PvP’s Scott Kurtz on the iPad

As part of a longer blog post on the device itself, PvP's Scott Kurtz spoke a little bit about the idea of the iPad as a comics device.

Comic books look amazing on this effing thing. Big bright full color pages really jump out at you. I can’t think of any other word to decribe it but “fun.” It’s just freaking fun. The Marvel Comics app is sublime. I downloaded a couple issues of Fantastic Four and was blown away by it.

And that’s why it’ll be so dissapointing when the comic book industry does absolutely NOTHING revolutionary with this device. God damn it. I don’t know why I’m so cynical about this, but everything I read from my industry about devices like the iPad make me want to start punching people in the crotch. Everything I read online points to an entire industry either adamatly denying that the iPad will change things for comics or actively praying it doesn’t. Then there’s the truly astounding group of idiots just sitting there waiting to see if it does anything.

Retailers want it to fail because they want to keep selling physical floppy comics. Diamond wants it to fail because they want to keep being a monopoly for physical floppy comics. Fans want it to fail because for them, comics is about collecting, bagging and boarding, not reading. Creators want it to fail because they’re artists, and they don’t understand new business models or how to make money, nor do they want to worry about it.

What about the big four publishers? I don’t know. I suspect they fear selling digital copies of comics will cut into their existing business. That’s why the Marvel app is pushing Avengers comics from 1998 on me. Guess what I don’t give a shit about? The Avengers from 1998. What’s happening to the Avengers now? And how would it be bad for business to offer me those comics for $1.99 a piece?

That Marvel app should allow me to subscribe to my favorite CURRENT title and deliver it to me the day it hits shelves. How about charging me a premium to get it before it hits physical shelves? How about TRYING ANYTHING you luddite assholes! Hey guess what comic book industry? The iPad is not going to be a game changer. No technology is. YOU are the game changer. You have to DO something with the techology that is presented to you. Think. Be innovative. Try something bold. Don’t give me Captain Amaerica from 2004. Even a noble failure would be better than playing it safe at this point. Don’t you think?

Kurtz has been outspoken about, well, almost everything he's every spoken about, but here he lets his skepticism of the industry shine through, and makes some relevant points, which echo some of the thoughts we've seen from posters here.  And Kurtz is no stranger to making comics in newer formats.  He was among the first cartoonists to successfully make a living from doing web comics, and actively podcasts and uses modern social media to communicate with his fans.  He should well be keenly interested in how devices will make the reading market more accessible and bigger for comic artists.


  1. "Fans want it to fail because for them, comics is about collecting, bagging and boarding, not reading."

     That’s a pretty low opinion of comic fans.  

  2. I hope he’s wrong, unfortunately I fear he may be right.

  3. @Harper: Considering the reaction to digital comics by a segment of the fans, he’s certainly not entirely wrong, alhtough it would be more accurate to say "some fans."

  4. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Generalizations ahoy. 

  5. "The iPad is not going to be a game changer. No technology is. YOU are the game changer."

     i’m going to write that shit down… Scott always makes good points, this might be one of his finest.   

  6. @Harper after my latest con (Emerald City) I would say its 70% accurate. Two of the people I was with, are very into first printings, variant covers, and turn thier noses to trades.  While slowly die hard comic fans grab some trades, often in the omnibus/absolute format, there is a hardcore crowd that looks for complete runs that may or may not read the comics.  It gave me flash backs to collecting baseball cards.

    I bag and board all of my comics, but if I could stay current on comics using digital formats, I would in a heart beat.  Not going to do it on an iPhone but the size of an iPad I might.

    Kurtz might not be the most PC speaker on the subject by 7 out of 10 times he hits the issues right on the nose.

  7. I think he is overgeneralizing regarding fans (and creators).  

    I think he’s right that these firms are risk averse.  I think (but don’t know) that profit margins in the comics industry are quite small, so taking a large risk is likely to require a rather large expected return.  I don’t know that the potential demand for a fully digitized comics market is high enough to provide that kind of return.  Where’s all that market research when you need it?

  8. The truth is a bitch.

  9. "It will be so disappointing when the industry does nothing revolutionary with this new technology," said the man who uses the web to do the most conventional four-panel could-have-been-published-below-Bloom-County-in-1987 yuk-yuk comic I have ever read.

