Four Colors and the Truth wrote a nice Digital Comics 101 article called “The World of Digital Comics” that breaks down the various ways that digital comics creators make money. Kill All Monsters! is mentioned in the first group, the “Why Buy The Cow, When You Can Get The Milk For Free” model. That’s been the standard model for most webcomics for a while now with the idea being that you give away the comic and then charge for the print collection and merchandise. It’s a good model, but as FCatT points out, it’s not the only one.
In fact, since we’ve joined Artist Alley Comics, KAM is really no longer under that model. Like drug dealers, we’ve offered the first issue for free on AAC, but subsequent issues will be a buck each, putting us into FCatT’s second category, the “I Am Buying Milk. You Can Keep The Cow” model. With more and more people reading comics on mobile devices as well as computers, there’s less resistance to paying a small charge per issue. Not that’s there no resistance, but that’s one of the risks.
FCatT does an excellent job of laying out the pros and cons of each model – including the third, “You Can’t Actually Buy This Cow, But Its Milk Is Gamma-Irradiated And Will Give You Superpowers” model – and it’s an article worth reading.
KAM was also mentioned is in a brief post about AAC on Bleeding Cool. The really interesting part of the post to me is the discussion in the comments about AAC’s model of offering DRM-free PDFs instead of going through comiXology. Though it’s not a polite discussion, two of Bleeding Cool’s commenters do an accurate job of outlining the advantages and disadvantages of buying direct from the creators and buying through comiXology. I understand both points of view, so I’ll simply say that while I’d love for lots and lots of people to buy our DRM-free PDFs, I don’t want people to purchase things in a format that’s not for them. If this isn’t your thing, Jason and I are already working out details to get together the first volume of a print collection.
My point in bringing all this up is that people are still working very hard to figure this out. Maybe the solution is to offer comics in ALL formats: free webcomics, DRM-free PDFs, comiXology, and fancy enhanced versions that move. There are probably disadvantages to that idea as well. It’s a fascinating time to be a comics reader and/or a creator and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out.
In the meantime, if you’d like a free PDF of the first issue of Kill All Monsters!, you can download it at Artist Alley Comics.