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It's Business, It's Business Time. Part 1: Welcome to THE WOOOOORLD OF TOMORROOOOOOW

You know when Tim is running ComixTalk for a week it's time for business, that's why they call him Business-Tim.

Internet! How are you? It's me again, your pal Tim. You may recall me from such internetery as GraphicSmash.com, Clickwheel.net, and Reckless Life. I'm gonna be taking a look at the changing face of digital comics we seem to find ourselves in these days over the course of the week as it relates to stuff I know enough about to comment on.

Today I'm going to take a broad look at what's going on right now and what it means to you. Yes, YOU. So why not click read more and read some more, because I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, aaaaaaaah yeeeeeah, it's time for business. It's business time.

So, the times, they are a-changing, aren’t they?

All of the sudden we have traditional comic publishers DC, Dark Horse, Virgin, Platinum, and 2000AD entering the digital sandbox, to say nothing of online juggernauts like MySpace. In some ways this changes things for digital comics, and some ways it doesn’t.

Should I end this post there? Great insight Tim, thank you for saying nothing we didn’t know!

Okay, I guess I’ll add to that vague opening statement.

Anyways, just what DOES this mean? Well, for one, there’s more money floating around the industry, which is a good thing because even if you’re not grabbing it up yourself, it is out there to grab, if not now, then perhaps down the line. In time, it also may mean you may actually be able to get a real check doing webcomics. Currently, if you want to make a living at webcomics you really need to be a self-starter and a multi-talent in many arenas. For some, this is ideal and hugely rewarding, but I know many creators would love to simply be paid to make their comic. Currently there isn’t much room for this online as most of the above are running their operations on a ‘talent contest/get published’ model, which is not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not quite the same as being paid to do your thing straight-up because it’s just that good, but I think in time, this American Idol approach will slow (though never stop fully in a business with more hopefuls than success stories) and companies will be forced to do things the old fashioned way which is to say to take submissions and make editorial decisions. Of the current sites out there, I’m gambling Dark Horse Presents is the most likely to start paying for original online content from independent creators, though I can tell you that Clickwheel is doing it at microcosm already, as we have already commissioned a few exclusive original episodes of Joe Loves Crappy Movies and The Non-Adventures of Wonderella with more in the works.

This is not say you should sign away the rights to your comic willy-nilly, not at all. What I’m hoping here is that digital comics will find itself something of an Image comics model, where creators with great work can get the funding and support they need to get their work to the people who will love it, and the companies get the benefit of having great work bringing people to the site.

It’s this notion of being paid to make comics that I’d really like to see appear in the digital community. I’m not dismissing the notion of the independent, fully self-sufficient creator, in fact, that’s often where some of the best stuff comes from, but that component of the business works just fine and doesn’t need anything other than those brilliant do-all folks. In my editorial travels I’ve met folk who are fantastic talents, but they’re pure artists, and it does take a business man to run an independent operation and it kills me to know they may never reach their full audience simply by creating an awesome comic. I think creating an awesome comic is worth something, I think it’s worth a lot actually, and I hope that the things that are happening now start opening up opportunities for creators of all skill sets.

In the meantime the best thing you can do to help this is just keep creating great work, and hopefully the folk with the pocket books will find ways to make that work into a profitable venture for all concerned. At the very least, I can tell you that I’m working on it. Hopefully I’m not the only one.