Publishing as an industry is at a crossroads. While ink on paper still dominates comics in terms of content purchased, digital comics are taking a more and more prominent place in core reading. The 00’s gave us free to read digital comics that were readily accessible for the first time in the form of webcomics, and tumblr has exploded the type of and amount of people who see comics in a digital space.
The digital space has plenty of room to grow. An experiment in that growth is Believed Behavior, a project curated and managed by Andy Rench. Believed Behavior is a digital platform that delivers new comics to readers in a unique way – purchasers (currently $8/issue) get immediate access to the issue they purchased online, and then receive a physical newspaper print copy of the collection later. It’s basically the reverse of buying vinyl with an MP3 download code.
Issue 2 brings a bunch of changes to the Believed Behavior website – previously comics were serialized instead of released all at once, and the website has been revamped to have multiple reading modes.
Having not used the site prior to this issue, I can’t comment much on the changes, but the comics are very readily available to read. The current site is very responsive.
Each comic 24 panels, in a 3×8 grid. You can also read the comics panel by panel.
Rench has brought on some great talent for Issue #2 – Michael DeForge, Lyra Hill., Anya Davidson, Lale Westvind, and Sophia Foster-Dimino all contribute to this issue.
Of the comics in the collection, the most stunning is by Lyra Hill, whose work I was not immediately familiar with. Her story plays with some interesting themes and shows a depth and vibrancy I didn’t expect from 24 panels. Sophia Foster-Dimino also impresses.
The collection of comics as a whole is very strong. Even the least of these comics stands up by itself.
As the digital space grows and evolves, we are going to start seeing more experiments like Believed Behavior. The fact that this project makes digital the primary experience, like web comics, but also delivers a tactile, physical experience, is worth noting. And for those interested in new comics from some talented young artists, Believed Behavior delivers.
Note: Digital review copies were provided by the publisher.