The loss of conventions has hit a lot of people in the comics and graphic novel community hard, but has also led to a lot of innovation with regards to distribution methods and alternative ways to connect creatives with their audience. NextChapter is poised to become the next in that series of innovations, offering a unique distribution method and a product which is relatively new to sequential storytelling– limited physical releases with running author annotations and commentary akin to a director’s commentary on a movie’s home release.
NextChapter also features a two-pronged distribution method: stories are released first digitally on the services’ Instagram (@NextChapterPost) and then physically as a drop lasting 24 hours. The physical versions of these stories are the ones featuring author insights and commentary. It’s a bit of a strange way to go about it, but if you want to explore NextChapter more for yourself they’ve already hosted their inaugural digital release, The Second to Last Seal, by first-time writer Sean Chen. For the physical release the book was retitled Wingman: Compendium of an Artist’s First Writing Experience, which will be available to order for 24 hours on September 1st. Take a look at the physical copy below, with notes and commentary alongside the story itself:
Founded during the Covid-19 pandemic, NextChapter seeks to fill the void left by closures of conventions, trade shows, and shops. “No badges. No crowds. 100% access. That is our motto,” states founder Carl Choi. “As a long time attendee of comic and pop-culture conventions, my favorite part of the experience has always been to connect with the artists in authentic ways. I want to learn about their story, thought process, and inspirations. So when the conventions were no more, I asked myself how I could help continue to foster community between fans and artists, and from there NextChapter was born.”
Beyond serving as a publisher and distributor, NextChapter is striving to be a community builder offering a safe space for emerging talent to showcase their artwork and connect with new communities. In their own effort to give back and connect, NextChapter plans on highlighting stories and art created by People of Color to help dismantle unjust structures that have historically marginalized and suppressed creative voices deserving to be heard. Furthermore, they are collaborating with youth programs and schools in Southern California on ways to support existing art programs and implement new opportunities to inspire and educate aspiring student artists.
NextChapter’s second partnership will be with Guy Gilchirst, who is working on a YA graphic media title called Mudpie set for release this fall.