The Digital Comics Tipping Point

Note: iFanboy is owned by Graphicly, a digital comic book distributor.

idiot with ipadThis was the week for me. There’s no going back now.

Over the last few months, without really realizing it, I started buying my comics using some kind of crazy, tiered system. I’m like a bond trader with Wolverines all of a sudden. In the first tier were the books I faithfully bought Wednesday morning, the books I couldn’t wait to read. The second tier were books I got regularly via mail order; if you’re going to leave it sitting on the coffee table for a month anyway, might as well pay half price. Then there were the books I downloaded, typically whatever I forgot at the store or heard about too late.

Recently, I was checking my pull list against the mail order list to make sure I didn’t accidentally buy the same thing twice when it hit me: “Holy smokes. Trying to make things easier sure complicated things.”

Then, this week, I hit the tipping point.

Maybe I was a little under the weather. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep, or the sky was just a touch too gloomy. Whatever the reason, when I woke up on Wednesday morning, the ritual I normally looked forward to just seemed… irritating. I go to a wonderful shop, I’m friends with the staff there, and I can always count on a lively conversation about the week’s events, but that day the thought of schlepping all the way over there for X-Sanction or whatever felt like a date with the dentist’s drill.

“Ugh!” said I. “That thing I do for fun. Ugh. Screw it in the ear.”

Then I went over and picked up the iPad.

I know that everyone is going day-and-date digital “soon,” but I have been waiting for digital comics for so long and had Lucy yank the football away so often that in the back of my mind I always assume that the book I want is not going to be out there. I rarely even check. That day, I checked.

With two exceptions, Graphicly and comiXology had everything I needed.

I looked over at the stairs, at the pile of spent comics I needed to take up to my office, alphabetize, file, and shelve.

Those last two paper books were going to have to wait at the shop for a while. For the first time, I commenced downloading my entire pull list.

We’re there, kiddies! We finally got there. I will never have to get snow off of my driveway to find out what happened to Spider-Man again. I have missed something at the store and weakly thought, “Dammit, maybe it would be okay to pirate just this once” for the last time. Whether or not Locke and Key is sold out before I can get to the shop is completely irrelevant now.

If I sound like Christopher Columbus shouting, “You guys! There’s a country here!” while the natives look at him and say, “Y-yeah. We know. We’ve been here for kind of a while,” it’s only because I am having a hard time getting this to sink in. I have been shaking my fist at the heavens and pleading for comics to join us in the twenty-first century since before I even had this forum for inflicting my whines on others. There have been so many false starts and unfulfilled promises along the way that I sort of gave up on following the progress. There’s nothing like having it finally happen to make you realize, “Oh, I guess part of me never believed this was actually going to happen.”

I am happier with this than I ever imagined possible. It’s everything I wanted it to be, plus a few more things that hadn’t occurred to me.

Now, what do I do next week?

As retailers have fretted all along, going digital could mean breaking up with my shop. I always brushed that concern aside, thinking, “Whatever. I’ll deal with that if the day ever comes.” Well, here’s that day you were asking about. What now?

Like I said, the store I frequent is great; I drive past a much closer store just to shop there, because they’re pros who care about what they’re doing and always keep a well-stocked shelf. Even as immersed as I am in day-to-day comics doings, they still manage to turn me on to new stuff I would have missed otherwise. For all those reasons, I imagine I’ll still shop there even though I don’t “have” to. It’s a welcoming shop full of like-minded friendly faces where everybody knows my name. There’s not an app for that.

Now, that much closer store I drive past? They’re in trouble. That’s one of those shops where it looks (and smells) like the guy transplanted his mom’s basement into a strip mall. That’s a place where, every time I shop, the guy eyeballs me like I’m going through his stuff. That’s a place where, half of the times I’ve been there, there’s been a “BACK IN 15” sign taped to the locked door in the middle of a Wednesday. Digital comics are going to kill that store, and no one is going to go to the funeral.

Comic shops are not spotted owls; it is not my job to protect them and keep them alive. It is their job to stay in business by proving they deserve it, and a number of shops in my town handily do just that. For those who aren’t so lucky, now there’s one more venue for getting their hands on what they want. Now that Digital Day has dawned, I’m going to exercise the hell out of that option, but they’ll still see me around the store. And I’ll be in a better mood.


