Quinton Miles: Zero Season is, in a nutshell, my take on pilot season for comics. On July 2, I’ll be launching zero issues for two potential new series and whether we continue on with them past that is entirely dependent on how well they connect with the audience. I’ll be tracking the ratings and reception in the months/weeks that follow, and if one or both of them do well, we’ll take them to series.
LJ: Zero Season is essentially acting as a pilot season for two series. Pilots aren’t unknown in television, being a big part of the process, but the only pilot season I can think of in comics is the various ones Top Cow has done, which ended with varying degrees of success. What about the concept drew you to it and made you want to put your own spin on it?
QM: I’ve always been a fan of the pilot season process for television, and over the last few years it’s become more democratic thanks to social media and places like Amazon (who now owns Comixology!). Finding ways to stand out as a creator-driven publisher is something I’m always interested in doing, and even when Robert Kirkman did all of Top Cow’s Pilot Season in 2009-2010 they weren’t all at once. I kind of look at it as a challenge. So why not me, why not us, and why not now?
At the same time, these aren’t just two random ideas I’m throwing up against the wall to see if they stick. They’ve been in development for a while now (in Signature‘s case as long as my first series Template), and I’m hoping the audience responds well to both.
LJ: QAM Comics recently went from releasing comics on both Submit and your site, to being exclusively on Submit. What about Comixology Submit makes something like Zero Season possible for a small publisher like yourself?
QM: For the most part it’s complete (for better or worse) independence to do whatever I want, how and (mostly) when I want to do it. No gatekeepers/editors/publishers outright ignoring pitches, or rejecting them since they don’t “fit” their publishing schedule or whatever reason they make up at the time to not really give them a look. My success or failure is entirely on me now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thanks to Submit, I’m in a place now where I don’t really have much interest in pitching publishers to do “my” stuff. If I, and the respective team, want to do a creator-owned book, we’ll do it. Simple as that. I’m not looking for anybody’s permission/validation anymore on that front except for the audience’s.
LJ: The two series in Zero Season are Signature, which is about US Marshalls who must deal with time traveling fugitives and stop them from disrupting the time stream, and The Round, a spin on Arthurian legend where the Knights of the Round are an elite military force who protect Camelot from danger. Both seem to generally fit into the crime/military genre, but with a decided spin on it. What about these stories made them right for launching Zero Season with?
QM: I’m really interested in seeing if there’s an audience for comics that are specifically targeted to the digital crowd’s tastes, not just in the presentation with things like Guided View Native but the actual material. Almost all of the “Digital First” comics out there are books that could easily be on the Direct Market that happen to be coming out for digital platforms first, hence the title.
This is a term I’m totally making up just this second, but both Signature and The Round are two books that I’m hoping will eventually become “Digital Originals”, comics for people who like the transmedia stuff like Smallville, Batman 66 and Injustice that are looking for original comics with concepts they can easily wrap their head around. And that’s definitely not to say there aren’t books like that already out there (Moth City and Valentine among others, all of which are awesome), but I’m consciously making an effort to go after that specific crowd.
LJ: You’re going to rely on social media and Comixology ratings to decide which book moves beyond the pilot. What’s the best way for a reader to let you know about which story they liked?<
QM: You just said it. The Comixology ratings are definitely king, but spreading the word about one or both of the series on all social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) are the best and most direct ways of letting us know what they thought of the issues. I’ll be reading EVERYTHING, so be sure to drop a line!
LJ: In the event that a book overwhelmingly comes out on top, do you already have stories planned or are you waiting to see what the reception is?
QM: People will see this when they read the issues, but I’ve already got stories planned out for both series. They kick off in the zero issues, and if they go on from there, they’ll be direct continuations.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add?
QM: I think you got everything! That said, I do want to thank everybody who made TEMPLATE a Top 100 Comixology Submit series this year in just six months of being on the store, along with those who continue to support Xeno Trip. You guys are all amazing and you’ll never know how much we appreciate your support. I’m just getting started, so expect to see my name on more Submit books to come even after Zero Season finishes!<
Be sure to check out both Signature and The Round when Zero Season begins this Wednesday!