Thursday, October 13, 2011
So, is it not enough that my iPad has given me a convenient and usable means to sketch again? Back when I used to draw all the time, I also read comics all the time as well. This is a practice that I have fallen out of over the years. I grew up, got married. Trips to the comic shop grew less and less frequent. Long boxes of comics began to be shuffled around, from main room to bed room to garage ... to yard sale.
Enter the iPad. I started by downloading a few free comics. They were good. I found that I was mildly interested. The iPad screen was only slightly smaller than a comic page, the experience was pretty good. Also, no long box to lug around. Then DC started this whole "New 52" thing. I picked up a few issues. No need to make a trip to the shop. Just a few swipes of the finger and "presto" instant gratification.
I am of mixed feelings about this whole thing. First, it's amazing. I am 46 years old and I haven't read comics regularly for maybe 20 years or more. But, now I find myself anxiously awaiting Wednesdays so I can check out the latest arrivals and read something new. My life won't allow me to stop by the comic shop on a regular basis. The past 20 years is proof of this. So the iPad has opened a whole new door for me. I am excited, because I can read comics again, and reading comics makes me excited about drawing comics too. That's a win, win.
But I also wonder about what this means to the "brick and mortar" comic shop. I know this isn't a new concern, that electronic media has been around for some time now ... but, it's only just become apparent to me how much of an impact this can have, as I find the electronic reading experience may finally have surpassed the paper and ink one. With the iPad the books are just as portable (and not just a single comic, but your entire collection) the artwork is sharp and lovely to look at, and the reading experience is as close to the "real thing" as it's ever been. Plus, instant access to new material.
I would like to see a way to "share" purchases. I could give you one of my issues and it would disappear from my iPad and appear on yours instead. I think this would be cool because trading comics was one of those things you did as a kid that makes collecting them fun.
Now with electronic media, there is no reason for a comic to "go out of print" the issue of Action Comics #1 that I just bought could be bought by anyone this month, next month, or a year from now ... and why not? It means there will never be a sense of "rarity" from the electronic market, but then ... I think that's good. No rarity, means no speculation. There was a time when I felt like speculators were making it harder for the people who really loved to read comics to enjoy the hobby. If electronic distribution eliminates this, then I welcome it.
Also, if I am finding it easier to buy comics again perhaps others are too, and this could give the comics industry as a whole a healthy shot in the arm, which I also see as a very good thing.
I have a friend who owns a comic shop. He is struggling. He will continue to struggle. I say concentrate on back issues. There will always be those who wax nostalgic for the paper books. As for me, I see the electronic future as a saving grace ... both for myself, and for the comics industry.