If you were to ask the kid in this 1989 White Castle commercial about Spider-man, he’d probably tell you that Spidey is his favorite comic book hero. However, if you were to ask a kid in 2015 about “Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man,” he’d almost certainly know him only from the big screen. For comic book fans, the sad reality is that sales and accessibility have dwindled for the past several decades.
Atlanta-based startup Farrago Comics is aiming to create a comic book renaissance
Founded by Marty Fleischmann (CEO), Matthew Lieberman (Chief Development Officer), and Matty Ryan (Chief Content Officer), “Farrago Comics will give millions of readers a simple entry back to the joy of reading comic books and graphic novels through a free-to-read, ad-supported content model – basically, Spotify for comics,” explains Fleischmann. “Splitting ad revenues from each book with top creators and publishers will enable them to make more money than they can from old pay-per-book models, gain far wider trial and exposure from readers who would otherwise never pay to download, and allow us to provide them deep insight on their audience for the first time.” The platform is already finding traction with both creators and publishers. Without any marketing they have already garnered 82 titles and 320 books.
After years of decline, Farrago Comics’ founders have studied the industry’s downward trend and offer this explanation. “Most of today’s comic book fans will not pay $4 per book (no less for digital) or $1-2 for old books, so pirated copying/downloading of digital comics is estimated to be 5-10 times larger than paid digital distribution,” laments Fleischmann.
“Readers want comics, but non-collectors are not willing to pay a steep price. Other creative industries like music and video have taken 10-15 years to work out answers to these issues, while comics have not innovated much due to the dominance of publishers Marvel and DC (who control 75-80% of sales). They are making almost all of their money from the lucrative movie/TV franchises their decades-old characters have fostered and don’t want the incumbent pay-per-book model (or monopoly comic book store physical distribution system) to change much.”
Two Yale grads & a SCAD trained artist started it all
Matty Ryan went to SCAD and worked at Marvel Comics 10 years ago. “As an artist [Matty] knew well how bad the economic model for comics creators can be, so he came at Comic Book Freedom (our tagline) from the creator’s perspective first” shares Fleischmann.
Matty and his friend Isham Colosetti (Farrago’s CMO) tossed the idea around for a few years, and then approached Fleischmann (a Yale grad & previous startup founder) with it and asked if he wanted to help make it a reality. “I liked the scalability, network effects, and data potential of it” Fleischmann concluded & hey we at Hype do too.
Selected to be in Tech Cocktail’s Startup Celebration Showcase during SXSW
20 startups from around the country have been selected to pitch at Tech Cocktail’s Startup Celebration Showcase Sunday 3/15/15 during SXSW in Austin. SXSW showcased startup alumni include FitOrbit, Storify, and Udemy. Farrago is planning a 60-second pitch where Fleischmann may or may not rip open his shirt to reveal the Farrago like he did at February’s Startup Village pitch event at Atlanta Tech Village.
Support this local startup & help them to win the competition’s online reader vote poll, which is open right up to 6:00 PM on 3/15. The poll winner is guaranteed a spot in the Tech Cocktail’s national competition. VOTE