What Price Would You Pay?
Just a week after Marvel imploded the Internet with it’s 700 free digital issue ones, Brian K. Vaughan looks poised to do it all over again. First teased just yesterday, The Private Eye is a new series from Vaughan and artist Marcos Martin and is available on Panelsyndicate.com for the low price of…whatever you want.
That’s right, this is a brand new series, a new #1 for 32 pages, and you can pay whatever amount of money you want to download it. Don’t feel like paying them anything? Go right ahead (I just did). This move is unprecedented, and extremely unexpected when you realize that BKV has had a long relationship with nearly every publisher out there right now. Of course, just because this is a digital book doesn’t mean that we won’t be seeing this book on store shelves anytime soon.
In regards to the plot, like any other BKV book, there’s a good deal of mystery to open up the book with. In an internet-less future, the book follows a private investigator who takes on different jobs for clients. There’s a ton of strange futuristic locations and characters, and many of the future citizens of America wear holographic masks so they can “try out” different cultures. Like Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Saga, the new series has an awesome high concept that guarantees that it’ll be an easy sell for those wondering what it’s all about.
This digital model certainly an interesting concept, but what about those (myself included) who actively refuse to read digital comics? In his afterword at the end of the issue, Vaughan states that he and Martin went about this distribution model so they could reach the widest amount of readers possible, without interruption from publishers. He also says that they won’t have any print editions until they have a “sizeable” amount of issues done, and even then, they’ll most likely go to the Kickstarter route.
But where does this leave the good ol’ LCS? It’s certainly possible that the comic shop could see this book in some form in the future, but if that’s as monthly issues or collected editions, who knows? What we do know is that Vaughan, probably even more so than Marvel’s SXSW debacle, has shown us one possible way that comics can be distributed in the future. What happens next is anyone’s guess.