Friday, June 25, 2010
Digital Comics and What it Means...
So... Looks like Comixology has become the "go to" company for both DC and Marvel to distribute the digital versions of their comics.
After reading the initial reactions by the comics creators, themselves, we can begin to speculate on the future of comics...
The switch to digital is (was) inevitable... the price of comics has climbed so high that a person who works for a living cannot afford to read more than a handful of books a month.
One of the major draws is that the comics released through online have the possibility of being far cheaper.
Most comics these days are sold exclusively through comic shops. There's still countless people who have never stepped into one, and probably never will. However, those same people may casually thumb through an Archie digest at the grocery store. And they may even buy one!
The online service will put it back into the eyes of the casual browser. People who wouldn't normally buy a comic may find themselves trying out a book or two. Out of those that do maybe a few will continue reading or may even seek the books out in the real world.
So that's all well and good...
But what else..?
I think we may be seeing a huge shift in comics production. Something that hasn't happened since the '30s when comics began as reprints of newspaper strips.
Comics reformatted themselves to adapt to book form back in the '30s.
What I see happening is comics being released online first then being collected into trade paperbacks.
We may see shorter pieces being offered for less as they may switch to weekly releases, even. This would be natural as it would be similar to how most webcomics are released and would bring them closer to the mindset most have towards television shows.
I wonder how the new format will change the way they look years down the road. Will there be flash explosions? Sound effects..? Theme music..?
Another change I see is a wider variety of genres. Superheroes may start to lose their hold as writers and artists are drawn to more mainstream material. Superheroes may dwindle down to the ones that Marvel and DC publish to keep their copyrights up to date and promote licensing.
It will be interesting to see if this will play out the way it did when radio dramas went to tv or when pulp magazines met their demise...
So is it good or bad?
A little bit of both perhaps.