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Digital Comics: People Are Noticing

Comics bloggers all over are writing about digital comics, (perhaps inspired a bit by SLG Prez's interview at Newsarama in which he discusses SLG's digital comics site, Eyemelt.com?). I'm preparing for the writing workshop I'm hosting here tomorrow, so I haven't had time to give it all much thought, but here are the links if you want to delve into the buzz:

There's a bit of discussion over at The Beat. People get a bit testy about an imagined insinuation that digital comics will "kill" comics (which doesn't make sense, anyway---did digitally formatted music kill music?) and some comments by moi. Keep an eye on the guy who posts about his supposedly great digital comics site. That guy's going places!

Steven Grant weighs in on the phenomenon of bit-torrenting comics in his column at Comic Book Resources.

Tom Spurgeon has a few thoughts about digital comics at The Comics Reporter. "I can't for the life of me figure out why all the comics companies haven't pursued this more aggressively," writes Spurgeon. Oh, how I agree. We've been approaching some of our fellow indie publishers about perhaps getting their comics on Eyemelt, just at an exploratory level, and for something that would require very little effort on their part, some of them are surprisingly reluctant. One of my colleagues commented that he couldn't imagine that people would want to read [Insert title of large, popular graphic novel] digitally, which I mentioned to Landry Walker, since I, like all comics people, love to gossip. He laughed. He's been doing an experiment to see how many comics he can get from Bit Torrent sites, and the graphic novel in question is already circulating widely in pirated digital form. But like I said, anything we've talked to them about has been pretty short on specific details. Maybe once this digital comics thing is more firmly grounded, companies will be more willing to consider it. Of course, in order for it to be more firmly grounded, more companies are going to have to consider it. One of those situations, you know.

I linked to Augie De Blieck, Jr.'s column at Comic Book Resources earlier, in which De Blieck focuses his comments on DC and Marvel. Johanna at Comics Worth Reading brings up a good point about most of the people who are asking for digital comics: "They don’t really want to sample new titles, even though lesser-known and/or struggling publishers are the only ones with the incentive to push the boundaries into new formats and distribution methods… they want the same books they’re buying too many of for cheaper."

Do I detect a certain amount of disdain for a certain segment of the comics-buying public? Personally, I'm rooting for DC's Minx line (with mixed feelings). If it succeeds so might the notion that graphic novels are not just superheroes or manga. (Though from what I understand, there are those retailers out there who confuse Minx books with manga.) Still, people want their DC and Marvel superhero books. Always with the superhero books.  (Have I mentioned that I'm sick of them? Yes, I know many people like them, but I'm going to allow myself this curmudgeonly attitude for awhile.) Like I've said in my column, which is not about digital comics... sports fans. They're sports fans. But it looks like, as with the case with Minx, as far as digital comics go the Big Two might follow the example of us little guys. But they'll have half-million dollar marketing budgets and waaaaaaaay overthink the undertaking. (Or so I predict. Let us come back in a year or so and see if I'm right.)

Speaking of sports.... I'm off! A's game. Third base box seats. Yankees in town. Yes, indeed. Let's see if I can keep myself from singing the Belle and Sebastian song "Piazza, New York Catcher" when Mike Piazza's up to bat. (He's "Piazza, Oakland Designated Hitter" now, anyway, which doesn't quite fit into the melody, anyway.)



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
For the record, the end result of my test was about 40,000 comics downloaded in about 6 months. What's important to remember is just how passive this process is. Click, walk away. That's it.

I remember a panel I was on with Linda Medley. She dismissed the notion of digital piracy as being to arduous a process for anyone to undertake. "No one is going to stand in front of a scanner feeding in page after page of Castle Waiting.", she declared with certainty. I felt very bad viewing her reaction when I turned to her and said that the pirates in question had already done just that, and that Castle Waiting (like every other comic book ever) was readily available online for free. She seemed to actually deflate.

This is why I began pursuing the promotion of the digital media 2 years ago. This is the new direction of comics.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was snarky. He shows up in multiple places posting about his site, and it came across to me as obnoxious. I'm sure the comics aren't so bad, but if he had made a better effort to seem as if he were engaging in a discussion rather than just posting what amounts to spam comments that don't tell you what his comics are about, I would have been more interested in actually looking at his work.
Apr. 14th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
"Johanna at Comics Worth Reading brings up a good point about most of the people who are asking for digital comics..."

For those people (of which there are many) that look at the content Eyemelt (or any other comparable distribution system) has to offer and dismiss it with an implied shrug as not the type of comics they are really waiting for, I try to explain it in the language they understand:

"The current distributors of digital content are simply the heralds of the inevitable mighty and consuming colossus that will descend from on high. How you treat the herald of the great being from beyond will likely influence the actions of said great being. So tread carefully mortal. The fate of digital comics distribution is in your hands. I tell you this, only as a watcher. For in truth I am powerless to interfere."

This method has actually worked as a way of explanation to two individuals I know.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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