Some recent comics have popped up on Gumroad as a pay-what-you-want model. Sure, you could download them for free or you could toss the creators a few bucks because making comics isn’t cheap. These were Tales from the Pandemic, an anthology helmed by Mario Candelaria and Fight Szine, written and illustrated by Phillip Sevy.
What’s interesting about this model is that it bypasses every other channel, going directly to the consumer. Sure, there’s ComiXology Submit, but this has a more indie feel to it. Gumroad serves as a platform and a transaction mechanism to pay creators, but the marketing, promotion, and the product all comes down to the creators themselves.
This got me thinking. What else is out there? What other creators have taken this path? The first thing that came to mind was Panel Syndicate, the comics platform built on the pay-what-you-want model that has featured comics like Barrier, The Private Eye, Friday, and Bad Karma.
So, I put the call out on Twitter. I shouted out into the abyss looking for answers…and the abyss shouted back. This blew up overnight with dozens of replies from creators sharing their work. I was going to run a single piece highlighting a few titles and call it a day. Now it’s going to be more than that. Every week I’m going to pick a book from this ever growing list and I’ll take a deeper dive into it.
Do you have a comic available for free / pay what you want online? Please send me a link. Working on something to feature some titles.
— James Ferguson (@JamesFerguson) October 17, 2020
For now, you can check out the thread above and read some comics.