Our THREE QUESTION interview series with digital comics thinkers, creators, innovators, and pioneers continues this week with someone that is arguably all of the above – Liam Sharp.
You might recognize Liam by his many comic credits, from his early illustration work with 2000 AD on JUDGE DREDD and DEATH’S HEAD II to his later work with Marvel and DC Comics where he contributed his unique style to the likes of THE X-MEN, SPIDER-MAN, THE HULK, BATMAN, SUPERMAN and others. In addition to his illustration work, Liam is also the founder of a critically acclaimed and award-winning publishing company, Mam Tor Publishing, showcasing a variety of independent, fantasy, and science fiction comics and prose. That’s not all! Liam is also the Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Madefire, a pioneering digital comics storytelling platform whose motion books blend elements of comic storytelling, animation, audio, and even video game sensibilities for a wholly unique reading experience.
Liam was kind enough to take part in our three question interviews. His singular perspective with both print and digital publishing as an artist, writer, editor and innovator is a welcome addition to the series!
PERAZZA: What is the best thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?
SHARP: For me it’s the fact that it really is a new medium, so the old rules can be broken! It’s rare to get to use your skills – words and pictures – to create an entirely original experience. And the extent that creators choose to embrace the possibilities is wholly subjective. A digital comic can be completely authentic to the original medium, with no frills, or it can incorporate motion, sound, timing – new ways of revealing the imagery via masks, or fades or slide-ins. I also love how the aspect of time means you no longer have to establish a top left to bottom right reading standard. The eye is led by the next reveal, so you can take the reader wherever you want to go within the confines of the screen. And I think sound adds much more to the experience than we ever expected. The grammar for digital-first reading is just evolving!
We know, too, that people who find digital comics or motion books online are not all comic fans to start with, so it can lead them to print comics. I don’t believe the mediums are in any way mutually exclusive.
PERAZZA: What is the worst thing about comics specifically made for digital reading?
SHARP: I’m not really seeing a negative – other than iPads aren’t particularly great to read on in bright light!
PERAZZA: What do you see in the future for digital comics?
SHARP: It’s wide open. I hope people continue to explore the possibilities. I think a new wave of creators will burn down the established bastions of storytelling – all the stuff we old pen, ink and print guys have to unlearn – and they will build myriad digital constructions in bold and varied forms, far beyond the silent constraints of 22 pages.
PERAZZA: Exploration is the key!