Posted Sep 12, 2010 in Arts, Cool Shit | 0 Comments

The Comics Pimp – The Digital Age

With the advent of digital comics, publishers and creators are hoping to attract new readers. Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Boom Studios, IDW, and Image all have apps. Dark Horse has taken a slightly different approach, with individual apps for their titles. Some apps sell comics from several companies, such as Comics+ and Comixology, the latter of which seems to have the largest database.

The problem with this slew of apps is that to the uninitiated, it is both confusing and counterproductive to need several apps. For example, if I’ve downloaded Comixology’s app, and wanted Sin City, I would not find it. I might think it’s not available as a digital comic, but it is. To view it, you have to download its own app. The same can be said if I want to download, say, the new Iron Man Annual. I can only get it from the Marvel app. It’s that kind of greed that kills the true potential of digital comics.

I’ve always believed that the more readers discover comics, the better it is for the whole industry. Companies are trying to cash in by monopolizing their collections, and consequently alienating potential new readers who may not want five or six more apps on their iPads. They might not understand that 300 or Hellboy are not Marvel or DC comics. Frankly, most new readers don’t care who publishes what, and why should they?

To date, publishers are using digital comics as a means to attract a wider audience. That’s perhaps the greatest strength of digital comics. They’re a wonderful way to promote the printed stuff, which comes in a much greater selection. I just wish someone had thought of a little button at the end of a digital comic that would direct a new reader to their nearest comic book store.

Generally, I think reading a comic on the iPad is fun. It’s clear and bright, but for me, I doubt it’ll ever replace the printed form. Some comic book pages don’t translate as well to the iPad, such as double page spreads and oversized books. Nothing beats picking up Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier Absolute Edition, for example, and viewing it in its over-sized glory.

Though reading a comic book on the iPad is certainly a great experience, I’m willing to wager printed comics will be around for a long time to come.

Click here for a free issue of the fun comic Atomic Robo.

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