IN MY OPINION: Digital Comics [TK:IMO]
Ya know, up until an IPAD 2 came into the house I didn’t really get digital comics. By “get” I mean, pay for or read.
I know this must sounds slightly odd coming from a guy who has published mostly in the digital realm but it true. I had previously tried reading comics on the iPhone and frankly, it was great for an hour and then I couldn’t be bothered. Its just too fidley. I have tried reading CBRs on the laptop or desktop and wouldnt get passed a few issues before I, yet again, gave up. None of it felt as natural as reading a floppy or a trade.
So when I had a look at comixology on the Ipad I was shocked by how brilliant it was. I guess it also helped that I came onboard at the launch of DC’s new 52 and had a renewed interest in comics anyhow. Comixology on the Ipad works, plain and simple. I don’t think I’ll buy a floppy again.
Now, before you all start thinking this is an Ad for comixology I’ll point out that its not and that other comic apps are available. Comicflow is pretty good for CBR/RAR tye files and there are a few others worth checing too. I would be very interested in hearing some first hand reports of how comics look on the Kindle Fire, anyone got one yet?
The fact that the digital comic market is doing so well came as somewhat of a surprise to me as not only is it in competition with the print market it is also competing with the free download market. The guided view technology of comixology is very smart and fun but I don’t think this is the reason why people would purchase a digital comic rather than download it. IS it the collecting mentality where a comicology digital comic is the real deal and the cbr isn’t? Its like Marvel UK reprints, same content as the american comics but I personally never felt that I “owned” the comic in the same way as I owned the actual American comic. Which is odd because mostly the UK reprints where on larger, better quality paper, but it still wasn’t right. It wasn’t the same.
I noticed that I have started thinking this way about digital comics. I have since bought comixology versions of comics that I had on CBR as much to support the industry as to feel… I don’t know, complete? It will be interesting to me as the months go on, how I will react to my growing digital comic collection. Will I rebuy stuff I have in print just to have a complete digital run? As sad as that sounds, I can see myself doing it with titles I really love. Chew for Instance.
I do feel that the fact that I never actually own my digital comics and that I never receive an actual file to be a bit worrying. What if comixology goes out of business, do I lose all my comics, all my money spent? Will we start seeing people selling their login in details instead of their long boxes? Is collecting comics for profit a thing of the past? I really fucking hope so.
SO, should we as creators/readers simply drop the printed form and welcome our new digital overlords? I’m not sure. I think I will always want paper collections. Having said that, if you told me a few years ago that I would happily pay for a digital version of a comic that was available for free, I’m not sure if I would have believed you. As a creator I can’t ever see myself printing my comics again. It is so time-consuming, expensive and quite frankly doesn’t give even a small percentage of the return (money or otherwise) of what digital does. I have gotten the word out on my work to infinitely more people through my website and downloads than I ever did from printing them and selling them. In fact most of the printed versions I did I simply gave away or traded with other creators.
That is not to say that it’s all easy with digital. DOWN#0 sold really well and quickly while TKP#1 sold really badly. Overlooking the fact that maybe people read DOWN#0 and hated it and then stayed clear of any further release from me [lets quickly overlook that possibility :)] I still can’t see what sells and what won’t. I do however think that I can take bigger chances and experiment more in digital than I can if I have to commit my money to a print run that sits on my shelf gather dust and laughing at me.
Anyway, I am going to go head first into with the digital comic age. It will, of course, change from what we have now. Who knows what it will become, what models will be employed or how it will affect creators. What I do know is that something exciting is happening and its been a long time since I was truly excited by comics.
Whats your thoughts? How are you finding the digital take over?