Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Andrew Porwitzky3
My Digital Comics Life: Downfall
The comic shop and gaming store that has been my home away from home for over a year now, has closed after about 18 months of existing. The economy? Sure, lets call it that. It doesn’t matter why. Its gone. All the friends that I made at Tuesday night Board Game Night have no centralized place to game. No place to meet and laugh, and no place to buy our beloved comics.
OH SHIT MY COMICS!!!!
Now I need to find a place to get my comics! MY comics. The epically notoriously hard to get because Andy has eccentric taste comics. Yeah. Where the frak do I get those?
Well, it turns out its incredibly easy to get all of them… if…
I give up having them.
I mean having them. In my hands. Because they’d be digital. Not physical. Insubstantial.
Look, I’m hamming this up, I know. But when it comes down to it this is the problem most people have with digital comics. ”You don’t own them.” When it comes down to it that is basically what the user agreements for many digital comics distribution mechanisms state. Here’s where it gets interesting: does that matter to you? Do you have to own the DVDs for every TV show you watch, or can you just watch each episode once or twice and move on?
There is also the almighty space issue. I have a closet with a few long and short boxes shoved in it, as well as a number of book shelves crammed with trade paperbacks. Looking five or ten years down the road am I renting a storage unit to hold my comics? Why?! I don’t really want my comics to necessitate an investment in the housing market.
I’ve bought single issues and taken a month to get around to reading them. I got busy with something else, or there was a TPB that came out I wanted to read first, etc. Well most publishers discount their month old books to $1.99, down from either $2.99 or $3.99! (I’m in the USA so I’m using US$, not sure what UK prices are but I bet its similar.) Well damn, I could have saved some scratch for reading that book later!
Finally, there is that epically notoriously hard to get because Andy has eccentric taste in comics problem. Sometimes I’m also just late to the party. Revival from Image, for example. I heard about it (from this very site, thank you) just before issue 3 dropped. So I had my comic shop start getting them for me and trying to track down the first two issues. When the shop closed I had issues 3-5 waiting in my box, but still no issue #1. Guess what. Issue #1 & 2 are on ComiXology for $1.99 each. Why am I pulling my hair out waiting to get back issues when I can easy get them CHEAPER THAN COVER PRICE?!
No more. I’m done.
I’m going digital, and I’m going to tell you all about it.
This isn’t my first foray into digital comics. I’ve been reading 2000AD digitally for well over a year now as that’s still the best way to get it in the USA. I used to read the Judge Dredd Megazine digitally as well, but switched to print, and am now switching back to digital. Getting 2000AD books digitally saves major money in the USA with shipping costs, etc. For books from other publishers it seems that if you’re willing to wait a month to read “new” single issues you can usually save 30+% there as well. This isn’t always the case though. I can get the TPB of “I Kill Giants” from Amazon for $10, whereas those single issues on ComiXology would cost me $14. Once you get into issues that have been collected into TPB then you have to check the pricing. Indeed, series I really love I’ll probably buy in TPB so I have have that beautiful art on my shelf. I haven’t lost all my geekhood after all.
Of course you have to have something to read them on. At work I have a massive 26 inch monitor which I read my 2000AD on during my lunch break once a week. Great for the odd lunch break, but I can’t read all my comics at work. Wait… no I shouldn’t do that. So what are my options? We’ll talk about that next time.
I’m not trying to convert anyone. But if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to go all digital with your comics then explore with me, because I’ve been forced to make the choice.
Next time: The ComiXology web interface.