I may be a daily blogger, but I still have my Luddite side, as well as my cheap side, and have not gone to a Smartphone. This is in part because, as a struggling freelancer, I have enough to do just to pay for access at home, never mind adding another monthly bill so that I can check my email while I'm at the dog park. Which, along with the grocery store and the post office, is about the only place I go, given that my office is one of the three rooms in my apartment.
But today's Knight Life does graze, if not touch directly upon, the issue of everyone in the comics business creating apps and reformatting their comics to fit on a telephone screen. I think that, if you do that, you are estopped from bitching about the size of comics in the newspaper. (For the young people reading this, "estopped" does not mean "stopped in a very hip, on-line sort of way.")
It's quite another thing to prepare your material for an iPad or Kindle, where the size of the screen makes it practical to include artwork, and even to post something that consists entirely of artwork. But there is a difference between trying to be artistically valid and trying to make some coin, and, if people genuinely want to see your comic -- or "Lawrence of Arabia" -- on a cell phone screen, you are entering that area of "as long as the check doesn't bounce ..."
Now, a dozen years or so ago, when the Emperor's New Tailors were measuring the newspaper industry for its lovely on-line wardrobe, there was a valid question of "What check?" which nobody asked for fear of appearing unhip and unfit for their positions. Today, well, nobody writes checks anyway, and they don't write them for the amounts of money that are forthcoming, which remain much as Bill Holbrook noted a decade ago in this Kevin & Kell:
Which brings to mind that I haven't heard anyone talk about how you format your comics such that, when they appear on a cell phone screen, there is some inducement for the viewer to also purchase a book or plush toy. But I guess you could sell them a book in the form of a whole lot of strips they could access with their Smartphone.
The intersection between artistry and commercial success has always been fraught, but the issue of how much technology needs to come into it has a few new wrinkles.
Sarah Laing's comic, "Let Me Be Frank," is, ironically, not well-formatted to post here -- too large and colorful and pretty and posted in segments -- but go have a look as she ponders the question of, among other things, how necessary it is for a cartoonist to Twitter. The question is not only well-asked -- her work is particularly appealing -- but also very relevant given that she's in New Zealand, and, if you're going to be artistically valid but somewhat obscure, that's probably a pretty good place to do it.