Mark Waid SELLS ALL HIS COMICS To Go All In On Digital Comics

This is pretty fantastic. Mark Waid is throwing his chips into the digital comics game, and in order to fund this venture into the Unknown he is selling off his entire comic book collection. Say what you will about his writing (his Daredevil  is currently the truth), such a bold move has to be applauded

Hit the jump for the lowdown.

Comics Alliance:

With Luther, and his unspecified upcoming weekly project with Peter Krause, Waid is joining creators like Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett, Jim Zub and Shun Hong Chan, and Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown in the growing number of established creators in the world of print comics who have turned to the web in order to do stories that they can’t do anywhere else, both for reasons of format and for content.

You don’t have to guess about that, either. I asked Waid why he decided to go this route and why he wanted to include Luther, and he pretty much laid it all out:

“Luther” was done late last year as a proof-of-concept to show people what I thought digital can do. I took my cues from Yves “Balak” Bigerel, Alex (Valentine) di Campi, and many others, then collaborated with the insanely talented Jeremy Rock to block it out and pace it. It’s a script that, years ago, was originally drawn for one of Boom!’s anthologies — I sent it to Jeremy who, without looking at the print version, “storyboarded” it for the 4:3 digital screen. We went back and forth on it a few times, but Jeremy had a handle on it from the first and I learned some things from him, as well.

“Luther” wasn’t really meant to go live or, again, do much more than demonstrate proof-of-concept — but when I decided to announce the relaunch of as a digital-comics process blog, I asked Jeremy for his (granted) permission to post it for free download. I chose PDF as the download format just because it was the most universal format — we’ll talk about other choices on the process blog.

From here? As I said — becomes a process blog on April 2, counting down to the launch of the digital-comics site in early May where Peter Krause, colorist Nolan Woodard and I will be doing a Brand New Weekly series. In addition, that site will host other short-stories by myself and, once we’re up and running and taken our shakedown cruise, new digital content by others, as well–names you know.

Allow me to repeat myself: I’m not positing that print should just die or go away. I am saying, as I have been for over a year, that unless you’re, say, Brian Vaughan or Bendis or someone else who’s already proven to comics shops that you can move non-superhero fare, print-first creator-owned floppies and graphic novels are a huge risk. Printing prices are a gargantuan bite of your budget at typical direct-market print-runs, even for big name creators. Even to print through Image, as a creator, you have to be willing to work for back-end money or to fund STAGGERING initial costs. There’s no WAY for me — or anyone with less of a track record than I have — to launch two or three new creator-owned books into the marketplace as it is right now, especially non-cape material, and not go bankrupt by issue three. If stores are angry that I’m “giving” the digital space something that I’m not giving them first, I’m sorry, but if I were limited to print, you’d never see these properties in any form. The plan is to collect this material for print eventually–but that’ll have to wait until we monetize the digital and see revenue from that. And, yes, I realize that’s a tough bear to wrestle to the ground, monetization — I’m working hard on that, too.

On the subject of monetizing, there’s one other wrinkle to the story: Waid is funding his digital venture by selling the extensive collection of comics that he’s built up over the past few decades:

It was a huge step. But sacrifices needed to be made. It’s not like I’m taking home a big check from this — the books are on consignment at, so selling them becomes a long-term process — but they’re with them, not with me, and that now-once-more-a-guest-bedroom is a MIGHTY empty looking room. And, yes, I still wake up in the middle of the night missing my complete run of Leading Comics or Robin Star-Spangleds or whatever, but… but… no, wait, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry…

I was pretty floored the first time I ingested this story. Smacks of Kevin Smith rolling the dice back during the filming of Clerks, and for the industry and Waid I hope the gamble pays off.