Call For Questions For Scott McCloud

It’s time for Community Interview #5. This time Scott McCloud has agreed to answer your questions. Here’s how it works — post your question to Scott in a comment in response to this post.


If you see another question you think is interesting, moderate it up. If you see something not so useful, moderate it down. We’ll take questions for two weeks, until Friday, August 15th. We’ll send the top ten questions to Scott McCloud to answer and post those answers later this month.


Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.


  1. Will BitPass support recurring (subscription) payments, like PayPal does, and will an API be released allowing developers to synchronize their membership databases with info on BitPass’s servers, to control turning subscription accounts on/off based on payment status, etc?


  2. How are sales for The Right Number coming along, and how do your sales numbers compare with the sales of some of the other cartoonists (Jim Zubkavich, Ethan Persoff, rstevens, etc) who have tried the system?


  3. How many user/purchaser accounts, total, have been created since BitPass launched in Beta? What percentage of those buy a webcomic as their first purchase?


  4. You seem to keep quite busy giving lectures, going to conferences, giving interviews, looking over other people’s art, and keeping track of how well the new payment plan is going.
    Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to work on your own comics?

  5. The micropayments idea you’ve been championing for some time has seen quite a bit of praise, but it’s fair share of detractors, as well. I remember Penny-Arcade’s Tycho in particular describing it as ‘compensation [at best]’ – Myself, I’d far rather compensate my favourite authors than let them starve; do you feel any of the points these people are bringing up are valid enough to be a serious worry for the future of micropayments (bitpass or otherwise) or are these people missing the point or being overly melodramatic?

  6. In your opinion, are there any works that are ‘pure’ comics, i.e. a sequence or story that would be impossible to tell in just prose, picture or film? An idea that could only be conveyed through the medium of comics. Would you care to share with us your favourite examples of such?

  7. When can we expect the official Scott McCloud Waffle Iron? We have needs.

  8. How would you introduce into print comics the same non-biased attitude towards creators of either gender that’s seen in web comics? It’s true there are some female creators in print, but certainly not as many who are successful in the web comics field. Do you think web comics creators have the advantage on anonymity or is it something else?

  9. What percentage of your week would you estimate is spent reading comics? I know it’s your profession, but I am amazed that you can keep up with all the comics you seem to read as well as constantly discover new ones and still do all the writing, speaking, etc. that you do.

    William Ansley

  10. Do you think micropayment systems like BitPass will ever come down to having the customer only pay twenty-five cents on their credit card or will they always have to pay $5 or more to get a credit that they can then spend on content?

  11. In the years since “Understanding” and “Reinventing Comics” have been published, both have seen their share of debate. Anything you wrote in either that you regret? Anything you’d wish people would just get over already?

  12. In “Reinventing Comics” you wrote of “twelve revolutions.” We’ve seen movement in almost all of them — Digital Delivery with Bitpaass, Gender Balance with Girlamatic, etc. As you see it, which revolutions are comics winning? Which ones are comics losing?

  13. How and why did you decide that 25 cents was the right price for the first part of “the Right Number”?

  14. The RIAA have been hitting the news quite a bit recently in their efforts to clamp down on the rampant filesharing copyright-violating music trade – a lot of people have argued that they’re resorting to the desperate measures they are – issuing subpoenas recently against individual [suspected] violators – because they failed to get in quick early on in the rise of the Internet. There are certainly a lot of avenues to pay to read comics of one sort or another on the web, from Moderntales to individual sites offering ad-free subscriptions – but the only major publisher I know of that offers a similar thing is Crossgen with their Comics on the Web program, and the seed is already planted with many (copyrighted and in some cases licensed for western publication) manga being available in ‘scanlation’ form, translated and distributed by fans over the same filesharing networks. To what extent do you think the comics industry has side-stepped this one – is what progress we see good enough, or can we look forward to a comics industry association hunting down users for sharing scans of The Geriatric X-Men over SuperShare 2024?

  15. Scott, since you ended ZOT the second time, your work has been almost independent of recurring characters. In “Choose Your Own Carl,” the figures are more like basic avatars, with their specific traits shifting from thread to thread. Most of your other work, from “The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln” to “The Morning Improv” to “The Right Number,” features self-contained stories with characters that aren’t likely to be seen after the story is over.

    Is this simply part of your personal approach to storytelling, or do you think other cartoonists should eschew recurring characters in favor of more self-contained stories?

  16. Speaking on behalf of credit card- less webcomic loving teenagers everywhere, what do you say to the people who don’t have the means to pay the micropayments, or to join a subscription site? Asking parents to set up the accounts is a possibilty, but so is the fact that the parents may refuse.
    I recall Dylan (of Bite Me fame) telling her fans, when she joined Girlamatic that they could send the money to her, and she’d set the account for them herself. Do you have any alternate solutions?

  17. Do you have any plans for other book-length non-fiction work like Understanding– and Reinventing Comics?

  18. In Reinventing Comics you presented the concept of using the boundless geography of a computer-originated “page” to allow unconventional layouts in the comic format. Do you have plans for more experiments in this area?

  19. Do you know how sales have been for the other venders using Bitpass? With your work it’s easy to see that many people would pay any price, but the other artists using BitPass are people we’ve never heard of.

  20. Are you considering offering online copies of Understanding/Reinventing Comics using Bitpass?

  21. What was the decision making process behind leaving “trails” behind (even if temporarily) and going for images that all fit on a single page/browswer window?

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