A few weeks ago, tiredandvulgar posted a blog about the rise of the webcomic. They talked about the potentially freeing aspects of creating the comics on the web, yet there are still comics which operate under ” within more traditional constraints with the ultimate intention of going to print.”
I wanted to look at a particular instance of web-comic that has gone to print. Battlepug is a web-comic that was spawned out of ifanboy.com contacting Mike Norton to design a t-shirt. He came up with the character of Battlepug:
Mike and the color artist, Allen Passalaqua, decided to turn this into a web-comic and started posting weekly strips in February of 2011. What started off as a goofy shirt idea turned into a serious comic about a women telling her talking dogs a story about warrior who is out for revenge to kill the giant seal that killed his mother and whole village. Along the way the warrior runs into the large pug – Battlepug.
Battlepug was created without the clear intention of printing it (although it was in July of 2012) and offered the freedom from the constraints of tradition comics. Mike Norton explains in an interview with comicattack.net: “Normally, at Marvel or DC, there are obvious restrictions set either by corporate or editorial or sometimes even marketing that keep you from doing exactly what you want to do. Battlepug is all me, so I get to do whatever I want. It’s a kind of freedom I haven’t really taken advantage of fully in my career until now and it’s extremely gratifying.”
In the same interview Norton talks about how printing Battlepug came about almost accidentally: “My friend Eric Powell kept telling me he was a fan and that I should talk to Dark Horse about publishing a book there. I talked to the DH guys at San Diego comic con and things worked out pretty well. Now, here we are!”
When you flipped through the archive of the first year of Battlepug and through the pages of the printed volume, there isn’t much difference between the two. It becomes pretty clear that the way the book was printed was created to conform to the original web format instead of reforming the web-comics to fit the typical form of a normal trade paperback. The print copy of Battlepug is a wide format book with it’s dimensions being 8.7 inches tall by 12.2 inches wide.
I think that Battlepug shows the freedom that web-comics can offer an artist yet also shows how that comic can be published in a more traditional sense without losing aesthetic freedom of the original; it might even offer some creative changes for the traditional comic industry.
If you’re interested in reading more Battlepug here is the first strip and it is updated on Mondays.