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10 Questions With Jennie Wood - Writer Of Paper Planes
I had an advance review last week of this excellent graphic novel from Maverick, and now I had a chance to ask Paper Planes creator Jennie Wood 10 questions about digital comics.
Who are you and what are you working on right now? (2 questions in 1, I know!)
Hi! I’m Jennie Wood, a writer and musician currently living in Boston. My latest project is Paper Planes, an original graphic novel being published by Mad Cave / Maverick on May 16.
What drew you to digital comics?
To be honest, I resisted them at first. I also resisted digital music in a similar way. I love holding an actual book in my hand in the same way that I love the sound of a vinyl record. But the cliché is true – resistance is futile. What finally got me about digital comics is a lot of obvious things. The number one thing is the cost. It’s cheaper to buy digital comics, so I can buy and read more. And they’re more convenient when travelling, especially for someone like me who prefers graphic novels to floppy comics. Carrying around a stack of graphic novels in a suitcase or backpack isn’t ideal. In addition, I relied on digital comics during the pandemic, those early days of COVID-19 when we had no idea what was going on. It was a safer option than going to the store.
Webcomics or digital comics?
If I had to choose between the two, I would choose webcomics. Webcomics feel more personal, indie and DIY to me. I get invested in webcomics in a way that I don’t in digital comics. It’s similar to that local indie band you love because it feels like you know them on some level, you’re invested in them. Plus, webcomics are often free, which is nice. I love stumbling across new webcomics. Again, it’s very similar to going into a bar and there’s this really cool band playing in the back room.
What do you think works with digital comics?
For me, it’s how convenient and affordable they are, as I mentioned above. I also love that people from all over the world can have access to them immediately. There’s no waiting for shipping, no depending on the mail to receive a hard copy.
Can digital comics replace print comics?
I think there’s plenty of room for both. Again, for me, it’s very similar to vinyl records and digital music. Yes, the way most people listen to music today is digitally, but vinyl record sales continue to grow. In 2022, vinyl album sales grew for the 17th straight year. Yes, I listen to music digitally every day. But it will never compare or replace listening Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black on vinyl. And digital comics will never completely replace the feeling of holding a book in my hand.
How can print comics work with digital comics?
I think it’s important to have both options available. It’s great to have different versions for print and digital – maybe a variant cover for each and different “extra” content for both so there is an incentive to get both if you love the book. Digital comics can offer interactive features while the print comics can offer collectible content. And, of course, each can be used to promote the other.
What don’t you like about digital comics?
For me, the biggest thing is screen fatigue. I’m just spending more and more time in front of a screen, which has me craving anything I can do to get a break from it. So I am probably reading fewer digital comics right now than two years ago just because I spend so much time on a laptop, on zoom, on my phone, etc. I need balance and variety which is why I am thankful to have print options available.
What digital comics/webcomics do you read?
One of the webcomics that I read regularly is Boots and Pup, which is about an alien duo travelling through space, written by John Yuskaitis, Jr.. Right now I’m also really enjoying the comics of Katia Wish. Her work features her adventures being a single mother and can be found through Katia’s website and via her social media.
Where do you see digital comics going from here?
Digital comics will continue to grow in popularity, especially as more interactive features and extra content are included with them.
Who do you think we should look out for in digital comics?
Erica Schultz has some great projects coming out for Marvel this year. Two will be available by the time your readers see this. Both Hallows’ Eve and X-23: Deadly Regenesis debut in March. There’s also her series, The Deadliest Bouquet (Image Comics), which is a fantastic page turner. Speaking of Marvel, I think Steve Orlando is killing it (in the best way) with the Scarlet Witch series he’s writing this year. I would also encourage everyone to check out the new projects coming from Invader Comics, some very exciting stuff. All of their projects are funded and published via Kickstarter. Through those Kickstarter campaigns, digital versions are always offered. And Mad Cave / Maverick have a ton of great titles on the way. I’m really looking forward to their You’ve Been Cancelled series. That’s out this June.
Thanks to Jennie for those excellent answers, check out Jennie online and on Twitter: