On The Road To Comic-Con: Interview With Richard Starkings, Creator of Elephentmen And World Renownded Letter
Today is our final interview conducted for Technorati's Road To Comic-Con coverage. From July 12th to the 15th, nearly 150,000 people will invade the city of San Diego and its Convention Center to experience the biggest pop culture event in North America. For one week, Comic-Con International is the only thing in the world.
We spoke with Richard Starkings, creator and writer of the long-running Image Comics's series Elephantmen. Starkings is probably best known for his contributions to comic book lettering as a pioneer in the use of computers to letter. His influence has spanned decades and his work has been seen in countless series.
His early adaptation of technology has positioned him to have a forward thinking approach to technology and comic books. His views on Digital Distribution are very encouraging. "Digital is bringing people back to comic book stores," said Starkings, with some prompting for the Direct Market. "As long as retailers realize that, they can grow their business which is collections and collectibles. The stores I visit have turned their stores into real destinations, offering gaming nights, signings and workshops for up and coming creators."
This belief seems to reinforce the notion of Digital Distribution growing hand-in-hand with the Direct Market. And it's not limited to the Big Two (Marvel & DC) when asked about the health of independent comics. "Very healthy. Elephantmen is constantly experiencing growth in sales on Comixology and as more and more people get used to reading comics on iPads, a whole new market is opening up and people who haven't lived in a town with a comic book store for years are rediscovering the idea of a Wednesday comic fix online," he said with obvious enthusiasm. "I love it."
He sees growth stemming from expanding the reach of sell-through opportunities as well as strengthening the fan-base through other media and less traditional content. This includes material aimed at non-traditional comic readers such as teenage girls and the Twilight franchise. "I guess the reason you mention Twilight in an interview about Comic-Con is because Twilight fans descended en masse to the show a couple of years ago," said Starkings. "I have no problem with that... those Twilight fans will have been exposed to many other pop culture creations and will come back in a few years, days even, looking for more fantasy to satisfy their more mature palettes."Continued on the next page