’re going to have thousands of comics from several top ten publisher and several other reputable publishers. There’s going to be a lot of stuff that people might have seen in comic shops but maybe have already spent their weekly or monthly allowance on comics already before they can get to that other issue. You know, “Oh, I heard about that” or “that looks cool, but I already spent my $4 over here,” so people who are very aware of everything else that’s going on in comics that might have passed them by, this is a great way to catch up on all of that.
HH: I’ve heard myself say those exact words, missing something and then never really going back to read it, so I totally get that! So as far as Valiant and Dynamite go, will you guys have their entire back catalog as well as new issues, and how will that work?
JP: So there are different deals in place with every publisher that we have; some publishers we get their content one month after its released in print and other digital formats. Some publishers its three months, some wait until the trade comes out and we’re a month after that, so that way they get to sell their single issues and the trade and make the money their going to make, and then it comes on here and extends the life of that comic even more. Something that people might not realize if they’re not way deep into the comic industry is that there are no residuals, there are no syndication rights the way that movies and TV have. So if a movie comes out in a movie theater, does gangbusters there, then comes to Netflix and VOD, then its on cable and in syndication forever, they constantly make money on that. A lot of creators don’t see that kind of money, if they’re not making a comic every single month, if their trade doesn’t do well, they’re not making the kind of money that other forms of media are making. So something like this, if we are successful it means success for the entire industry because the publishers make the majority of the money that comes into this, and then if the publisher is making more money, they get to put more money into books, pay creators more, get more royalties to creators. It’s win-win for fans, publishers, and creators, for everybody.
HH: So you mentioned you guys are in beta right now. How can people get involved with the beta, and what does that give them access to at this point?
JP: If you go to ComicBlitz.com, there’s a link right there to sign up for the beta test and we’ll send you a link for the beta. It will be closed after a certain amount of people sign up, I’m not sure how many spaces will be left by the time your readers see this, so sign up as soon as possible if you’re interested in doing the beta test. What you’re going to find is sort of a bare bones product, in the tech world it’s called an MVP (minimal viable product) just to see like, these are people that are interested in this, they can give us some feedback as to what they might want to see in a digital comic reader before we start building things that nobody wants and we get their feedback on the the things that we’ve already implemented as well. So you get to read the comics for free, there’s no commitment to buy it after we go live, but obviously we’re hoping you’re going to like it enough to sign up for a subscription and keep reading digital comics with us.
HH: This sounds really cool…I’ve gotten a chance to check out the beta here at HeroesCon and it looks very nice. Do you have an official launch date for the app at this point?
JP: Yes, we’re setting up at Boston Comic Con, so that’s July 31-Aug 2nd, we’re going to have a booth there and that will be our official launch, so about six weeks from now.
HH: I’ll be really excited to see what you have coming up next and to see how the app continues to grow!
JP: We’re excited to unveil it, excited to be able to let people know that we’ll have more than the 18 titles available in the beta. Hopefully people will be surprised and excited for what we have to offer them when we do launch. Thanks!