So what in the world is OpenDoor Comics?
Well, as you can see for yourself, it isn’t much of anything at the moment.
I’ve been kicking this idea around for about two years now, and recently decided to start moving it out of my head and into the world, and what you see here, now, is the result of those efforts.
And, again, the result of those efforts isn’t really all that much.
There is more – much, much more – to come in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.
The plan for OpenDoor Comics has several phases, and if I’m honest, we’re probably not even to Phase 1 yet. We’re probably somewhere around Phase 0.2.You may be asking, “What will Phase 1 look like?” Then again, you may not, but either way, I’ll tell you.
With Phase 1 we’ll have an established platform for creators of original webcomics to share their ideas with the world, and a place where fans of the art of putting words and pictures together can come to see comics of all types and styles that are as diverse as the people behind them.
There will be changes to the look and feel of the site, an index of categorized links to all of the content contained herein, profiles for creators, areas for discussion between fans and creators, more opportunities to purchase merchandise – including tools and templates for creating comics of your own – additional services and expanded support for creators, and just generally more.
As for Phase 2, well, while we pride ourselves on openness here, I’d rather not spoil the surprise just yet.
Still, I haven’t really answered the original question, have I?
OpenDoor Comics is an idea born out of my lifelong love of comics. Given what’s happening at the Box Office, one might think that comics rule the world. Sadly, that’s not really the case, and there are many reasons why that’s so.
The rapid growth of the Internet over the past two decades has opened the door for people all over the world, with vastly different backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyles to share their creativity, their ideas, and their stories. Social Media, Web publishing platforms, and the various eBook marketplaces: all of these and more represent an unprecedented opportunity for self-expression.
With that said, barriers still remain. Rigid, restrictive categorization, the old media mindset, and technological hurdles can seem daunting and impossible to overcome for many people. The door may be open, but for whatever reason, many people just can’t walk through.
Worse, many are actively prevented from walking through. Online harassment and the toxic culture of trolls are an unfortunately predictable outcome of the open and anonymous nature of the Internet, but that represents only a part of the problem. While there is significant overlap with the behavior of trolls and other online bullies, the real problem is one of a general desire to keep the door closed.
Hate, ignorance, and simple malice are components, but the real problem is one of fear. Fear of a loss of privilege and hegemony, fear of reprisal for years of oppression and intolerance, and a simple fear of the other.
In traditional media, this has led to a depressing level of homogeny. Overwhelmingly, our choices for creative expression are made by straight, white men for straight, white men. This is especially true in the world of comics, where the lack of diversity both on the comic page and off has led to an ever-diminishing audience and volumes of in-depth online discussion of the causes, effects, and solutions to the problems that stem from the unexamined privilege of the creators and consumers of comics.
In catering almost exclusively to what they view as the majority of their audience, comics publishers ignore the real majority, and fail to recognize that a majority is simply a collection of minorities.
Despite the protests of those who fear the loss of their privilege, embracing the diversity of creative voices in comics can only expand the medium’s audience.
And that’s why I’ve launched OpenDoor Comics.
For comics to continue to thrive in the way that I, as someone who loves them – warts and all – want them to, they have to change. Not just in terms of embracing new technology and distribution methods, but in terms of embracing new ideas and moving away from the closed, exclusionary ways.
So I want to open things up, even if only just by the slightest margin.
Obviously, I can’t do it alone, and this one little site – even if it grows beyond my wildest dreams – can’t change the world, or even the world of comics, but it’s a start.
I’m doing what I can to make sure the door is open. I’m hoping that you’ll come in and help keep it open.