By: Jennifer Stavros
As Comic-Con approaches, it is with no surprise that the hype is rising about the future of the industry. Last night, a now yearly panel hosted by Digital LA at Meltdown Comics and sponsored by Filter focused on the convergence of the digital world within this booming and evolving form of literary expressionism.
The Comic Panel hosted industry experts from various outlets within the space including representation from Marvel, ComiXology, IGN, Graphic.ly, WEvolt, and more. Each panelist offered their own knowledge and unique experiences from working within the analog as well as digital.
Speaking with attendees brought forth a myriad of backgrounds. Some were active comic book writers. Some were marketing professionals.
Seasoned screenwriter and author Ric Gibbs was there to learn more about an industry he had not thought much about since his childhood.
"I haven't bought a comic book since I was 8, but I went recently and there were a bunch of guys older than me. There's a much broader audience than I'd expected."
It was near unanimous from speaking to panel members and audience alike that people are for the convenience as well as the user and creator-friendly factor that digital convergence is bringing to a span of individuals who may or may not be already immersed in the comic realm.
Comic writer Carly Wagner was among the 40% of female attendees. She offered her knowledge from working with traditional comic publishing versus content production online.
"When I first started, I went the traditional route, but I would spend all this money to interact with my readers," she said. " Webcomics are great because of the low cost to start. I am able to reach a bigger audience. I just want to share this with people."
She went on to say that she had readers from several countries outside of the States, including South America.
Digital comics are changing the way comic book aficionados, marketing representation, and content creators think.
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J.C. Christofilis of Dilema, a strategic marketing, advertising and branding entertainment agency, spoke about how he felt Hollywood was affected by this boom.
"Comics are prime for the digital space because it translates visually in a way that Hollywood can see and transition," he said. "It's a natural evolution that you can convey stories and visuals without a million dollar budget."
While the medium today is far from what our grandparents may remember from the heyday of buying comic books at five cents, one thing is for sure, this is a legacy that is not to be forgotten.
"It's a universal appeal," says Gibbs. "We all want to live lives that are more super than what they are."