Friday, June 25, 2010

Digital Lament

On 6/23/10 DC Comics announced that they will be joining the ranks of publishers going digital. These publishers are still offering books in print but it seems like only a matter of time before the industry will convert completely. And why shouldn’t they? This may be showing my age but when I first started reading the cover price was only a buck. Now the cover price is anywhere from $2.99-$3.99. If the industry converts, prices per issues should drop due to a decrease in manufacturing costs. Readers wouldn’t have to worry about buying bags, boards, long boxes. If we go digital, there wouldn’t be a need to get your books CGC graded because every issue would be mint condition. Let’s also not forget about portability. Where ever you go, you could take your entire collection with you. With all of these benefits, who could possibly be against this? Well, I am for one.

For me comics are about community. And that community thrives at local comic shops (LCS). Going to the shop every Wednesday should be an event. It’s the one time of the week where we the comic readers can geek out and not feel the judgment by the non readers in our lives. This is a chance to see our “once a week” friends and discuss titles that came out that week, explain theories we have about current story lines, and share artists and writers that inspire us. You are probably thinking that this could be accomplished online through message boards and comic websites. This is true but with most boards it’s all about PWNing noobs and posting “First” on comment threads to articles. The latter I’ll never understand! Is there a prize for being the first to comment? Marvel fanboys vs. DC fanboys and the one random person that is offended by Rob Liefeld jokes. It got to be so ridiculous, at one point I considered to stop reading comics. I didn’t want to be slightly associated with these malicious and pretentious people. This has never been an issue (no pun intended) at the LCS. If we convert, the community is gone. LCS’s won’t be around and most likely my interest in comics will go with them.

I’ll leave you with a story that wouldn’t be possible without a LCS. It was May 1998 and my sister took me to a signing. The artist/writer was promoting a new mini series. I wasn’t familiar with the artist/writer except for one book that he wrote. It featured two of my favorite characters at the time, Batman and Spawn. I brought that book and bought the first issue of his new mini series. After waiting 2 ½ hours (thanks Jessie for being a good sport and not complaining) it was my turn. I handed him my copy of Batman and Spawn. As he was signing the book we discussed Spawn. We didn’t talk about the book that he wrote but about the regular series. The conversation carried on to the point that the assistant reminded the creator that other people were waiting in line. The creator thanked me for coming out and hoped that I enjoyed his new book. The writer was Frank Miller, the book was 300.

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