Hi! My name's Kenneth G. Yu. I'm a general-project-manager-creature at By Implication, and I'm one of the people who helped build Storylark.ph.
If you haven't guessed by now, By Implication is a company that's obsessed with the internet. Everything we do has to do with the web. And the thing about the Internet is that it's really good at breaking down barriers.
We've tried to go along with this: our other apps try to break down the wall between citizens and government data, or between commuters and the transit information they need to get through the day. We combine this "doctrine" with causes, industries or things that we need, feel strongly about, or outright love.
This brings me to comics. I freakin' love comics. I've wanted to write or draw them ever since I was a kid, but I was never that great as a writer, and absolutely horrible as an artist. I follow both foreign and local books as much as I can, but there's a special weird envy I get whenever I read a really good comic by a local creator.
I wish I could be like that, damn it.
So I tried to get the closest I could. If I wasn't going to be a comics creator, then I'd at least try to make something to help out comics creators.
That's how I got to Storylark. Before everyone else in the company came in and did the stuff that was actually, genuinely important, Storylark was an idea that I wrote down during a company brainstorming session.
How about a Steam, or an App Store, except for indie comics? What if we make everything digital, so we can remove challenges like physical distribution, printing costs, printing quality, money collection, exporting your work, and on?
In the system we wanted to build, there would be as few barriers as possible between the creator's work and his or her readers. We wanted the act of putting your hard work out there to be as simple as uploading an image file on Facebook-- as simple as sharing something, like the internet wants you to do all the time.
Of course, we wanted the process of purchasing to be as simple as possible, too. We wanted Storylark users to be able to have crazy, Steam-esque buying binges, where once you've heard of something good, you're just a click or two away from owning it.
An additional important thing for me was that there should be no need to prove yourself before publishing. I know that there's a strong value to gatekeeping, and keeping up certain quality levels, but the Internet allows you to take risks, and democratize things a little. I wanted to make a system that wouldn't discourage the awesome-but-untested, in any way. (I figure that this is at least in part because I've never felt "good enough" to make my own comics--much less judge someone else's!)
Fast forward a year or two, and we have Storylark.
No, seriously. It's open. You can go over there right now, sign up, and buy or publish something.
( RIGHT NOW )
It's not a gigantic marketplace yet, but we're working on it. And in the meantime, we'd like to give shout outs to Elbert Or, Paolo Chikiamco, Rob Cham, Carljoe Javier, Adam David, Tintin Pantoja, Solomon Lim, Kiko Dans, Jonas Diego, Heubert Khan-Michael, Kevin Ang, Meggy Kawsek, and a giant bunch of other comic creators who helped us out by giving us advice, testing the system, and putting things up early.
As is made very clear by the raw number of badasses we've managed to talk to just by flailing around a bit, Filipino Comics (or Komiks!) is ascendant. There is a huge wellspring of talent and content.
It's not "untapped," "in need," or unoptimized in any way. It's right there, it's in your face, and it's amazing. It's in the Komikons, in our comic book stores, even in malls.
If you're a comic book creator, all we really want is to back your play. We want to help spread the love around a bit, and make it easier for you to reach users in the Philippines and around the world.
(If you're a reader, though? We want your money! Yes! You will be rewarded generously for it!)
And if that doesn't work, at least we can try to make stuffed toys of the mascot we came up with. I freakin' love that fluffy avian.
See you guys at Storylark.ph! Let us know what you think!