[Question of the Week] Are We Really In The “Digital Age” Of Comics?

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Heyo, we’re back with another Bloody-Disgusting Comics “Question of the Week”! It’s simple. Yours truly asks the Comics staff a question, and they give their oh-so-insightful answers. We expect to hear your thoughts as well in the comments section, faithful readers.

This week’s question: Are we really in the “digital age” of comics?

Lonmonster: What a dumb question. I don’t even know what it means. Read comics however you want, so long as you do it legally.

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Brady: I feel it’s become much easier to access comics digitally. I recently had a chat with a semi-comics fan. He was telling me about these “animated comics” he saw on Netflix which was those Marvel moving comics from years ago which was basically them animating pages from a book. That was the last attempt before the recent advent of accessibility. I can honestly say, after only having digital access to comics the last 2 years in another country, it was pretty easy to read whatever I wanted to. Comixology, working with you Bloodys, downloading, and places like Amazon are allowing people much more access than ever before. Another bonus: you can plug your comics into your big TV’s now & enjoy them on the BIG HD screens!

Jorge Solis: I have joined Comixology but I’ve been mostly been reading the free comics. It’s convenient to read the comics on my Ipod Touch while on a train ride. I generally like to go to comic book shops and buy my reading pile from their. Most of the time, I wait to buy trades at conventions. I also watch the animated Marvel Comics on Netflix. I thought the adaptations of Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men was really good.

ShadowJayd: I don’t think technology should ever be a limiting factor in any case. So, my views on the digital age of comics are not ones of contempt or ridicule. Nor do I see the obvious evolution of digital comic books — which has been huge these past few years — as a threat to print media. Creators, publishers, and distributers are taking advantage of the digital space, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. It’s more than just the exposure/promotional aspects. The fact that it’s become increasingly easy to find and read rare classics and books that are in such crisp and clear conditions is pretty extraordinary. From Ally Sloper to Brian K. Vaughan’s ‘Saga’, titles across the ages are on the same digital playing field now. The lines are blurring and the medium is most definitely evolving, but it’s still early days. Sure, storytelling is becoming more interactive thanks to the continued development of new motion comics enhancements and panel manipulation features, but I think people will continue to buy print comics, just as they always have, for a variety of different reasons: physical reading experience, accessibility, collectible/archival value, etc.

Breed Ogden: I think for a lot of comic book readers (save for the die hard collectors) it’s a hybrid issue. Some comics that you’re unsure you’ll like are bought on the iPad (which has such an amazing interface for comic reading), other comics that you really love are purchased at your local comic shop on the regular. And then there are the comics you’ve waited months for, those are the ones we pre-order with bag & board. As a literary agent, we have the “digital” discussion all the time, and the brass tacks is: comic book geeks (“geek” simply meaning someone who is deeply passionate about something–to paraphrase author Eric Smith) will always want to hold a book in their hands. They will always want that physical collection of their favorite comic series. So we may be living in a time when digital comics are easy and often cheaper, but to call it the “digital age” seems a bit too preemptive.

Green Basterd: Are we in the digital age of comics? I don’t think there is any argument one could formulate to disprove that answer, which is YES. For the longest time, and I do mean the longest, comics were only available in hardcopy and when an issue would run out it’s a big ol “Sorry folks better luck next time”. With sites like ComiXology and the ability to torrent comics (if one is lucky enough to find it) many old, new, main stream and Indy books are at the click of a button. In no way shape or form has this “age” peaked, it will be slow and gradual as more and more people pursue their comic fixes through alternative media. This is great for people in remote locations with no friendly neighbourhood comic store and an internet connection. That being said I personally am not a fan of digital comics; though there is a plethora of programs one can download for easy viewing or simply owning a tablet will work, young in my years I’m an old Bastard at heart and will always prefer a hardcopy in my hands whether that be for comics or novels. The age of digital comics has most assuredly begun and will continue to steamroll but that doesn’t mean the age of paper comics is over!

Jimbus_Christ: The “Digital Age” is a weird term. I’d like to think that hard copies would forever be the medium of choice for us diehard comic fans. However, it seems each generation cares less and less about having their hands on the real deal. But! Despite all of this it is now increasingly easy for people to self publish comics, distribute, and create their own material. The digital world opens the door to all sorts of opportunities that were not there before. Which means more comics from more people – never a bad thing. The real shame is that no one has harnessed the power of the digital format and succeeded entirely. The experience of reading a digital comic needs to be different from that of reading a paper copy. Marvel has infinity comics and DC is messing around with their digital properties, but the reality is that a digital comic is a different medium and should be approached as such. We could have a digital experience where comics have a score, are narrated, or even voiced, sure this is a pipe dream but the digital medium makes it possible. I don’t think we’re at the digital age just yet, but I do believe it’s right around the corner given the right innovations.

  • GreenBasterd

    Lmao Lonnie your answer is both priceless and spot on

    • Lonmonster

      Thanks, brother.

  • RickGrimesRightHand

    I like the digital option, however, nothing beats actually having the physical copy in my opinion. I’m lucky to have a local shop though. As a collector, digital comics do nothing for me. If there’s something I cant track down I’ll buy from comixology but I find the hunt to be part of the fun. Marvel and DC have the digital codes in the physical copies which is nice especially since new release digital comics at comixology cost the same or more in some instances then new release physical copies. I think Image has the right idea going with the DRM free comics. To each their own though.

  • Polsdofer

    Yeah i want the physical copy, i have a mini collection and i intend on starting a Walking Dead comic collection.

  • HorrorFancy

    Paper or plastic? Paper for me.

  • Darkness69

    I’ve got around 300 Dylan Dog episodes and there’s truly nothing better than crawling into my bed and reading an episode or two before going to sleep. Dylan is not yet digitalised, so paper for me too.

    • Lonmonster

      Didn’t realize Dylan wasn’t digital yet. They should really get on that.

  • KnivesChow

    I’m with the others here…while it is very nice to have the digital option, and I certainly see people reading digital copies on the subway, I personally will just always want the physical copy. The ritual of going to the store and buying it can’t be replaced imho.