If you find yourself saying, “Ugh! That thing I do for fun,” ask your doctor about Zoloft today, or try following Jim Mrockowski on Twitter.


  1. Welcome to the other side, Jimski! Isn’t the grass so much more greener over here?? 😀
    Personally, Im all digital now. I have a shop that’s relatively close to my work and every wedneday, when i have a trade im slightly interested in, i still pop in, but more often than not, i leave empty handed. I’d just much rather have a digital version which doesnt add the growing clutter in my house.

    Be forewarned though Jimski, that one-click purchase, combined with a lack of a shopping cart option is dangerous on the old credit card. Im usually surprised at my total bill once i get that email from itunes a day later. It’s become very ease to OVER spend on these digtial marketplaces

    • thats my only problem too until they finally start discounting subscriptions or something

    • I agree on that. Though it does make it really easy to work through classic runs when I have light weeks. I am currently reading through Morrison’s Animal Man in five issue chunks once every 4 or 5 weeks. Next on the chopping block is Starman!

    • @mike: A new horror in the face of marriage:

      Explaining to your wife what ‘Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is’ and why you bought it. 😉

    • I don’t like the “guided reading” and think if they just did straight scans like the pirates they could charge far less. I’ve been all digital since I got my iPad2. I’m glad someone who writes for this site is finally embracing the future.

    • And I should point out I replied because I, like you, believe there needs to be a subscription function and I think digital buyers should get a significant discount because the cost of production and delivery is much cheaper. No ink, paper, delivery, or 2nd printing fees.

  2. I am all digital- though fortunately I don’t have a shop near. I had travelled a town over on a saturday to pick up a flashpoint tie-in to be met by a sign that said ‘sorry closed to day’. That afternoon I downed an app and haven’t looked back. Reading on my iPod was tricky, so saved up for an iPad, now I can’t see myself going back to weeklies.

    If I really like something I’m gonna pick up a trade for my shelf. The silly thing is it’s made life so much easier. I know only buy what I read, and dont have to buy any more long boxes. I hate long boxes, they fit anywhere.

    Only thing I can’t read that I’d like to is daredevil, but if marvel don’t want my money…I can wait for it

  3. I just got a tablet for Christmas and downloaded the first two Avenging Spider Man’s (since they came with the free code) and decided to give digital a try. Hated it, if print versions ever stop I guess I will just end up rereading what I have!

  4. I think I hit this point in Dec. I’m from CA, but was living in AZ for about a year, I found a great shop called Cab Comics in Flagstaff, and for a year it was a fine establishment to purchase my weekly fix of capes. I recently moved back to CA over my Xmas vacation. As if traveling with 3 long boxes of comics that I had accumulated wasn’t enough. The process of filing them in alphabetical order by publisher is a task that makes my stomach queasy. There’s also the aspect of storage space, my room is starting to look like a promo for a “hoarders” reality TV show. I just can’t deal with the clutter anymore. So I’m taking the plunge! I am buying most of my books from the digital store of the shop back in Flagstaff, which is very cool. I like the fact that I can support a shop whose owner and staff I respect, even though I live hundreds of miles away. I am also going to make an effort to buy collected editions from local shops rather that resorting to a large chain bookstore or the online behemoth that it Amazon. It truly is a new golden age.

    • I was just hypothesizing in my post about such a thing –retailers having digital stores– and I didn’t realize anyone was actually doing that. How does it work?

      Do they have an app that you use? Do they offer a 10% discount like you were a box customer?

      I think that is a fantastic example of a retailer adapting to stay relevant.

    • I have seen a few stores do this. All of the examples I’ve seen are through Comixology, I don’t know if other companies have similar deals. A local shop can make a digital store front, and if someone buys a digital copy of a book the shop gets a small percentage(not sure how much). I’m sure it’s not a huge source of income, but it’s a nice way to show support. The only downside is that you have to go to the local shop’s website to buy you comics rather that just opening the App, but it’s really a very minor inconvenience.

