Mark Waid’s Thrillbent has some pretty good titles.
Well, OK, I only read one. Insufferable, which I reviewed here. However, these comics will no longer be free, as Thrillbent will now be charging a $3.99 monthly fee to view those comics.
I’ve always been open with you, our readers, about not only our successes but our challenges—chief among them, how to pay for all this. How to streamline that social contract between us, the content providers, and our fans, who are willing to pay a fair price for what we provide so that we can keep bringing the new.
On our storefront, we’ve experimented with different models—some downloads with fixed prices, some pay-what-you-will, all DRM-free—and that’s been helpful but unpredictable. We’ve always been resistant to putting up some sort of tip jar because (it’s a personal thing, no judgments) that just makes me uncomfortable. Still, we know we have a proven audience out there willing and eager to support us financially so we can continue to bring them new content, and we think we’ve finally figured out how to give readers that opportunity in form that nets them the most value. From Waid himself:
This past weekend, we stealth-launched the Thrillbent iPad app. It’s a thing of beauty. If you’re so inclined, go check it out (and, yes, Android is in the works). Effective immediately, the Thrillbent website will sync up with it—make sure your name is on the mailing list for immediate notification—as we begin to roll out even more new series. There will still be free content on Thrillbent, there always will be—we’re big believers in the marketing power of “free”—but to that, we’re adding a “Hulu Plus” level of new content, if you will….
Ultimately, what we arrived at was this: a monthly subscription model that allows access to all Thrillbent material past and present for the price of one print comic: $3.99.
For that $3.99, you’ll be able to read everything as it rolls out, the moment it’s posted. You’ll receive push and/or e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted. Create a subscription account and your info will be kept up-to-date on the website, the iPad app, and all future apps and platforms, meaning wherever you’re signed in, we’ll keep track for you of what you’ve already read and what’s new so you can tell at a glance where you are in any given series. And, yes, anything you’ve already purchased carries over to the new system, no worries there.
Will it work? SHRUG. Getting money for work online has been one of the biggest challenges for anyone in any field. A few models (Penny Arcade, The Oatmeal) have been successful, but those almost always rely on the popularity of gags that can translate to t-shirts and posters. Making money off of longform comics is a little more difficult. Comixology has proven to be a sustainable model, and Waid is a well respected comic writer. However, his non-Marvel/DC stuff doesn’t exactly burn up the charts.
(h/t Comics Alliance)