Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Digital Comics Divide

So I have been pretty quiet when it comes to the topic of digital comics.

I was kind of blissfully ignorant on the topic until last year's NYCC, when I went to a few different presentations concerning them. I got to hear from one of the guys who runs ComiXology, a pretty cool website... if you have an iSomething or other. This website comes up pretty consistantly when you are searching for or reading about digital comics. Do you know what I take from that? There ain't a whole lot of anything else right now. So, I will be talking a little bit about them.

Jim Lee, who wields some kind of digital marketing power at DC Comics as well as drawing insanely cool superheroes, was quick to state that DC limits the platforms people can download on. They were planning on opening some sort of digital comics store (which I believe is already up) and, in addition to ComiXology and some sort of PSP compatibility, that's it. Marvel, on the flipside, is trying to make their comics available where ever they can. Both companies, as well as all the comic contenders, are on ComiXology. New titles are added, while back issues (referred to as "backlist titles" often) are being continually added every week.

As a comics enthusiast, I support what DC Comics is doing. I like the idea that they sort of can do damage control when it comes to, "Why isn't this DOWNLOADING!?" kind of questions. This is especially relevant if most of the comics in digital format will be purchased by their company directly. They know where their comics are, so they can answer questions about them pretty easily. As a librarian, I wholeheartedly appreciate what Marvel is doing 'cause, let's face it... I was able to get digital comics added to my library's Overdrive offerings because they are available there. There aren't even that many to choose from, but some is better than none. And DC? I don't even have the option to ASK for comics on Overdrive with those guys.

I am also not the type of person to embrace every new technology as it comes out. I'm not waiting in line for a new iPhone release and have no plans to buy an iPad or any of the similar slate-esque technologies. Honestly, I think it's kind of a waste of money with how often these things are updated and how trendy that they become. I guess I'm more old school when it comes to that type of stuff. I do have a B&N nook, but only because the library gave me one after I won a raffle. I doubt I would have spent money on it by my own volition. My own views of technology aside, I am really worried about comics becoming an entirely digital medium. Will the future of comics make them only available to digitally literate kids? Not everyone has a computer, man.

Have a I read digital comics? Yes. Did I enjoy it as much as in print? Hell to the no.

If you are a comic fan, and you are not having the same reaction as me, then... I don't really know what to tell you. From what I read, which is mostly on blogs and from tech-minded people, they keep talking about how awesome digital comics are. I feel like that's a pretty biased group. I should also admit I'm not that much of a webcomic guy, either. From what I hear, I'm kind of missing out. That's okay. I also don't buy every comic when I buy my monthly titles, either. In fact, I'm only buying two books on a regular basis right now. I'd prefer these not to be digital, either.

Maybe I am just stuck in the past... but if you ask a lot of comic writers and artists especially, I don't really think they necessarily are comfortable with the medium being interpreted digitally. I can already get a general plot synopsis for books as far late summer... haven't we already embraced the internet a little too much?

No comments: