I have some pretty amazing news: My next graphic novel, Friends With Boys, due out from First Second Books in February 2012, will be going ONLINE from now until its publication date! How awesome is that?
Here is the information: The comic now has its own website (design by my talented friend Lissa Pattillo, you should hire her), and will be updating five times a week (every weekday) with a page of Faith comic goodness. I will be blogging along with (most of) the updates, giving you lovely readers the inside scoop of what my process was during the making of this graphic novel, so I hope you will comment and give me your thoughts on the comic. I am ABSOLUTELY THRILLED that First Second is letting me do this. There has been a lot of talk lately about the evolution of print, and what the future of comics will be, and I'm really happy that I'm getting the chance to reach out to possibly a wider audience through the internet.
I truly believe I would not be drawing comics if it wasn't for the internet. It's unlikely I would have developed the technical drawing skills without being encouraged by my online comic readers, and unlikely I would be in my current position as a full time freelance cartoonist (after all, the internet is where First Second found me, and my relationship with them allowed me to graduate to full time cartoonist).
There has been much discussion lately (and always!) about the role of the internet in people's ability to make a living wage through their art and whether or not work is being devalued by so much of it being free. While I agree there are people out there who will consume and would never give anything back to those whose work they enjoy, I believe there are enough people who value art and comics and the work artists put into their comics and who are willing to pay for something tangible in order that those artists can pay their rent. I believe that if Friends With Boys goes online (for free! in all of its entirety!) it will reach a wider audience, who I hope will enjoy it enough that when the book is published, they will buy it in support of me and my publisher. Not every online reader will buy the book, but I'm sure enough will.
When I first started reading comics, really reading comics, comics that I felt were made for me (a school-age girl), they were online comics. I didn't have a comic book store to go to, nor did I have friends who were into comics. I had no connection to the comic book industry. But I had a computer, and I could access the internet, and there were comics on the internet. These comics were made by a diverse group of cartoonists, and (at the time) most were done "for fun." Reading online comics gave me new perspective on comics, and showed me what was possible for the medium, beyond the superhero genre. Later, as my tastes evolved and I gained disposable income, I became a comic consumer. I do not think I would be the hearty purchaser of comics if it wasn't for the online comics I read while in school.
Not everyone is blessed with a good comic book store down the road from where they live. Not everyone has an awesome library system or a decent bookstore with more than Watchmen and Maus for sale. But pretty much everyone has the internet, and I believe Friends With Boys will reach a wider audience if it goes online before it's published. I hope. I really really hope so (this is the part where I get nervous, as there is a little more at stake here than when I decided to put Superhero Girl online)!
So please, help the comic reach that audience. Please pass the link on to your friends, please retweet it on twitter, like it on Facebook, do whatever it is you're supposed to do on Tumblr. I really wanted this comic to go online because I enjoy the internet, the immediacy of the interaction with readers, something that you don't necessarily have with print. I still meet people at conventions who ask if Demonology 101 will ever see print (you are adorable and I love you, but never), bug me about Ice being updated (sorry sorry sorry sorry) and say how much they enjoyed my Wolverine Goes Grocery Shopping comic. And then they buy books from me. It's pretty wonderful.
So please, readers, help me do this. Here's the link. Send it to whoever you know loves comics. I hope you enjoy it.