The Doktor is IN ComiXology on all devices

Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Andrew Porwitzky

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My Digital Comics Life: Downfall

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It’s gone.

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: When the things you own end up owning you.

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About the Author

Scientist, Sci-Fi fan, comic book junkie, intellectual adventurer, eccentric recluse.



3 Responses to My Digital Comics Life: Downfall

  1. Kristian Barry says:

    Or alternatively you can find a comic shop like mine. Comic Guru which has a healthy online presence. And you can either pick up your comics with a hefty twenty percent discount and actually own what your reading or alternatively buy them directly from our online store. Which by the way includes all the issues of Revival which I got back into stock for another customer only last week. Comic shops are going under because they aren’t being supported by customers who seemed to be swayed by many other concerns rather than picking up their standing orders in good time therefore maintaining the shops cashflow. There is a resson why shops close. Most often is that shop owners over extend themselves with stock and other things which people then take for granted. Support your local comic shops. Buying digital really does nothing for the industry. You don’t own what you buy and in the end even if you decide to sell up your collection at some future point you don’t have anything with any value at all. Also nothing beats the sheer fun of dropping by a comic shop and browsing the shelves till you find that interesting title that catches your eye. Comic shops as you said in your article are also hubs of social activity. All this will be lost. I’ve seen Z Beams Glitter in the Darkness. I’ve seen attack ships of the Eye Of Orion… LOL. ;P

  2. Gavin Jones says:

    I’m not sure I should allow this blatant unsolicited advertising on the website but as it’s you Kristian, I’ll allow it…this once.

    I’m sure Andy will reply himself but in the meantime, he lives in the US and the only comic book shop in his hometown, one he supported wholeheartedly in every way he could, has closed down. It’s a sign of the times and I write that with a heavy heart but it doesn’t make it any less true.

    Buying digital comics is still supporting the industry that we all love, just not the local comic book store direct market segment of the industry. It’s a choice we’re all free to make, even though it is forced on some of us through circumstance, but it’s no less valid and it cannot be denied that the digital format has the potential to bring comics to more people than ever before.

    I understand your personal opinions, especially given your chosen profession as the proprietor of a comic book shop, I even support them to some extent but I feel that you’d be better off focusing solely on the positives of the comic book shop and physical comics rather than trying to suggest that digital comics have no worth. The things that move us, have worth to us and nothing moves me more than stories, no matter whether that’s on paper or on the screen of my ipad.

  3. I agree with a lot of what Gavin said. I was originally going to talk about the ComiXology interface in my next article, but I think I’m going to further discuss my reasoning for switching to digital instead. Also, this “owning” argument I’ve heard so often, mostly from shop owners, I also need to discuss.

    Thank you for the comments. They are much appreciated. :)

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