  10. I’m an active reader/collector but I want it to fail because I don’t need another damn device in my bag. And cuz I’m holding out for google to let me actually *be in the comic.* 🙂

  11. Zing?

  12. "Guess what I don’t give a shit about? The Avengers from 1998." My thoughts exactly. Put new stuff on there or it’s going to fail.

  13. I don’t yet have an iPad (waiting for the 3G model) but I’ve started looking at the comics apps available in the App store which also work on the iPhone – and while I love the capabilities and there are some nice UI elements – I was very disappointed in the selections – which seem pretty random & in most cases are missing stuff I care about in favor of stuff I have next to no interest in – and can’t figure out why they picked what they picked (and excluded so much of what they excluded). I’m mostly a fairly eclectic comics collector – lots of smaller presses, some trades, more Vertigo than Marvel/DC – currents include: Joe the Barbarian, The Unwritten, Chew, Irredeemable etc) 

    But I collect some stuff I’d love to see digitally – the current series of stuff from IDW for Doctor Who for example (which seems to be missing from the IDW app) or the already digital Heroes comics (yes I can read them on the website but a well done app would be really nice) 

  14. How much could the publishers recover in cost if they cut out the middle man in Diamond? Not to mention the entire printing process.

    Instead of selling me a single issue for 3.99, of which they only get 1.99, they could sell me two issues directly and double their profit and I’d get twice the books. Everyone wins.

  15. Have any of you guys purchased the iPad yet and experienced the wifi problems that have been reported? Just curious to see how the usage as been since you got it this past weekend.

  16. The guy needs to pull his head out of his ass and then discuss his ideas.

  17. Anybody else think Kurtz got overly hostile for no real reason in this statement other than to be overly hostile?

    For me personally: I dont own an IPad but If I did I would probabbly buy some comics. That being said I like reading comics with them physically in my hand. And although I do bag and board my comics I get them so I can read them, not so I can say that I have them. I also happen to believe that new platforms like the IPad will allow creators a more accesible platform, especially if your just starting out and you dont have the coin to self publish and cant get in a place like Image.

  18. Yep, generalisations are ahoy.  Inserting a few "somes" would make it reasonably accurate.

    I see myself as a comic reader rather than a collector.  I never buy two copies of a comic and don’t get concerned about which cover I’m buying.  I don’t bag and board.  Comics I keep go into a box naked and unprotected.  And even then, the ridiculous storage needs are putting me off reading at all.  I need those rooms for kids and couches.

    I WANT DIGITAL.  Subscription digital comics.  New comics delivered to a device on U.S. Wednesday.  As a non-US reader – where imported comics cost $6 to $8 an issue – $1.99 would allow me to buy a lot more comics.  I’d only be paying the exchange rate rather than LCS markup prices that include shipping.

    Remove the hyperbole and Scott’s article outlines accurately the blocks to digital comics.  An industry too scared to move beyond 1985 and a segment of fans stuck there with them.

    If the industry wants a next generation, digital is probably the only way to attract them.  And old comics won’t do that. 

    If I were a comics company, I’d include social networking and some sort of sharing ability to the app to replicate the type of community that occurs around comics.  Except that the execs would see that as an avenue for "pirating".  Cory Doctorow made similar comments, I think.

    Growing pains ahead. 

  19. What about the joy of sharing an amazing comic book of tpb with a friend?  I like to lend my books to friends to share my passion (and borrowing from them of course).  That is something that digital comics cannot offer.

    Personally I also enjoy that"floppy" books are easy on my eyes… it is good to get away from the eye-tiring computer screen in front of which I spend most of my day.

  20. It’s rants like this that made me stop buying PvP. Just because some people prefer a physical comic doesn’t mean they’re not reading them.

  21. Just… before slamming every person who reads, draws, and sells comics for hatefully willing iPad comics to fail, could we wait until the iPad is out for a fourth day?

    As for not giving a shit about the Avengers from 1998, tell it to everybody who bought that Geoff Johns collection last week.

    It is a testament to Kurtz’s charm and silver tongue that I would have said I agreed with some of this until I read what he had to say. His crass braying was enough to make me rethink the entire issue.

  22. @Jimski: Fascinating. I think he’s way, way more on target than off.

    Loved the rant.

  23. @conor  Agree.  The rant was kind of fun.  And didn’t damage the message for me at all.  Nowhere near as many people would be listening to a polite thesis on this subject.  The rant gets attention.

    I also find it interesting that this is such a binary argument for some.   Music has gone digital but anyone who wants a physical CD can still buy one in the store.