    • I don’t understand the point of this initiative… Do these digital storefront offer individual sales or discounts? if not, why would i buy through them rather than comixology? Not to sound overly harsh or anything but is this initiative only to help support my local store, because if so, then that’s not really my problem, is it? What’s the benefit to the consumer?

    • That’s sort of the problem, Mike. The digital market renders physical stores obsolete as far as single issues are concerned. The publishers recognize that they wouldn’t exist if not for these stores, which is why digital comics are still the same price as print. These digital shops could be a way to keep them relevant. It’s still just a form of placating them. And really, I appreciate that the publishers are respectful of that, despite the fact that it’s not saving me any money.

      You’re right though. there needs to be a benefit to the consumer. Give us a discount comparable to that of our box discount in the stores.

  5. I’ve very close to this point myself. I’m only not totally in the water because I don’t have an iPad. I don’t mind reading digital comics on my PC browser, but its just not optimal. But the moment I get an iPad in my mitts. I am digital all the way. I’m just tired of all the storage and maintenance, there has got to be an easier way to read comics.

  6. Every Wednesday, I look at my iPad then look at my boxes. The day is coming.

    • Haha, I love my iPad and I love reading comics on it, but buying in print from my LCS is still cheaper for me. However, I’ve already told myself I’m not buying any more boxes, so I’ll be forced into a decision within a few months (Or sooner if the empty short box I’m imagining in my guest room closet isn’t actually there!).

    • @KenOchalek ahhh but ken is it really cheaper when you do this formula?

      Comic cost – Discount + Tax + Gas Money = LCS
      Comic cost only = (direct not through itunes otherwise you have to pay tax but it still syncs to your iPad)

      I thought the same thing you did, that it’s cheaper at my store with the discount but once I calculated in $7 a month in taxes and $25 a month in gas to go to my LCS and back, I quickly realized it was significantly cheaper for me to go pure digital. Although that and the fact my LCS was a troll infested hell hole that should be killed with fire, helped make the decision even easier. Just my two cents.

    • @thompsonlive:

      It works for me because my LCS is less than a half mile from my house. It’s on my way home from work actually, so there’s no additional cost in getting my butt in the store. My LCS also appears to build Michigan sales tax (to wit, 6%) into their markup, so I’m paying cover price minus 15-17% ($2.99 books cost me $2.49, $3.50 books are $3, and $3.99 books are $3.39).

      For example, this week’s haul includes 4 $2.99 books, 1 $3.50 book, and 1 $3.99 book. On Wednesday, I’ll pay $16.35 at the store. To buy all those books digital at this point in time would cost me $19.45 (the difference being about the cost of another $2.99 book!).

      But fear not, I’m definitely in the choir when it comes to digital. I love my ipad, and I love buying 99 cent comics when they’re available, so if digital pricing changes to make it a better deal than print (or I fill up my last short box, or I just decide I don’t need to read anything the day it comes out), then I’m all in on digital.

  7. Like Jimski, I just switched to digital (mostly) as well. After a lengthy discussion on my podcast (, I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth is.

    I just bought a tablet last week. so far, so good. There are still things that I”ll be picking up at the shop, like American Vampire (becasue I own every issue of it), and Scapled, because, to me, the smell, feel, and look of the newsprint is part of my love affair with that book. But other than those and a few more exceptions, I’ll be buying digitally, and then picking up the trade if I really have to have it on the shelf. Already, it’s easier to turn on the tablet and click my way to an issue I’d like to re-read, rather than pulling out a long box from a closet. I keep other back issues in binders on my book shelf, and even those can be a pain sometimes.

    I also figured that I need to be part of the solution. As Jimski mentioned in the article, I too waited for better options and a more abundant digital comics market. But then I realized that we live in a supply and demand based society. I had to be a part of creating that demand before there would be enough supply. Maybe, if the demand is there in the future, (and the publishers are still trying not to screw the retailers) we’ll see digital comic shops through our LCS. They buy the download codes from the publishers, have their own apps, etc. Maybe we can still have “box discounts” that way.

    I’d love to see an update in a month or so on how Jimski is feeling about his decision.

