The comics industry mastered Hollywood a long time ago, but the tried-and-true comic book has had a harder time making the transition to digital. The biggest player in the game right now is Comixology, which long ago established itself as the gold standard of comics distribution online. However, ever since its recent acquisition by Amazon, the app has endured criticism for a new design that — as a consequence of Amazon's understandable unwillingness to deal with Apple's in-app purchases policy — effectively breaks what was originally an awesome storefront. But when it comes to alternatives, the last decade is littered with ambitious experiments in the medium that either did too much or just never got off the ground. How do you make a viable digital comics business while pushing the medium forward? It's a tough question to answer, and no one has really made a perfect solution.

Award-winning writer Mark Waid gets all that, and could be the one to get the business right — as one of comics' big-name authors, he's worked as a collaborator on a few major projects in digital and even helped with Comixology's earlier well-received design efforts. He's also been an ardent critic of what he sees as excess in the space. And people ought to listen: fans might recognize his work in classics like Marvel’s Age of Apocalypse (a screen adaptation of which will hit theaters in 2016) DC’s Kingdom Come, and Empire, an Eisner-nominated limited series about a supervillain dealing with what happens when you finally take over the world.

Waid recently struck out on his own, launching Thrillbent in 2012 as a means of showing he gets how digital comics should be made and distributed with both readers and creatives in mind. And it's doing pretty well for an indie shop. His subscriber base is somewhere in the four figures and continues to grow, partly because a monthly subscription to his library costs the same as a single comic. Last month, he expanded the site’s library by returning to Empire, and plans on releasing issues from Volume 2 on a weekly basis to continue the saga. We sat down with him in the weeks before Comic-Con to talk about the new series and where digital comics are going.