Celebrating the ultimate marriage between art and storytelling, Titanium Comics is breaking super ground in more ways than one. One of the first comic companies to sell their published work using Bitcoin is now offering limited editions of Issue #2 – using ascribe.io – from their series The Arcane — and they’re super stoked about it. We sat down with the guys behind Titanium to get a little sneak peek into this latest issue and to find out why ascribe works for them.
Alright, let’s talk first about The Arcane. You’ve got the wild west, the occult and epic battles between good and evil. What is it about this narrative that draws people in?
First, superheroes as a genre dominate comics, so with western comics being less in the public’s eye, we wanted to surprise fans from another angle and environment that superhero-type stories could be told.
Second, basing a story in a Wild West setting is a lot like basing one in Science Fiction, you have a lot of room to play. Expanse environments, new frontiers and less restrictions overall. Finally, fans are going to be in for a treat as this is not just an occult tale, it will challenge some very concrete ideas we have about religion, but I don’t want to spoil it, so you’ll just have to keep reading, but I can say this…excited fans will say at the very least, “Wow!” “No Way!” And that in itself is grounds to keep following.
What can readers expect from Issue #2?
Readers should be holding on to their hats and saddles! Lucifer is getting closer to obtaining what he’s after. As a bonus, it looks like Lucifer will also get the young Phelan, who like our story’s heroes, displays his own unique powers. But you can bet your digital copy of the ascribe / Titanium Comics Arcane Limited Edition Digital Package, the Arcane Brothers aren’t going down without a fight that even comic fans won’t remember to forget!
The characters in The Arcane are all so incredibly unique and interesting. You’ve even created some video features about a few. Why develop such intriguing characters?
The comic book industry is filled with so many interesting and fascinating characters. These many characters have backstory and/or costumes which really make them staples. Believe it or not, it was a natural part of our story to create characters of this caliber. It really wasn’t about competing with what’s out there, as much as it was creating characters which felt organic to the story, mood and intention we have for readers who come to our comics.
The comic book has recently gone through a resurgence in popularity, why do think that is?
We owe a huge thanks to comic book visionaries who have written and illustrated some really great stories over the years. I think what we are seeing today is due to comic book teleplay and screenplay evolution. Comic book television shows and movies have come a long way since the 90’s. They are hitting some missed notes from earlier years. Each giving the other more examples and tools to use to entice fans further. And let’s face it, new and old fans alike don’t want the fun of these adventures to end. So, how are we able to continue in between next week’s episode and the next sequel at the box office? With comic books. Movies are renewing and sustaining existing interest and creating new ones. The Walking Dead, The Flash, Iron Man, The Avengers are some examples of this.
Strides in the digital hardware landscape also have something to do with it. Tablets in the mobile computing environment foster their own unique and still fairly fresh experience fans get to have. From sound, color and resolution improvements to touch screen functionality.These all play a role in our increased engagement with comic books.
Creating comics is more than story telling, there is a lot of creativity that goes into creating just one issue. Can you describe that process?
I think this is an area that not only some fans may not know a lot about. There’s a lot involved in creating a comic for public consumption. A publisher or solo creator has multiple people and processes to handle. Not to mention handling finance. But in defense of multiple creative types, there is no one way to accomplish this. There’s a number of steps from crafting the story to illustrating pages to getting it published. If I were to describe it all in detail, it could easily be a small college paper. There are so many areas and people involved including communicating post production needs with printers, secondary markets, getting ads and social media information together, payroll, and on and on.
What do you enjoy about the process?
One thing I personally enjoy, is that Titanium Comics often approaches comic production in a similar way to movie production. This means there are management and producer meetings and brainstorming sessions on everything from how the story and characters are woven into the comic to how we will promote the comic. Illustrations, scripts and other adjoining materials almost never go right from one talent to the next, they are typically collected by the production managers, evaluated and then pushed back out there into production hell. This might be a slow or amateurish way of doing things, but it guarantees the look, feel and energy we want our comics to have for our readers.
You guys have a very strong team. What’s your secret?
What is most important if you are working with a team of creators on a comic book is that you work as a solid team; one concise voice. Keeping in mind that although the featured artist may make the most, the book hasn’t sold until it sells out and above all associated cost. So although one talent may think they make the process work more than the others involved, the truth is, everyone involved is equal in the success or failure of the comic and/or series. If teamwork and a desire to make the whole work a reader’s delight isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it really doesn’t matter who the artist is or how brilliant a story you have is, you’re going to fail. Work as a team and treat the comic and/or series and others involved as an integral part to winning, because you all are.
How does ascribe help you deliver your work?
Well first, we want to thank you guys and girls at ascribe for sharing such a phenomenal architecture with our industry. It also doesn’t hurt that you’re big comic fans. Features of the ascribe technology allow us as creators to have a few things not traditionally found in this or other segments of the entertainment industry. The Active IP protection makes protecting our work a whole lot easier. Once creators “ascribe” their illustrations, static images, prose, video and audio to the Blockchain, they will have decentralized and timestamped records verifying ownership. Not only will they have this information, but the whole Blockchain will have it and maintain it for the owner. It’s just that simple. This means we can spend more time creating and less time paying out precious production dollars on an archaic IP protection process which does little to really “secure” our assets.
