Today, digital publisher Panel Syndicate released the second and final volume of writer Brian K. Vaughn’s (SagaY: The Last Man) and artist Marcos Martin’s (The Amazing Spider-ManBatgirl: Year One) webcomic, The Private Eye.  Collecting issues 6-10 of the series, The Private Eye continues to follow the story of Patrick Immelman, a private investigator working in 2076 after every luddite’s worst fear is realized and The Cloud is compromised, leaving many identities exposed, the internet in shambles, and people incredibly guarded over their personal information.


The series has been released on a pay-what-you-want basis from issue to issue, meaning that you could read the series for free or donate several billion dollars per issue if you felt like Vaughn and Martin deserved personal islands.  Panel Syndicate was founded by Martin in 2013 and when the first issue of The Private Eye was released in March of that year, the company received a great deal of critical acclaim for providing high pedigree content to the public on an egalitarian pricing scale.  At the time, pay-what-you-want was a relatively new idea in mainstream media, but since then studies have shown that PWYW can cause the average price paid for a product to drop or can even shame consumers out of purchasing a product altogether.


Given The Private Eye‘s unique standing in the comics industry, it would be interesting to see what the sales data looks like for the series.  Vaughn and Martin are currently working on a new project for Panel Syndicate, so even if they aren’t making a profit off of this book, it’s great to see that they believe in the concept and community enough to continue to support their progressive ideals.  Perhaps they deserve those islands after all.


  1. I think they did pretty good! (From a Bleeding Cool interview – )

    “While we didn’t make as much money as we probably could have releasing this through my friends at Image, Marcos, Muntsa and I were all still able to make more than our very healthy page rates from Marvel or DC, all while getting to own and control our creation completely.”

    “I was pretty confident that people would show up and maybe even throw us a buck or two for the first issue, but I seriously doubted that they’d continue to give us money after that, especially when Marcos insisted that readers should always be able to pay whatever they want, including nothing. Against all odds, we continued to gain new readers every single month, and the majority of them were happy to give us something for each and every issue, enough that Marcos and Muntsa could afford to turn down a lot of awesome work-for-hire gigs to dedicate all their time to our creator-owned story, while still keeping their family fed.

    But the most significant indication that we feel like this was a success is that Marcos, Muntsa and I are already deep into the development of our second original series, which we hope will debut at Panel Syndicate later this year, again for whatever the hell people feel like paying us for it.”

  2. Series like this make me want to dip my foot into the digital comic book realm. But that would require me to invest in a tablet and understand the DRM style issues that come with the content. I am sure those have been resolved since I haven’t checked into it in a while but I would like to own what I pay for.

  3. In the case of Panel Syndicate, it’s DRM-free. Also with Image’s digital books, and with a subset of what you can buy through Comixology.

    DRM isn’t gone from digital comics, but it seems to be on the way out.

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