Commentary From the Ruins of the Slacker Generation
I’ve seriously fallen in love with digital comics in general, and specifically, comiXology.
Lately, I tend to review comics either here or at pop culture site Shiny Shelf. Being a comic book fan since I was very young (and actively purchasing them off-and-on since), I tend to stick to trade paperbacks these days. They are easier to manage that way and I like them nice and organized in my library with the rest of my books. The single issues (or “floppies”) wind up in a drawer or box somewhere, but in this day and age, I can’t be bothered with them too much after finishing them, aside from the rare exception. If it is a series I follow, once I buy the collected edition, I don’t have a need for the single issues, so I either sell them or give them away (or, if it comes down to it, recycle them).
With the advent of iPads and other tablets, comics have begun making their way into the digital realm in a big (legal) way. DC garnered a lot of buzz with “same day as print” releases for their “New 52″ digital comics. Marvel even made some news when their recent Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 broke a digital sales record. The truth is, digital comics have arrived, and not a moment too soon.
Digital comics offer a huge advantage that I love about their eBook cousins: they save space. Lots of it. Nothing like having an issue (or two or five) you purchase be available out in the cloud or synced to your device, and no more will floppies have to sit around your house collecting dust. This is what I found when I embraced digital comic book service comiXology.
ComiXology has apps available for Android and iPhone / iPad, and work within your web browser on a PC (it works great on my Chromebook). The idea is simple: you purchase a comic book once, and read it anywhere. On my Chromebook I go to my account and open the issues I want. On my Android phone, it synced my purchases and I was able to open them up and start reading. Obviously, the experience is better on a device with a larger screen, but in a pinch, the phone client works.
And ComiXology has a huge selection, not just from DC and Marvel but various indie publishers, and has a growing back catalog with occasional sales. Prices for back issues are reasonable, and new issues cost the same as their newsstand equivalent. Surprisingly, I’m okay with this (I would balk at the same with eBooks, so I guess it comes across as hypocritical, but I would argue that it’s not).
Yeah, you could argue that digital comics don’t offer that same experience as holding the actual comic in your hand, but I think that argument falls in the same argument as eBooks: either you get it or you don’t. Digital comics I get; I don’t have to take time to head to the comic shop and pick up XYZ comics that it was holding for me. I’m saving time out of my day (and let’s be frank, gas too, depending on where you live). I find them to be incredibly more convenient, thanks to comiXology’s system.
Going forward, any single issues I’ll be reviewing will be digital- I had already done with Action Comics, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Stormwatch (my first digital comic), and Animal Man. As a tech geek, I love it.
Anyone else out there reading digital comics? Any reasons you won’t be reading them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.