A Digital Preview of ‘The Massive’s’ Print-Only Bonus Features
On sale this week from Dark Horse is The Massive #1, beginning the ongoing voyage of the Kapital and its crew as they seek their lost sister ship, the titular Massive, in the wake of "The Crash," the kind of apocalyptic ecological disaster that's been predicted for many years. Co-created with artist Kristian Donaldson, The Massive is written by Brian Wood, whose previous long form work, DMZ, dealt with similarly dire themes and settings -- specifically, a second American Civil War. But where DMZ focused just on the island of Manhattan, The Massive's stage is the entire world, one that Wood has populated with enough content to necessitate special backup features in each issue -- each print issue, as this material will not be republished in collected editions nor in digital form.
That is, except for right here, where you can get a first look at the sort of material that will going forward be sold only to traditional comics store customers. Single issues of The Massive will be still be available via Dark Horse Digital (at a discount from $3.50 to $2.99, or $1.99 one month after initial release) and in collected paperback volumes. But by making mission dossiers, biographies, timelines, photographs, propaganda and other text-based features that expand upon the fictional world of the story exclusive to its print editions, Wood hopes to make that format his audience's preference, as it is his own.
"This is me rededicating myself to the single issue, not at the expense of any other format, but just making sure that retailers and readers get the most out of me as I can give them," Wood told us last year, during development of The Massive.
Longtime Brian Wood readers may remember a similar scheme connected to Demo, the writer's well received 2003-2004 collaboration with Becky Cloonan. Each issue of the 12-part series came with bonus stories and back-matter such as playlists of music designed for each story, recommended reading, sketches, script excerpts, guest artist pin-ups and other such features that have since gone on to become standard offerings in many indie comics. None of that content was ever collected by original publisher AiT/PlaNETlar nor in a later edition from Vertigo, and Wood and Cloonan replicated the format with the latter publisher's second series of Demo in 2010. Hoever, The Massive's extra features are distinct from those found in Demo and many other comics in that they're not pin-ups, sketches or other "behind-the-scenes" material, but actual story supplements.
It will be interesting to see what kind of reader response Dark Horse and The Massive creators receive to this strategy, which flips the script on the added value concept for digital by applying it to print.