I just read a great little article by Erik Larsen of Savage Dragon fame about the state of comic books thanks to the digital age. He discusses the “impending doom” of comic shops as well as the “great hope” of the iPad. A lot of comic insiders are seeing the iPad as the savior of comic books. Larsen paints a slightly different picture and I largely agree with everything he’s said.

The only thing I would disagree with Larsen on is that I very much enjoy reading comics on my iPhone. Sure it’s small print, but when it’s integrated right, like on Robot 13, you don’t really notice the difference. Actually more often than not, any given panel is actually bigger than it would be in print. I see the iPad catching on when it pertains to comics more than the iPhone has because of the larger screen, though. I still contend part of the reason the iPhone is superior when it comes to comics, is that I can take it anywhere and pop it out to have a read. Something no matter how convenient the iPad becomes, won’t be able to match.

One thing’s for certain, times, man they are a changin’ but comics and the digital age will go hand and hand. Hopefully we’ll see even more comics move over to easy digital formats as I would much rather read a comic on my phone or iPad then have to shuffle out to the nearest comic store where creepy guys and sweaty teenagers play Magic and Pokemon and the comics I want are never in stock anyway… But that might just be a regional thing, my local comic shops suck.

Of course I will be out and about during Free Comic Book day again this year, because that went so well last time. Apologies to any creepy and/or sweaty Magic fans who may enjoy this site. I love you guys, just stop clogging up my comic shops and buy something for a change.

11 Responses to Comic Books, the iPad and the Digital Debacle

  • Carbon Dated says:

    In your own unique way you've touched on something that a lot of comic insiders won't divulge when expressing their love for the iPad and digital comics… The nerd factor. Comics are cool. Comic shops aren't. While there are some comic shops that have remained hip, a lot of them have become haven's for society's outcasts. There's nothing wrong with that, I was once one of those unwashed masses, but the reality is that a lot of more "normal" people wouldn't be caught dead in those stores. Even if they do go to a comic shop, they very likely might end up running into people who quickly remind them why they don't go there.

    The higher ups at DC and Marvel would never tell you that, of course because it would seem elitist of them to call their fanbases nerds or whatever. Still, it's a reality. It's kind of the same thing as a "adult bookstore"… Most the people going in there to buy dildos and porno movies are average folks, but there's just enough creeps hanging out in those places that people would prefer to just order it online discreetly. Same thing with comics, more or less.

  • Gracias. Thanks for getting it.

    I never really thought of the comparison to inflatible weiners and back issues of Cerebus, but it does more or less work out the same.

  • Nathan says:

    I totally agree with you and Carbon Dated. I actually gave up buying comics because of the people in our local comic store.

    The store is a classically designed comic shop with plenty of great back issues, properly ordered, and a whole wall of new releases. But the employees were chatty. Too chatty. They would often give me a lengthy explanation of the greatness of some title they just discovered, but they didn't have the social skills to understand that I was totally uninterested in the conversation and just wanted to leave. Or they'd waste my time as I stood in line by chatting up some dude in front of me, who was inevitably some socially awkward collector who enjoyed the conversation because that was the only social interaction that he got all week.

    I couldn't take it, so I just starting ordering graphic novels online. It's great because I don't have to bother with trying to go to the store and get all the issues, and it's especially great because I don't have to bother with dealing with the people there. So I think I'd probably love the iPad comic app. Just as long as DC releases one. 🙂

  • - Beth, the GF says:

    What day is free comic book day?

  • I think the first of May or something like that. I'll drag you along.

  • Whew, I was afraid this post was going to get flamed to hell, lol. Thanks. I'm hoping that with the comic industry looking so heavily at the iPad as it's potential savior, we'll get some sort of uniform way to integrate them in. I love the digital comic movement, but the various different formats for reading them can be annoying unless it's done right.

    DC seems oddly behind on this trend, though I'm not sure why.

  • Wes GRogan says:

    I totally agree in terms of comics shops costing customers more than bringing them in, so I won't flame you there. I will admit I'm nowhere near sold on the iPad however. I just don't understand why I wouldn't prefer a netbook that would be just as portable and do just as much? I dunno. Just me being picky, I think, or not understanding the Apple mentality.

  • kngfu says:

    First Saturday in May is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. My favorite comic shops run great 50% off discounts that day. Worth the trip.

  • DrNightmare says:

    A few months ago, I decided to look into buying an ebook reader, exclusively to read comics on it because it's annoying to read them on my laptop, no matter what program I use. Most are black and white and the color versions that have an 8.5 x 11 display are thousands of dollars. Screw that.

    It's interesting to read that "comic insiders" are HAPPY about digital comics on the Max-I-pad (had to do it xD ), considering how easy it is to download a torrent and get everything for free, effectively crippling the comic-industry if everyone decides to go that route.

  • Well I think the idea is that people are already pirating comics. This would make it easier to turn a profit from comics because the digital ones here would be superior to the scanned versions. Sort of like how iTunes makes money, even though you can illegally download pretty much any song.

    If it's cheap and convienant and high quality, a lot of people will buy these instead of illegal downloads.

  • kingkahn says:

    HULK SMASH PUNY BOOK!!!! HULK YELL AT BOOK TILL WORDS GO AWAY!!!!!

    GIVE HULK SHINY IPAD….NOW!!!!!! lol

    gotta say i agree with ya as well newton.

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