    I want digital, but that doesn’t stop odino1 buying a trade version.  Or me for that matter, if I loved the single issues enough. 

  24. From Warren Ellis’ blog –

    You know, if Marvel sold, say, 4000 apps for iPad? That would equal if not overtake the number of physical locations that sell physical Marvel comics.

    I am under the impression that any publicly traded company has a duty to their stock holders, to pursue alternative revenue streams for all of their products. What Marvel is doing now is just enough to be able to say, "Look we tried something new." We know the truth though, this app is a half assed attempt. DC is not even making an attempt.

    Mr. Kurtz was right even if he did generalize a bit to much for my taste. I am incredibly frustrated by the way the big two are dragging their feet on digital distribution. The system is in place, the customers are there. I keep thinking that some company like Image, is going to step up to the plate and make a lot of money they wouldn’t have made otherwise.

  25. @delphan: Yeah, the entire point of a rant is to be blunt and not nuanced.

  26. Oh Bynwin Bronzebottom.  You’ll never change your Dwarfish ways and for that I love you. 

  27. @Conor, you know nobody wants day-and-date digital releases more than I. More than most of us, actually. A few minutes of a stranger starting from "hey, luddite assholes!" and going from there naturally inclines me to reply, "YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS THE ASSHOLE."

    I would be very happy indeed to live the rest of my life without hearing another blowhard jagoff beginning a sentence, "Hey, guess what _____? [Thing!]" Chandler Bing as a pro wrestler. Just what discourse needs more of. "Well, I wasn’t going to take his point, but once he called me an asshole I was all ears. Let’s hire him."

  28. Just one more question, does anyone believe comics will stop being printed if all of a sudden they’re made available digitally as well? Paper is not going anywhere folks, ever. Period.

  29. @jimski  I don’t think he specifically called you an asshole.  I didn’t take anything he said personally and I don’t think you should either.

    #blulew23 Nope.  Not going anywhere for a long time.  CD – still here.  DVD – still here. 

  30. @delphan My point exactly. 

  31. Kurtz can come off as a god on the mountain sometimes, and it gets annoying. But they are fun to read… To the content: I think he’s wrong in saying that fans “want” digital comics on the iPad to fail. Lord, this site is now partnered with a digi-comics provider, so wanting the format to fail is stupid. No, like Kurtz, some of us think it’s going to fail because of price points or what’s available. Unfortunately that potentially leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Statements like his don’t help the situation any; some people will take it as a springboard to discussion, others will take it at face value and stay away from online comics. Having said that, if we take the Marvel app right now as a beta, and with all the other providers out there chugging along, digi-comics lovers shouldn’t be worried.

  32. "YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS THE ____________!" makes an almost daily appearance in my conversations. So much so I almost forgot what movie it came from.

  33. I am sorry but the cynicism does runneth over. A week ago I hadn’t heard anything about any of the big publishers making their comics available on the iPad and now they are all over the place. Marvel has their own branded app selling downloadable digital comics for crying out loud! Is that nearly as far as this needs to go in order to be a truly viable alternative to printed single issues? Of course not, but recognize what a huge step this really is.

     I know we all want this and we want it now but this is something that will be quite a while in coming. These are sizable companies and the people who run them are ethically bound to behave in a responsible manner (remember all the bad things you have said about bank CEOs in the last year or so). Diamond and LCSs are the primary source of revenue for these publishers, how do you think those groups would react if suddenly DC announced they were selling current titles online at half price. These are the revenue streams that keep these companies in business, to risk them in order to pursue a source of sales that is completely unproven at this time would be reckless. Yes we all believe that digital can only be a success but they need to make as much or more from digital as they will lose from print or this will be a failure. And before you point to that as only proving the point that these companies only care about money remember that if they stop making money and go out of business, no more comics. I for one do not think ill of them if they want to be reasonably sure of the move before jumping in with both feet.

    This is not to say that I am not personally frustrated that none of them is acting with greater boldness, I want this NOW too. However, I do understand if the are trying to boil the frog slowly.  

    Their caution does not make them any of the things they are accused of being her. And in fact I believe accusations, that the creators and publishers are uninterested, are simply false. Numerous creators I follow on twitter have been talking about their new iPads over the last days and how great comics look and how excited they are by the possibilities (Brian Bendis and Matt Fraction come foremost to mind). Jim Lee spent his time with his new iPad trying out the possibilities of drawing on the device and even posted two really cool pictures he had created (one of the Joker and one of Catwoman). At a recent Marvel panel Joe Q responded to questions around the future of comics being, at least in part, digital. 