A super bonus for us is that ascribe’s technology allows us to create and manage special and limited edition digital collections, not previously possible when publishing a digital comic. Consumers are used to receiving additional items with their print comics in a sealed bag. Now, we can create a similar experience with digital products. Another of ascribe’s technology IP management features will be integrated into a new product our parent company is developing for comic fans and creators alike. More on that in the future, so stay tuned!
What are the benefits of unique limited digital editions in the comic book world?
It is very difficult to issue a digital comic and make it rare. Just the ability to add one of anything to the internet makes it available to everyone. For the most part, the less rare the less the value for a comic collector. Unique digital limited editions preserve value on digital goods the same way they would with rare print collectibles. It allows publishers the opportunity to include video, audio, static images and written works to those packages. Very similar to Blu-Ray and DVD special edition content. Obviously, in manufacturing and print of physical goods, the less units you produce, the higher your cost per unit. So for comic publishers, reducing the cost of production, assembly and order fulfillment, those saved dollars go back into our comic production budgets where they belong. Blockchain technology has the ability to disrupt naturally occurring omnipresence online. Creators using the technology can place specific, and intentional limitations on digital comics, to make those goods limited like the physical goods markets have done traditionally. It’s exciting being a comic publisher knowing creators who are publishing actively in the digital space can create a number of unique digital merchandise packages to excite and satisfy fans.
How can ascribe help foster more growth in the comic industry?
Three ways come to mind:
One, keep evolving the technology and how we can approach, interact with and benefit from the Blockchain.
Two, Education. Comic publishers are notorious for the “how it’s always been done” mentality. Don’t get me wrong, if we didn’t follow some very necessary processes of duplication we couldn’t make comic books and graphic novels. But it’s time for the 2,500 plus creators and independent publishers to follow Titanium Comics lead by looking at technology and other industries as viable partners to grow.
Finally, keep working with Titanium Comics. We love both the technology and comic book industries and we are just as committed to publishers as we are comic book fans. With that being said, we have specific plans to bring technology and new products directly to comic publishers and consumers through very creative strategies. We are committed to change how a large portion of creators and publishers interact in this space. We want them to relate to what we envision the near future of the comic book industry will be. No bragging here when I mention “what we envision,” but this is a big deal!
What are the future goals for Titanium Comics?
Titanium Comics is working to expand its comics line into less published but extremely exciting genres; continue the storyline of The Arcane and other original series; and, take on some fun and enjoyable children’s projects.
Technology is important to us, so we are constantly in talks with developers. We’re committed to creating ways to integrate relevant software and hardware solutions into our storytelling and content distribution process. We will continue to foster industry relationships and make meaningful appearances at comic conventions around the US in the next year. We are lucky to have a global presence. We are on several social media sites in mainland China and one fairly new trendy site in Indonesia. With that, we intend to increase our outreach to as many international comic book communities as possible. Places which host heavy mobile use and are already aware of Titanium Comics. And lastly, we’re looking forward to making some big announcements early next year that will amplify our mantras to creators of all sizes when we say “Own It!” or “Own It People!”
“Why do comics and bitcoins seem to go hand-in-hand so well?”
Bitcoin as a digital cryptocurrency has a tough uphill battle — not that it will lose. Bitcoin as a technology, now that’s the ticket! Bitcoin represents a development code, or series of codes depending on how you look at it, and set of applications just barely scratching past the surface of what they can do. With the Blockchain acting as a decentralized database and possessing accounting functionality, comic book publishers who are publishing digital content are in for a wild ride! These technologies allow us to protect comic production assets, establish independent crowdfunding activities directly through our own dedicated fanbase, create and manage our own unique reward and buyer incentive programs, basically allow creators the power to become a one-stop shop.
The best way to describe it is this: imagine renting a warehouse space for your business, but it literally comes with a printing press, attorneys, employees, and a number of other must have service providers. That would make renting an office and starting a business easy and highly valuable all in one. Blockchain software and code become the middleman for revenue and business activity transactions, never keeping a share, but putting your cash to work for you more efficiently, helping you manage your online and physical company locally and globally on your own. I’m not just talking about storing data in the cloud here; I’m talking about websites which build themselves, comic books which will have revenue value all the way down to the individual panel in ways most of us, fans and creators alike, never imagined. So the long pole in the tent is comic publishers who barely live above the employed poverty line, will be able to control and drive their brands to new unfathomable levels of success. Using this technology resource, comic creators whether now or as it evolves into new developments, will be on a similar footing as global Fortune 500 companies. And there are still a number of evolutions the technology can progress to that aren’t generally known yet.
To learn more about Titanium Comics visit http://www.facebook.com/ti.comics.