Fresh off winning an Ignatz Award, Darryl Ayo took some time at his booth at SPX to talk to us about his process, writing for digital distribution, and... superheroes!? That's right, his winning piece (Promising New Talent) was about a superhero team, published in House of Twelve #3. But you can check out some of his other works in our Darryl Ayo Roundup and read our interview below.
Alex: Darryl! Of course you won one of the Ignatz Awards last night. You seem to a crowd favorite. Was this your first one?
Darryl Ayo: Yes.
A: I noticed your mother and godmother were there last night.
DA: That's right, yeah. They came down from New York. They drove down to come out and see me.
A: That's nice to see! It's nice to see people coming out to support. I know my mom would be here in a similar situation. Tell me a little bit about the award-winning work.
DA: The award-winning work was a six-page short comic from House of Twelve #3. It was a comic called "Ghosts" about this superhero team that I created when I was a little kid. And I always had them in the back of my mind and I just sort of dragged them out because I needed a superhero team for a story. And the funny thing for me was that while I was working on it I was trying to wrap up the comic because it takes me a pretty long time to actually do a six-page story. My godbrother was actually in New York at the time and he was hanging out with some friends of ours from college, so I packed up my laptop and walked across the Williamsburg Bridge, in the rain, to where our friend lives and I propped up my laptop and started and finished the last pages of this story, Ghost, with my godbrother yelling at video games, just like when we were kids drawing comics together... but not really. But you know, it felt like a nice little full circle. And also, when we were in college I did a lot of, "Oh guys! I finished my thing!" And they would be like, "...Uh-huh..."
A: So did you always know it was always going to be digital? Or was that something that came after?
DA: Yeah, yeah. The House of Twelve, what we do is our stories are exclusively digital which means they appear on Comixology's application first and for several years I guess, without being distributed in any other way. So yeah, the work was created specifically to be seen on iPhone, Android and now we have iPad and stuff like that. So I always knew that it was going to be seen that way and probably wouldn't be seen on paper for a couple of years.
A: So how does that change the creative process when you are writing for online as opposed to writing for print? Or I should say, digital, rather than online.
DA: Okay. I had just committed myself to doing a webcomic. A traditional webcomic, which is a blog that updates with pages of comics when the editor of House of Twelve #3 asked me to be a part of this visual anthology. When he told me about the project, I was really interested in it immediately and I just did it instead of doing a traditional webcomic because as much as I love webcomics and I like the idea of having work out there for free, I also find that a lot of people have difficulty following an ongoing story that goes on for more than one page or more than one strip because they will need to retain all that information over days or weeks. This way they get all the information, you know, all of the pages in the comic in one shot. So it seem just more conducive to long-form work, in my view. So I felt like it was a direction that more people will find suitable for different works that are not necessarily gag oriented. And I love that stuff too, but I feel like anything can work in any venue, but certain types of works are more optimized, I would say, for different distribution methods.