      It is very easy to go on about how something will never happen and how it is all crap because of how stupid everyone is but there is no actual evidence given here to support any of your assertions. The arguments just seemed to be based on assuming the readers will simply buy in because they share the writer’s negative atitude. Am I just being optimistic where this article has just been pessimistic? Maybe. I do think I am cautiously optimistic but at least I think I have evidence to point to to justify that point of view.

    Since ultimately we all want the same thing here, what is gained by crossing one’s arms and insisting it will never happen? The publishers may be moving far too slowly for our tastes but they will eventually, just like the music industry at the beginning of the decade, be forced to embrace digital just to survive. I think we are all impatient and disappointed, I am just looking at the positive signs of the inevitable to sustain me rather than a (dare I say it?) smug cynicism.

  34. Paper will never truly be dead. Will it have less of an impact in the comic world? Sure. Considering how many people (myself included) still yearn for a physical copy instead of digital…..Paper will be no where close to just ‘disappear’ or just die off completely. Blulew23 and delphan are right. CD’s/DVD’s still exist even though everyone claims they are dead because of itunes and netflix have taken over.

    Again ‘dead’ or ‘disappear’ is too harsh of a word. Obsolete is a better one but that doesn’t mean it will die off. Paper comics might be ‘obsolete’ or ‘old school’ ten years from now….But they will still be around. You can’t suddenly just kill off a hundred year plus method of printing stories. Whether it be prose or comics, they will still be around in the future. Just used to a lesser extent.

    Like I said, I am for the paper side of comics being printed. I’m just tired of discussing it or getting into heated debates about it every week it seems now. Okay we get it! One side loves digital the other side loves paper. Can’t we just get along and stop sniping at each other? I’m tired of people typing "Well digital is the wave of the future so get used to it" or "Physical copies will still be hear and ipad/anything else will fail". Tired of these type of comments.

    Let’s just agree to disagree on our method of reading comics and get on with live. For the sake of our (limited) sanity that is left….Let’s move on! 

  35. @bootmobile I’m not sure we can use the word caution any more. The fact is there are already successful business models regarding digital distribution. Music, movies, and books. The comics industry doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel here, they just have to use it.

    As far as the retailers are concerned, I think comics are the one place that digital won’t outright kill the digital market. There are still those who have a collectors mentality, not to mention the fact that an iPad doesn’t do two page spreads much less the gatefold like we saw in Blackest Night, nor does it look as good as an omnibus or Absolute.

    I also wonder if comic companies actually have a responsibility when it comes to keeping comic shops open. It reminds of people who stay in an unhealthy marriages, for the sake of their children. In the end someone gets screwed anyway.  As far as Diamond goes, someone should have lopped off that beasts head a while back. 

    You brought up the panel with Joe Q. I give that guy a lot of credit for putting Marvel back together, but he is an expert in giving non answers. If I watched the same video you did all he really said was, we’re looking into it. 

  36. Can’t we have both digital comics and print ones? Digital download of movies (Netflix, various "on demand services, etc.) haven’t stopped people from purchasing DVDs and Blu Rays. In the end they might, but that doesn’t seem to be the trend yet.

    Also, Kurtz fails to understand that some people don’t want to read comics with a light bulb behind them. I spend all day using computers and staring at lights shining in my face (the monitor). I’d like some of the leisure activities I do in life to not involve looking at a screen. At the least the ipad is more portable than a computer and I can read it lying down, on my side, or whatever.  I will give it that. But at the end of the day you still have to stare at light to read it, and I just don’t want that.

  37. Just to clarify, I love my LCS. I still buy back issues. Even when comics go digital, day of release, there will be titles I buy in paper form.

  38. He makes some good points but as long as we’re doing generalizations:

    Maybe the reason some people "want it to fail" is because "success" in this case would mean the closing of most comic shops and much of the entire infrastructure of the industry in one fell swoop.

    The trick is for the Big Two to walk a line. They’re NOT being luddites, but they certainly don’t want to undercut everyone else they do business with because, uh, no comic shops equals no market for hardcovers, trades, statues, exclusive action figures, etc etc etc etc.

    I think digital comics are great. I think the iPad can be a great tool. But I’m not going to sit here and whine that I can’t have the world delivered to me instantly at a low cost. Nice as that’d be, there’s other factors in play.

