Web comics have proved to be a very entertaining alternative to people looking to read comics in other forms besides print. Veteran comic book writer Tony Digerolamo is taking full advantage of that need with his very own website the Web Comic Factory.
Digerolamo has worked in comics since 1996 beginning with Jersey Devil. Since then he has been a part of the writing team for the Simpsons comics under Bongo Comics and is currently writing Super Frat and other web comics. I got a chance to talk to the comic book veteran about his past, his present, and his future.
TD: Well, currently I run The Webcomic Factory and Super Frat web comic sites. The Webcomic Factory has many different web comics, including the most recently launched, “East Coast vs. West Coast”. It’s about the cultural differences on the coasts. On Super Frat, we have a secret project we’ve been working on for a while that we’ll be announcing soon.
SU: How have you been able to fund your project/s?
TD: Web comics require very little funding. Website space runs around $8/month and beyond that, it’s just about time and effort. My time is split between writing the comics and trying to get sponsors for the sites. We have a rotating group of artists on the Webcomic Factory, so the projects don’t consume everyone’s time. It’s a long term game.
SU: What have been your influences in creating comics and what made you want to do so in the first place?
TD: My background is in screenwriting and after being rejected by every other medium, I decided to give comic books a try. I had some moderate success self-publishing and eventually got work at Bongo Comics. Ultimately, I moved to web comics. I feel that this is where the medium is heading and the place to be for the future.
SU: What would you like people to take in when reading your comics?
TD: I write a lot of comedy, so mostly; I’d like people to laugh. But with a web comic like “The Antiwar Comic”, I’d like them to think too.
SU: How did you first break into comics?
TD: I self-published the Jersey Devil comic book based after the local legend.
SU: What other projects have you been working on and what kind of stuff would you like to do in comics?
TD: Currently, I’m co-writing a new project with Christian Beranek for the Webcomic Factory. We recently finished up “Post Apocalyptic Nick” and the two of us wanted to work with artist, Tom Kurzanski again. I’ve also got a second web comic that’s got a bit of a “Tales of the Crypt” anthology feel. That will probably launch in the next month or so.
SU: What are you reading right now, any comics right now you are really into?
TD: “Crossed” by Garth Ennis and various random updates from web comic creators I find on Reddit. Lots of times I’ll check in with web comic creators to whom I share links with. I just don’t have money to waste on print comics. They’ve completely priced me out.
SU: What are your plans for the future?
TD: My goal with the Webcomic Factory is to keep building the hits. I’d like to break 100K. We came really close in 2011 with the Antiwar Comic’s response to Frank Miller. 2013 looks very possible.
SU: What is your method of writing/creating how do you come up with your content?
TD: I tell most writers that ask that that I use a service called the Idea Factory in Camden, NJ. For $19.95, they’ll send you an envelope full of ideas and you can just develop them.
SU: How did you come to work for Bongo comics and what is it like working on the Simpsons franchise?
TD: A friend of mine worked there and recommended me for the job. It’s great. They pay well and they treat writers very good. I’m a big fan of the show. I could really write Simpsons stories all day.
SU: What is the most rewarding thing about working in comics and the toughest part?
TD: Well, I guess I like it because it’s kind of the poor man’s movie. I can, in a sense, direct it and control it. The toughest part is the money. It’s hard to monetize comics, especially web comics and especially as a writer.
SU: Tell us about web comic factory and super frat, how can aspiring comic creators use the web comic factory to their advantage?
TD: Well, if you’re looking to do your own site, you should check out web comics. Read them. Get to understand how they work. The Webcomic Factory is more of a hub and Super Frat is more of a one-web comic site. You need to approach them and other sites with a critical eye and try to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
SU: Anything else you would like to add?
TD: Aspiring creators, write what you know. Write things you like. Have fun.