Saturday, September 15, 2012

How I learned to give up and love digital comics

I always loved comic books, but several years ago I had to give up collecting them. Part of the problem was I was getting too many comics then my college undergraduate funds could afford to support.

This happened during the that summer where DC was publishing 52, Marvel was publishing Civil War, and I would pick up indie titles off the shelf that seemed interesting. I got to the point where I realized just how much money I was spending at the comic book shop every week and decided to just drop everything. To this day I regret how unceremoniously I just stopped going, since I probably could have found a less melodramatic solution.

Anyway, years later I've become a successful working adult who has enough money to buy everything he wanted back then (except not really). The logical assumption would be that I strode through the doors of my local comic shop proudly and reactivated my pull list. That did happen.

While I now had the money to afford comic books I found I had no desire to collect them. Not because I felt I outgrew them or anything, but I just didn't want to go through the act of buying individual comic book issues because storing them is a pain.

Historically, comic books are a disposable medium. Readers back in the forties would pay a dime at the newsstand to get an issue of say, Batman, to read on the way to work, and then throw it away later. Even if you were one of those weird people who actually collected comics back then, you had to be careful since they were printed pretty cheap paper. This is the reason why Action Comics #1...

...routinely sells for about $2 million dollars: even though a ton of copies were originally printed, very few of them have help up to the ravages of time.

Nowadays most people keep their comics after buying them. Either because they are collectors who think that newest version of Action Comics #1...

...will be worth millions of dollars in the future (note: it probably won't) or they are normal people who like to read comics and don't believe in throwing them out. Regardless of the reasons, the fact is if you collect individual comic book issues they are eventually going to take over your living space. And while this is also true of say books or video games, comics books have a double whammy of being difficult to reread because there is no good way to store them allows you to find what you want quickly.

The obvious solution is to only buy comics in trade paperback form, but that means you generally have to wait until they finish a story arc to actually read them. This is assuming that the run even gets collected in trade paperback form, since this isn't always guaranteed if the series wasn't a huge success.

This is all a really roundabout way of saying that I finally decided to start buying comics digitally, primarily through Comixology though on occasion I'll get them through the Barnes & Noble Nook Store. Not only has this allowed my to get caught up on stuff I was reading, it's helped me discover a lot of stuff that I missed. In the future I plan on posting mini-recommendations here. In fact, I planned to talk about one this time, but I kinda went off on a tangent.

In any case, next time for sure true believers!

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