    And, yeah, I guess some of us on iFanboy tend to underestimate the collector mentality out there, but to say that fans = collectors of physical copies is an overestimation. This isn’t 1993 anymore. I love physical copies not because of speculation and collector’s value but because it’s just so much nicer, in my opinion, to read an actual book of something I really like than to stare at a screen. I’m not opposed to staring at a screen to read. But the more I like something that’s written/printed, the more I feel that the experience is better when it’s eye-to-paper.

  39. @ Jimski- Well said.

  40. I agree with a lot of the posters in here who are saying it doesn’t really need to be an either/or issue.  I want to read new comics digitally.  If the price point is cheaper, I’d be able to venture out and try out comics I normally wouldn’t.  But for titles I’m really devoted to, I’d probably still stop by the LCS to pick up the physical copies.  

    If I was Marvel, I’d still try to keep the loyal fanbase happy by listening to what they want…but I’d really use the iPad app to go after people who aren’t readers, especially younger readers.  

  41. wait…. there’s words inside these things? i guess i’ve been too busy bagging and boarding to even realize this!

  42. I thought the iFanboys were the ones that hated digital comics?  And now they love them?

    I haven’t seen flip flopping like this since NBC fired Conan O Brien!!! 🙂

  43. @KickAss: Wha….? You must be thinking of other people who haven’t been talking about wanting digital comics for years.

  44. Let’s not worry too much about the LCS. Look at music sales – yes, soulless big box music stores like Virgin closed, but independent stores where people have gone for a long time to talk music and find things you can’t find elsewhere are still doing alright. A good LCS is like that, and as much as we like coming to the Internet to talk to others, we still like to talk to the guy behind the counter at “our shop” and the other customers too. And, let’s face it, for a good long while shops will have things that you can’t get online. So, our favorite store isn’t going anywhere.

  45. @KickAss The iFanboy team has been pro digital comics fo at least the 2+ years I’ve been listening.

    Why does EVERYONE misuse the word "cynical?" 

  46. I think Kurtz made some very valid points.  I for one used to hate the idea of digital comics, but then I realized I wasn’t really getting much out of my lcs experience.  I pretty much go in, grab my books, and then leave.  Outside of this community, I really don’t talk about comics much with others.  Then I look at those 6 long boxes taking up space in my guest bed room and can’t stop thinking how nice it would be to have most of them in collected format or a digital file, decreasing my boxes down to 1-3 of essential books.  I can’t blame comic companies for dragging their feet though, if that’s really what they’re doing.  I think the digital medium is a tremendous oppurtunity for them to make even more profit for an increasingly ‘digitized’ youth base.  I think if kids could access books through a few applications, that would provide more sales.

  47. Scott Kurtz is a gigantic blowhard who has very little knowledge of what he’s talking about. The fact he makes a newspaper-format strips for the web further elaborates my point. I am not saying he’s the only one doing it, but none of the others talk this definitely about the future while clinging anachronistic design. @jimski said it better than me, with a lot less ‘hate’ but man that guy annoys me, to the point where I can’t enjoy his work.

    What Mr. Kurtz has glossed over is that Comics aren’t prose. It requires a cost increase per issue to digitize them, increasing their investment in an overall story arc. Now publishers can digitize new issues and decrease their print distribution to offset the cost, but right now, the market is very young, and there is no way to figure out if digital sales will cut into print sales, or even if there is crossover demand between the markets. Thats not even considering the TPB market.vProviding old comics is the only business decision that makes sense, as the investment has already returned on them. Its basic economics. As the market grows, you will get new issues eventually on your computers, you just have to wait.

    I would love digital comics, on any plat. But if we are to do it right do away with issues. Give me complete stories or pages as they get done, as the RSS feed of a narrative webcomic like Sin Titulo already does. Hell no paper, why bother with something as archaic as a "page", give me one panel at a time. Comics will never be late! 🙂

    Finally, I’ll throw in another plug for the "Widescreen" Old Man Logan reedits. Because I want everyone, including potential creators to read it! Eventually all comics will be like it, but I want them NOW, GODDAMMIT!

  48. I want digital comics. I don’t want to be locked into the iPad. I want something like Netflix where I buy the rights to view the content but I can see it on whatever device I want, be it PC, game system, phone, or whatever. That’s what Graphic.ly is promising but it’s still not out yet.

     And yes, the digital comics need to be day and date with the floppies.

