Comic Book Innovation

Superhero movies are better than ever and come out on a frequent basis resulting in great theatre attendance and the indoctrination of new fans. Yet, comic book sales have been generally decreasing.

Will a lack of innovation kill the comic book industry?

There has been little innovation in the industry despite continued interest in the characters. Movies, TV series, video games, and other merchandising continues to yield millions in revenue but their source, the physical comic books themselves are seemingly a lost art.

Physical Issues to Consider

Some issues regarding physical comic books:

The Same Old Story
Comics like The Walking Dead and Y: The Last Man, took off because they were new and interesting. They told compelling stories. Unfortunately, there is little novelty in far too many comics. This is often due to great creative teams coming and going far too quickly to make a long lasting impact.

Rapid Change of Classic Characters
Re-starting universes and giving decades-old beloved characters dramatic makeovers is now the norm. I look at this as a money-grab. Why change an entire universe? Just have better storytelling to adapt the current universe. Kudos to Geoff Johns for taking one of my favourite characters, Green Lantern, and blowing his story wide open. He took a stale comic and made it relevant through a creative, well thought-out transformation.

Marvel and DC are in business to make money and it’s no secret that they continuously food the market with tons of comic books that have little to do with anything. Often, story quality isn’t that great or isn’t even relevant to the bigger picture. This just turns people off.

Asking fans to purchase various versions of an issue since they will supposedly become collectible and more valuable, turns people off.

Digital Comic Problems

My main concern of course is with the lack of innovation in the digital serial comic storytelling capacity. Some issues include:

The early promise of web comics was that they could be supported by what cartoonist and author Scott McCloud called “micropayments” The idea was that people would be as little as say, a quarter per comic, for example, to gain access to it. I had my doubts about this format because the minor payment model is flawed. People don’t want to pay to read comic books and they certainly don’t want to pay for the privilege to read them if it doesn’t become a collectible that they own.

Third Party Apps
The need to download third-party apps and software is a deterrent.

Lack of Socialization
When you subscribe to a unique service, it’s a solitary activity. You might tell a friend but it ends there. Digital comics have the advantage of being shareable with an entire network of people, many of whom the author may not even know!

Comic Subscription Service
Marvel has its own digital comic subscription service called Marvel Unlimited. Subscribers can read thousands of issues. The service was launched on November 13, 2007. Comicsfix, which offers a monthly subscription service with a focus on independent comic companies, is having its own difficulties.

The Solution

I’m not going to claim that I sat around pondering the future of comic book revenue and miraculously came up with a solution. In fact, it was through following my passion for photography and comic books that I came up with the idea to do Eternal Brink in its novel format. Once I followed my passion, the rest of the ideas and realizations that I discuss below flowed from there.

The solution to the comic book problem seems somewhat obvious. If the price of comic books are lowered, then perhaps more people would buy them.

One way to do so would be through product placement in the comic books themselves. Sponsored content is hot on the Internet right now and it could work for the physical comic book industry.

If Eternal Brink takes off, I have no issue with getting paid for sponsored content. After all, the story is completely done by volunteers (primarily me, donating my time to the cause).

With that said, if you offer a comic book for free, using a digital platform that your audience is already using, you stand a good chance of getting somewhere with your project.

Points of Innovation

Eternal Brink is one of the most innovative occurrences to happen to the comic book industry in a decade. Here’s why.

Integration of Technology
Thanks to the integration and meshing of technology, anyone can make a comic with an app.

Making Money
Sponsored content has potential. If you grow a large enough audience, you can get sponsors. Product placement is common in traditional formats (TV, radio, movies) so why not in your comic story? There’s also websites like Patreon where fans will donate money with the hope that you can keep producing your content.

We now have a level of interactivity like never before. Get fans involved in the story by actually harnessing the power of social media platforms.

On Trend
This type of storytelling is on trend with where you audience actually hangs out online (websites and apps).

No Need For Additional Technology
This format makes use of social media platforms as they are. The social media technology is there, with a built-in audience. There’s no need for additional software downloads or app installation. Moreover, reading a comic series on an iPad feels natural, akin to people reading books on a Kindle.

Get People Involved
While the story is fun for me as the protagonist, it’s an added layer to my real life.  Using social media, fans can get their friends to become readers, and even get involved in the story.

Social Sharing
Social media lends itself to being shared. Let the social sharing online help get the word out. And do so on the platforms that friends are already using.

A New Art Form
A combination of getting friends involved, doing a little acting, and honing cinematography talents combine to create a new art form.

No More Artist
This is the most controversial statement. I am not trying to get rid of artists. I really love artwork, especially comic book art. My point here is that I have chosen a simple black and white theme to my comic story. It does not require an artist to draw each image. That means that anyone with a good story can get something going. This is analogous to talented individuals becoming successful with their own YouTube channels without the need for exposure on television. To be fair, paper and pencil will always be close by. I even recruited traditional artists for my story as I needed photos of custom illustrations for my story.


The one downside is that you are relying on third party apps (e.g., Instagram). They can pull the plug at any time. So it’s important to back up the work. In my case, I have this website.