Saturday, October 26, 2013

Digging into Digital: Believed Behavior Offers Online Content + Print Product

Another group of mini-comics creators is taking advantage of the immediacy of the internet while holding on to the concept of a printed product, which I think is a solid combination.

Believed Behavior debuted recently, offering a chance to read serialized comics online from five creators for $8. Now that's not a bad deal in and of itself* but the folks behind this site have a bonus for subscribers at the end.

Once everything for these comics is finished and posed, they will be sending out a tabloid-sized comic containing all of the serialized material, giving readers a print version of their digital subscription. It's basically the digital codes idea in reverse, and I think it's incredibly cool.

The creators involved are all from the Chicago area, so they aren't as well known to me. Andy Burkholder, Krystal DiFronzo, Edie Fake, Grant Reynolds, Jeremy Tinder. Tinder is one of the Oily Comics contributors, and is the only person whose work I recognized by name, as I've also read his stuff from Top Shelf. However, the samples from the others definitely make this one a project worth subscribing to.

For the purposes of this post, I'm only discussing the bits currently shown for free, though by the time this posts, I will be a subscriber. I'll take them in order of which they appear on the main page:

Floriculture By Krystal DiFronzo is like a visual poem, with a few words to go along with each watercolored picture. I really think it's neat that you can sometimes see the lines of the paint as it dried. Her style uses inked lines that are then painted in, and they do a great job of affecting a mood on the reader.
Busty Shasta By Grant Reynolds is a wordless comic that appears to be taking place in a strip club. It features panels that are big and bold, despite their black and white construction. They're in your face with fanciful exaggerations that may or may not represent reality (it's too early in to tell). This one reminded me quite a bit of something you might see in Oily.
Night Taps By Edie Fake really takes advantage of the panel-by-panel style of the website's viewer, using a window as a framing device for a story that features an extremely polite monster warning of a safety concern. The Ignatz-winning Fake's monster is rounded and loose, with Halloween-themed colors. This one was my favorite of the bunch when I was going through the samples.
Pretty Smart By Andy Burkholder uses text to make up part of the visuals. It's a long, rambling letter that goes on and one while the action takes place extremely slowly. The Juxtaposition makes this one work, and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
Loren By Jeremy Tinder is more like his Top Shelf material than the work in Oily. Fully colored, it's off to an interesting start, using visual gags to keep the story lighthearted, which isn't easy, given the protagonist just cremated his dog. This one looks a bit like James Kochalka in terms of its deceptively loose lines and disregard for anatomy, and has a definite hook that makes you want to keep reading.

I've mentioned before that I love getting a chance to explore the work of mini-comics creators from regions I don't get to visit personally, and this one hits the Chicago group nicely. The cost is minimal, and can be done quickly through PayPal, which I appreciate. I also like that all of this is called "Season 1" (though why comics folks insist on using a TV term is beyond me) because it means they're planning to make this an ongoing project.

If you like mini-comics--especially ones from Oily--then definitely give Believed Behavior a try. When the stories are finished, I'll try to get back to doing another review, to see how my opinion changed from beginning to end.

*Yes, I know, lots of webcomics are free. I am referring to pricing as compared to, say, buying 5 PDFs of mini-comics that a creator has digitized.

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