Digital or Bust: Part 5 – The Conclusion?
We’re here, true believers. It’s been five weeks of digital pulls and now it’s time to make a decision because for some reason I told all of you that, well, that I’d actually be able to make a decision by the end of this whole experiment. Maybe by the end of this we can all agree on a decision… or maybe you’ll have to put up with another month of columns! Oh, who am I kidding? Nobody wants that. So, let’s get right into it, okay? No more stalling or being distracted by actual work. It’s column time! (Cue Adventure Time music)
So where do I begin? Or end, I guess, if you’re keeping track at home. First and foremost there’s a reason that ComiXology is the number one comic reading platform in the world and if I remember my facts right why they were the highest grossing app on the app store in 2013. It is a wonderful, wonderful invention and it’s beautifully designed and for the most part does exactly what you’d want it to do. There are, of course, times when the system cann’a handle the demand and needs more power and might blink out for a bit but, I suppose, that’s why I own trades and can easily read those during times of crisis.
If you remember way back during the second part of the Prologue, I made a list off the top of my head about potential cons. I also said I’d revisit that list at the end and see if they still hold the same weight that I imagined they did a month ago. Sure, I’ve learned of a few more along the way and I’ll cover those too but for now let’s focus on my initial thoughts:
The joys of going to your local comic shop—It’s nice going to your LCS and shooting the shit about comics that week, or bitching about something, or just general conversation with other like-minded comic people.
Well, this con was never really big for me because I knew that I would still go because I just like being there. It’s not too far, I like browsing and I have a sweet spot for trades and hardcover collections. I also manage to make it over to my shop at least once a week, it seems so… there’s that.
You don’t really own your comics—Heard this from someone that you don’t really own your comics. Probably similar to iTunes where you buy the music, it’s not really yours to, say, give to other people if you die. Plus, there’s zero resale value to the digital comics you’ve purchased.
I still don’t know if this is true, but at the end of the day we don’t live in a generation where the comics that they’re producing are going to be worth the kind of stuff you see some of those 40s, 50s and 60s comics are going for. They’re just not and if you believe they are, you’re fooling yourself and, quite frankly, you kind of look like an idiot bragging about how much money you’re going to make in 20 years.
Physical comics smell good—what? It’s true. The New Comic smell is awesome. It’s also nice to be able to touch and hold the comic that you just purchased.
While I still have a brutal sniffing habit, there are trades to smell, folks. Trades and collections smell better than single issues anyway. So, hey, when I inevitably go to my shop once I week I can inhale and hold for seven seconds all I want.
You can’t get a creator to sign your iPad—well, I guess I could but it would either rub off the back, or really impair your viewing of comics on the screen… it’s nice to display signed comics/your favorite covers on the wall.
Creators can sign collections! Plus, they can do little doodles or something in them. Sure, you can’t hang the first library edition of Hellboy on the wall if it get’s signed, but you’ll have it and know it’s there. PLUS you can always buy a single issue to get signed off eBay or your shop if you don’t already own it. Since I own two copies of Hellboy #1and a good copy of Next Men with his first appearance, I’m good.
Huh… I guess that sort of lets the air out of my initial concerns doesn’t it? I did learn along the way that DC—and as I found out Wednesday also IDW—is the first to be released and I have to wait for other comics but I don’t have all the time in the world to read Wednesdays at lunch so… it’s something I can live it. I still have cheap trades I bought or other issues to re-read in the absolute worst case scenario.
“What about the positives?” you ask? Well, there’s a lot. As a matter of fact, there was a lot more than negatives before I even started this. Digital saves space, you can get a lot of stuff that sells out or is hard to find for relatively cheap, there are no ads—and believe you me this is a big one. Those ads suck, even if they’re a necessary evil—you have your digital library at your finger tips, you have 100% control of your pull list each and every week and you can remove or add stuff whenever the mood strikes. Shall I go on? You really can save money if you wait for, example, DC’s books to go down by a buck before picking up an issue. The sale! Oh the sales. Sure, you end up buying more but you buy stuff that’s cheap!
House of M was $3.99 the other day. That’s insane. I want to read it, been meaning to read it, but just haven’t wanted to pay the $16 or whatever it is in trade-form. So, instead I get it for ¼ the cost and it won’t take up space on my already ridiculous Tower of Trades (copyright pending).
There are more pros to going digital for monthly pulls, there really is, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it kinda sounds like I’ve already made up my mind. That’s just too many positives that far outweigh the negatives and in my mind, right now, there really is no other choice. Digital just works for me right now. Maybe when I move into a bigger place, physical can make a roaring come back but at this point in my comic reading career, I’m going to have to declare digital and Comixology the winner.
Now, this whole experiment was for me. I’m in no way trying to force my comic reading beliefs down your throat and I’m certainly not saying I’ll hunt you down if you don’t convert. Much like Robert Gaul’s message in our column crossover in his column Comic Culture, this is about your own preference. For me, and for him it seems, digital is our preferred method of weekly comic reading. But, at the very least, if you’re considering digital I hope that this has maybe opened your eyes a bit. Whether it’s turned you away or towards, I hope this was worth something to someone other than me. Otherwise, I’ve been talking to myself this whole time and he’s a bit of an asshole.
So, hey, thanks for reading! Make sure you comment below, would love to hear thoughts that aren’t my own. And, hey, no matter what format: read comics.