Indigo Comics is a new independent publishing house that has begun producing creator owned digital comics completely free on their website. Their first comic, Zachariah Thorn was released digitally in September (you can find a review here), and just this week the first installment of the web comic Water Cooler Heroes was also published. Founded by brothers, Scott and Robert Reichert the company has a refreshingly unique modus operandi; by providing quality digital, and web, comics and releasing those comics free of charge to the public, Indigo Comics hope to generate revenue through adverts whilst ensuring that anybody with an internet connection can enjoy comics published by Indigo Comics.
In addition to running Indigo Comics, Robert or Scott, and sometimes both brothers, have also been involved in some capacity with the creation process for the comics published by the company so far (Zachariah Thorn was written by Scott with Robert providing the colours). Graphic Policy recently had the opportunity to chat with Scott and Robert about the company, and their first release Zachariah Thorn.
Since this interview was conducted, the web comic Water Cooler Heroes was released, which is a fun four panel little web comic that you can, and should, check out here.
Graphic Policy: Where did the idea for Zachariah Thorn come from?
Scott Reichert: The original idea for Zachariah Thorn was for the story to be set in high school and for the main characters to be teenagers. I had this idea that the main character, Zach, would have magical powers but his powers would change from issue to issue to (hopefully) comedic effect. It was an attempt at a metaphor for puberty and the changes we all go through. In the end I felt the idea was too limiting and the process of coming up with new powers became more of a chore than anything else. The version of Zachariah Thorn that we have published is the result of streamlining the mythology behind the character into something more manageable and foregoing the origin in favor of diving right into the action. The origin will eventually be fleshed out but approaching it this way allows us to give the character a bit of mystique.
GP: Correct me if I’m wrong, but Zachariah Thorn was the first comic you’ve had published through Indigo. How was the experience for you both?
SR: It’s been fantastic. My brother and I started Indigo Comics together. Don’t get me wrong, we are brothers and we can fuss with each other like brothers do but working on this company together has really be creatively fulfilling. I consider myself to be a generally creative person but I find that I have a hard time staying motivated if I don’t have a partner who is as invested as I am. When it comes to Indigo Comics, my brother and I both have a deep passion for making it special and uniquely ours.
GP: What made you decide to make the comics published by Indigo available for free download? You’ve mentioned before about the high barrier of entry for comics fans, and how tough it can be to follow a major storyline at either Marvel or DC. How central was that for you when setting up Indigo’s publishing model?
Robert Reichert: Our feeling is that the barrier of entry for both creators AND readers is too high.
Marvel and DC are the two titans in this industry. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE comics produced by Marvel and DC but they both have closed universes. Zachariah Thorn couldn’t exist in their universe. Without the support of a large publisher, independent creators have to spend thousands of dollars (out of their own pockets if they are just starting out) if they want to do print runs.
At the same time, readers have to keep track of a dozen different titles in order to keep up with any major storyline in Marvel and DC. At $3.00 to $4.00 per book this becomes cost prohibitive for a lot of people. It also makes it extremely difficult for new readers to find a good jumping on point and impossible for young kids keep up.
So we are attempting to take a different approach. We plan to publish digitally at no cost to the reader and hope to cultivate a community that generates enough traffic that, at the very least, could supplement the cost of producing these books through ad revenue.
GP: Does running your own publishing company differ from what you expected it would be, or not?
SR: I don’t think we had many expectations when it came to running a publishing company. Honestly, Indigo Comics was a natural extension of our main desire which was to have fun making comics.
GP: What else does Indigo have in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
SR: We have several projects that are in various stages of production. Our approach has been to post content as it is completed. The main projects we have in the works are…
The Union, a superhero epic set against a post-apocalyptic backdrop. We have pages available on our website and we are in the process of finishing the first issue. Story by Robert Reichert | Art by William Allan Reyes & Robert Reichert.
Beyond The Lighthouse, an existential odyssey about young girl who wakes up on the bluffs of a lighthouse with no memory of who she is. We have released the first few pages through Taptastic and plan on releasing more over the coming weeks. Story by Scott Reichert, art by Kyle Hilton and Robert Reichert.
Water Cooler Heroes, an ongoing webcomic about the day to day life of working in an office filled with superheroes. We plan on releasing the first installment this month. Story by Scott Reichert | Art by Ryan Miller.
There’s more projects in the works and we are updating our website all the time!
GP: Has there been any one standout highlight for you since you’ve begun this journey?
SR: Baltimore Comic Con 2015 was a BLAST. The community there is so open and accepting. We had so much fun talking to everyone who stopped by our booth and seeing all the cosplay.
GP: One last thing; pirates, ninjas, Cowboys or aliens?
SR: Pirates all day, twice on Sunday.
This interview will also be published on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan with slight changes to the formatting.