If the theme of NYCC was “Recession? What Recession?” then the subtitle was “webcomics are the new floppies.” Digital distribution of comics is clearly going to be a hot topic in 2009.
For a quick overview, take a look at Kiel Phegley’s writeup of the ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference, which includes sound bites from all the participants in the webcomics and social media panels. Thanks to poor planning and a late train, I arrived late for the webcomics panel, alas, but my impression was that aside from the presence of the very impressive Dave Roman, both these panels consisted entirely of people from large and medium-size publishers, and the panels could have benefitted from having more of an actual webcomics presence. Dave posted about his panel at his LJ.
But how will people read these comics? No one seemed too sold on the Kindle, and while Tokyopop makes comics for the Sony e-Reader, it seems like folks are still waiting for that killer app. The tech blog io9 took in a UClick panel and was mighty impressed with their comics for the iPhone, but the thing that jumped out at me was an almost offhand comment made by DC’s John Cunningham in the State of the Publishing Industry panel:
Amazon has been able to have their way with Sony by emulating Appleâ€™s model: I have the software and hardware combined, I am going to deliver somebody elseâ€™s IP. Do you think Apple is going to let Amazon have hegemony over that? One of big rumors is that Apple is looking at in fall 2009 a 7 x 9-inch iPod touch. That is going to happen sooner rather than later.
Here’s Ron Hogan’s writeup of the panel, which mentions digital media but not the iPod rumor; I’ll try to do my own report later in the week.
The Zuda panel was impressive, with over 15 creators packed onto the stage and SuperTron creator Sheldon Vella participating from Melbourne, Australia, through the magic of computers. I was impressed that while the creators were all male, the audience was pretty evenly divided between men and women; that’s not what I think of as the Zuda demographic. The panel was lively and fun; you can listen to a podcast here to hear for yourself. Toward the end of the panel I asked a question, and I was flattered that High Moon writer David Gallaher recognized my voice from our podcasts.
There was plenty of actual webcomics presence out on the convention floor. PvP was there, I heard, but I didn’t make it by their booth. I did have a chance to chat with Scott Bieser of Big Head Press (I’ll write that up later this week), and I wanted to drop by the Abrams booth to talk to Adam Koford, whose Laugh-Out-Loud Cats will be published by Abrams, but every time I went by, the place was packed.