  49. Also @KickAss:

    Just because some goddamn indie hipsters hemp wearin’ hippies jumped on the bandwagon doesn’t mean anything! I was always with Coco goddammit and dont you take it away from me! 

  50. Certainly, digital needs to move to day and date in the comics arena, after all, the digital movies, music, television already are, more or less.

    One thing I was wondering though is this: will digital comics help the quality, timeless material shine through better.  I think I read quite a lot of comics week by week, but I’d also be the first to admit that a lot of it is of the one read only variety.  There are lots of comics that are well made, tell an interesting ongoing story but are never going to be brilliant enough to need re reading in a year’s time.  There are other comics that are in the category of legendary and need to be looked at for years to come (even stuff coming out now: Scalped, the Rucka Detective run, the Bendis/Brubaker Daredevil era).  THose are the ones I want in hardcopy, and even on my bookshelf.  The former is stuff that I want to read, to be able to keep up with the ongoing story, but don’t need to hoard.  If digital might mean that this stuff can be made available a little cheaper, it’s in this way that digital could turn out to be a godsend.  Even for those with a "collector" mentality, as it’ll free up space and possibly money for the really good stuff.

  51. @wayne2001bc: I agree with everything you just said.  I see no reason to take a side.  If offered, I’d buy new comics in both formats.  Like you said, I’d really like to try new things out by buying cheaper digital copies and maybe switch to physical floppies or trades if I like it.  Comics seems to be a dying medium with no renewal of fanbase.  I hope that younger readers are drawn into comics with this new form of comic delivery.

    I don’t have any specific numbers in front of me but I’m pretty sure that single issue comic sells have a declining trend. However, trades sales are rising (again unsure just what I heard).  This new digital delivery may generate money in single issues and trades.  Think of it as "try before you buy", it’s just like digital music.  You buy a few songs from iTunes and if you like them you buy the CD album.  As for delivering new comics digitally at the same time as the physical counterpart, it isn’t going to happen right away. The iPad has only been out for a few days and the industry are going to be taking baby steps in progression until a sound plan can be implemented.

  52. @ vadamowens: Much like yourself, the biggest comic related community I have any interaction with would be the ifanboy one.  However, my LCS is extremely  welcoming and is doing it’s best to compete with the online stores etc, even though it’s in the unenviable position of trying to keep running in a small rural area that’s not that switched on to comics.  I get on well with the owner and folks that work there and would be very disappointed if that aspect of my comic reading life had to go away.

  53. @odare Yeah, it sucks but I’ve been forced to go to bi-monthly shipping with dcbservice.  My addiction has become so extensive, that I can’t afford to buy the comics I want with my 20% 40+ title discount.  I really care a great deal for my lcs dealer and would kill a rhino for him, but my obsession for comics supercedes the relationship factor.  I know that sounds horrible, but a guys gotta do what a guys gotta do:(

  54. Stupid economics! 🙁

  55. I love a good rant, and think Kurtz makes some valid points. I would imagine even he realizes he generalized (maybe intentionally?) as fans come in all shapes and sizes. I’m GIDDY about the idea of digital comics, but I’m also a collector who bags and boards, spends big dollars occasionally on a high grade back issue, and who regularly buys Absolutes, Omnibuses, and other hardcovers because of the aesthetics of the packaging. But first and foremost? I’m a READER. I never understood the rant against collectors as though they were the Devil Incarnate. This industry has survived for the last 30 years on the backs of people who cherish the POSSESSION of comics as much as the consumption of the stories. I’ve had the good fortune to know lots of fellow comic book fans over the years, and I can definitely say that those who COLLECT are almost universally among the most rabid READERS, too. Save for an insane and transient time in the 90s during the bubble, almost no one buys modern, off the rack comics with any presumption of investment return or monetary value.

  56. @odare77 – You cut me deep.

  57. It’s all about price for me. If it becomes cheaper for me to buy my comics digitally, then that’s what I’ll do. I really don’t feel any sort of loyalty toward comic shops, and I don’t feel like I owe them anything either. I know it’s been said a million times before, but it’s true: adapt.

  58. I have loved comics most of my life (adult and otherwise) but I rarely if ever buy a new issue, hit a comic shop or anything else that most ‘comic fans’ do.

    Widereaching, overdone storylines requiring me to buy 45 different comics I never buy, culminating in half-assed ‘events’ all for 4 bucks a pop.  I tend to wait for trades now, which is painful but about all I can afford/deal with and I usually miss all the big events or have to hide from spoilers until a collection comes out.

