Valentina Kraljik, Comic Basics: “a picture is worth a thousand words”

AI technology has taken the world by storm. Advancing AI continues to impress all sectors of the job market, from interactive apps to content generation and coding to cybersecurity.

As these technologies become more integrated, keeping up with growth is more important than ever. Creative professionals, such as writers and artists, are seeing a shift in how AI gets used in their industries. Attempting to compete with these AI tools isn’t recommended. Instead, professionals should learn how to operate these systems to fit their needs.

To get an idea of how this all impacts the comic world, we turned to Valentina Kraljik, writer and editor of Comic Basics – an entertainment site that keeps comic book fans updated on the latest news and comic stories while allowing users a safe platform for open discussions.

What inspired you to start Comic Basics, and how has your vision for the company evolved?

The company behind the site, Incomera d.o.o., didn’t start the site but acquired it in September 2022. The site was founded in 2016 by Joel and Jeff. The aim was to educate the world about comics and superheroes and to have fun while doing it.

Comic Basics is a home for those who’ve been around the genre for a long time and those who are brand new to it. We also owned a couple more sites in the entertainment industry. We saw that Comic Basics is a great fit for our portfolio to grow even larger.

Tell us more about what you do. What differentiates you from other comics-related websites?

First, we're trying to create a more personal experience for our readers. There are plenty of other sites dealing with similar topics. What makes us different is that we're encouraging discussion. We're trying to create personal space for all comic book fans (even if they're simply fans of movies and TV shows).

It's one stop for all your superhero entertainment needs. You get news, information, and opinions. You're also encouraged to contribute to the conversation at any time.

What role do you believe comics play in contemporary popular culture? How do you see the industry evolving in the digital age?

I think comics' role in pop culture has remained the same. That is, it's entertainment first. Second, it's a way to spread certain messages and raise awareness of certain issues. In the context of the digital age, the means of distribution have changed. Still, everything is pretty much the same. Sure, comics are now more profitable than ever.

They're also available to a great many people compared to 60-70 years ago. As long as people like to enjoy great stories and beautiful artwork, the reach will continue to grow. I don't see people losing interest in those any time soon.

How do you think the recent global events affected your field of work? Were there any new challenges?

The rise of A.I.-based tools. It's also a challenge to create comics and visuals while also writing about comics. But instead of embracing Neo-Luddism, we should rise to the challenge and think of new ways to work with it.

Like comics, it’s not going away any time soon. It’s only a matter of learning not how to compete with it but how to complement it and make yourself indispensable.

What do you believe is the power of visual storytelling in comics? How does it contribute to the unique and immersive experience for readers?

A picture is worth a thousand words. It's all about getting information and the message across fast and with efficiency.

Visual storytelling can transfer certain atmospheres better than any media out there. It's a fascinating interplay between images and dialogues, and you don't have to fill in the blanks.

How do you think the rise of webcomics and independent publishing platforms has impacted the traditional comic book industry? What opportunities and challenges does this present for aspiring comic creators?

Opportunities are available, and everyone has an invitation to contribute. Everyone's ideas can get heard. You don't have to score a major deal with the publisher to have your creations appreciated by a decent following.

The downsides are less obvious. As much as it's great for everyone to have an opportunity, it's harder than ever to discern what's quality and what's generic.

There's too much material to go through. That leads to some talented storytellers and artists getting buried under mediocrity. Self-publishing is great, yes, but you still need a lucky break to make it big.

What are some common misconceptions or myths about creating comics that you often encounter? How do you address them?

I can't tell you about creating comics. I can only tell you what it's like to write about them.

This is sometimes a challenge of its own since you need to make a personal contribution to someone else's contribution without straying too much from the original author's message and intent. It's a fine balance between getting your point across without misconstructing what the author's point was.

How do you see your industry evolving over the next few years? Are there any emerging trends that you are currently observing?

We've already touched upon the subject of A.I. It's going to impact the industry in a major way. For better or worse, it remains to be seen. Comics are not going anywhere, especially when everyone wants to have their cinematic universes.

There are also plenty of stories to tell, both old and new. But it's going to be more difficult than ever to find the right stories to tell.

Would you like to share what’s next for Comic Basics?

Continue doing what we do by covering all the latest stuff from the world of comics and superheroes. Keep creating great content.

We keep doing interviews, reporting about the latest news, and encouraging discussion. That's how we grow our fanbase!

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