The future will end in a little over a week. At least, that's the promise of The Bunker, a new digital comic currently being teased by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Joe Infurnari and launching August 5.
Fialkov, who has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics recently -- His current Marvel work includes Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates and the high-profile Hunger series -- has a history with independent and self-owned work; he made his debut with the critically acclaimed Elk's Run and Tumor, two indie series created with artist Noel Tuazon, before moving towards the larger publishers.
However, as much as The Bunker -- The plot of which remains purposefully mysterious, although having read the first chapter, I can recommend it to those who enjoyed such television shows as Lost or such comics as Morning Glories -- is a return of sorts to Fialkov's roots, it's also part of a trend towards the (or, at least, a) future of the American comic book industry.
The Bunker is going to be entirely owned and controlled by Fialkov and Infurnari, distributed digitally through ComiXology and whatisthebunker.com, following in the footsteps of other creators including Brian K. Vaughan, Mark Waid and Greg Rucka who have ventured from the relative safety of the big publishers into the unknown of self-publishing online.
Comics' digital existence is still in flux for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it's still relatively young, with publishers and creators continually testing the waters to see what is possible not only in terms of technology, but also what the market wants (or can handle, for that matter).
It's definitely a growth market, with digital apparently driving substantial growth of the print market over the last couple of years; with less of a barrier for entry as print, digital could offer comic creators a chance to control their fortunes (figuratively and literally) in a way that they've never enjoyed before. In that sense, then, The Bunker isn't anything close to the end of the future. Just the opposite, in fact.