    I think more and more  people fit my category. We can only afford so much.

    Now I’m not getting an Ipad and a comic app isn’t changing that. But I think there are a ton of people like me who WOULD buy online comics if the price were right. I’d happily read my comics on my computer if  I could do it AND actually be more apt to buy more individual issues vs collections if I could do it affordably.

    I’ve read digital copies of comics before – doesn’t bother me all that much. I like the feel of a paper book or comic but in this case I so rarely HAVE one, I wouldn’t miss it much.

    Stores and that aspect of it is a whole different thing.

    Someday I’d wager my kids will read comics this way and might barely remember a time when they didn’t. Much like I kinda remember not having cable.

  59. Digital offers a great possibility for those big crossover events – package deals. Like if I’m playing Rock Band and want every Weezer song instead of just a couple, I can get a discount buying them together. Anyway, I’m sure the price point and marketplace will sort itself out. It’s not like people will stop comlaining, no matter what the price is.

    I’m sure the iPad is cool and all, but I’m waiting for a better device. Color digital paper the iPad has a pretty conventional screen, right?) will surely look better and be easier to read both comics and ebooks on – I don’t want to carry half a dozen different devices. And if we’re going to be buying comic subscriptions and collections, this device will need to have significan storage capacity.

    I’m all for it, I’m just not convinced the technology is quite there yet.

  60. @flakbait:

    Let me introduce me to my friend, Trade Paperback. He collects all issues of any story arc and costs you less than buying all issues. 😀

    And thats how subscriptions work as well, though you have to pay in advance.

    The periodical issue is tied to the Magazine format, which isa format of the print medium. Print is dead, isn’t it? Should we also get rid of limitations imposed by it?

    As for the ipad screen, its an LCD panel, but uses IPS tehnology; Removing all the techy wechy crap, it means it has the best color reproduction possible on a commercial screen. I’ve been told reading text is easier than traditionl LCD, still doesn’t beat a kindle.

  61. heh, sure, but we have to wait for trades. If we’re buying issues every week, like what everyone is asking for, then it’s a different situation. If I walk into a LCS and pick up every comic with, say, the Siege label, I’ll be paying full price for every one of those issues.

    Digital comics would only remove the limitations of print, not serial storytelling. They’ll still be doling out stories in small chunks.

  62. My only problem with people who want digital comics can be a bit…..well snooty sometimes. I’m not gonna name name’s cause that wouldn’t be right. But all the time we talk about this there is always one or more people acting so uptight or feel like their better because they want digital comics.

    Again, I used to get into heated discussions about it all the time. Now I just want to let it run it’s course. Just let us enjoy physical comics while everyone else enjoys digital. We don’t need to turn it into a war or debate every discussion. Plus I don’t mind now if people want digital in their lives….Just don’t shove it in my face that I need to get this or I’m an ‘idiot’ or ridiculous for not wanting it. 

  63. I would welcome a digital format, as long as it’s not monopolized by apple. I would want to be able to read it on an ipad, or my desktop pc, or back it up to an external HD.

  64. @tnc Well I, for one, definitely do NOT think you’re an ‘idiot’ for not wanting digital comics.  I’m very torn on the issue myself.  

    Conor posted, or said on the podcast, that it would be great to wake up Wednesday morning and be able to click a button and download all of the comics that he wanted that day.  That sounded pretty fucking cool to me.  That’s the anti-packrat in me talking though.  I like reading comics, not so much for nostalgia or potential value in a book.  

  65. I personally would like a hand held digital comic book reader but I’m not going to smack down $500 US or whatever bloated international price the iPad costs.  However I do see cheaper Google Android or Google Chrome OS tablets on the way.


    I agree with Kurtz though I would pay for single issues for $2 or less but for current issues and the whole catalogue, the comic industry needs to be destroyed by the digital but unfortunately I’m still willing to buy collected editions or hardbacks but this may change too…  when it does or when digital piracy becomes popular for comics, enough that the companies take note, then we’ll see the revolution.

    Does that mean I’m pro – piracy as long as it goes towards legalising content to a digital format?


  66. I can’t help but take issue with Kurtz saying that collectors want digital comics to fail because we want to hoard disposable media. Personally, I prefer printed comics because I can share them with friends and pass them along to my kids eventually if they want them. If not, I’d want them donated to a library or something like that, just as long as someone enjoys them.