  8. PunisherMAX 22 and Thunderbolts 170 are going to be my last ever print issues. Viva Digital!

  9. For me I love the object too much, many “collectors” will feel the same.

    The rational arguments for digital are obvious but it is the irrational passion for holding and owning the artefact that digital just wont replace. Hunting down that missing issue is half the fun for me, I know it is not the same for everyone but the instant gratification of a click just taking away a valuable part of the experience.

    I also own 2000 or so vinyl (and growing) and the same principle applies ultimately I would still rather own the object than a file.

    Luckily my other half is very understanding 😉

    • I think one of the most interesting part of “The Digital Revolution” (ugh) is that it’s really pointing out the Readers and the Collectors. I realize we’ve probably all been at least a little of both at one time or another, but other than the fact that I keep my comics, I haven’t felt like a Collector in a very long time. So I welcome the ways digital can allow me to support comics in a purely Reader capacity.

    • I’ve long ago relegated my comics buying to 99% trades with 1% individual issues if one grabbed me in particular. Now I’m actually spending more on comics AND I have no plans of abandoning the trades. I, too, still want to hold the physical book when it’s a good one, but don’t want to wait a year for a good story to become available.

      I know a lot of people out there are similar to me so this will only help the ailing comic book industry. The LCS’s will unfortunately have to update their business model…but that’s the nature of business!

  10. It just doesn’t work for me on a computer screen. I’m not totally sure why. Maybe someday when I can afford an iPad I’ll really get into the digital world.

  11. I used to go weekly shopping on Wednesdays. Then went to bi-weekly mail orders because the average 35% discount was worth it. Now, I’m completely digital using a Galaxy tablet.
    Just the fact of never having to bag, box or move my huge collection of books is a joy in itself. Add the ease of organizing, bookmarking and simply referring to back issues in seconds has made my enjoyment of digital reading even better. I now read entire series in one sitting and often find myself now reading comics from years ago along with the week’s new issues.
    Digital is great and I can see myself never going back to the old ways.

  12. Went pure digital with The New 52 and never looked back. Cheaper, Faster, Easier, Art looks WAY better, and good for the environment too. Never been happier being a comic fan.

  13. i hit that point a few months back and when DC launched the same day i just went all in.

    I remember on a Wednesday evening i was running out of work early at 5:15 (as usual for a comics run) to try and rush through traffic to get to my shop 5 minutes before close, and waiting for that elevator thinking “this totally sucks” and then getting to the shop to find the guy working there pissed i walked in, and finding only half the things i wanted actually in stock. I just thought “screw this” and that was the last time i went to a comic shop on a wednesday.

    The LCS didn’t do anything wrong (except their business hours were geared towards the unemployed), but the whole thing no longer worked for my daily lifestyle.

    now i go to a little indie bookstore across the street from my house that carries some comics. I buy almost 99% digitally and get the few stragglers like Daredevil in print just cause thats the only option. But yeah…..wednesday became annoying until i went digital.

    • My LCS moved to a location that was far less convient for me. After a year of being stuck in rush hour traffic on an alternate route home from work for the sole purpose of picking up comics, i decided this was just crazy. I had stuck with them only out of loyalty, but my time was worth more than that. it got old really quick.

    • Wow! Your LCS closed by 6 on new comic day?! That’s kind of unacceptable for almost any retail store in 2012.

    • yup. that was the best store in town. Other stores closed at 5. I mean 10-5….when are people with actual jobs and disposable income supposed to spend money there…such poor business strategy? That’s a huge reason as to why i soured on the LCS experience….never open.

    • @treeofthestoneage

      I am 100% digital and you better believe that if I had a store near me that did signings and art shows I would be their running myself into some serious debt.

  14. My question is: If a LCS is doing everything right and people are still switching to digital, what else can be done to keep customers coming back?

    • thats a business owner’s problem to solve. Expand product offerings? Services? Events? Signings?….get creative.

    • I hear you, but that still doesn’t answer my question. Mroczkowski states that the shop he goes to is great from a customer’s stand point, yet he still switched to digital. It just sounds to me like convenience trumps effort every time. I’m not fearful of the day the LCS dies, I’m simply looking for some clarity when it comes to the store vs. digital. I have a Graphicly account, btw.

    • I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest the possibility of history repeating itself. What I mean is this: Name another consumer product that is sold in specialty stores but you can also get it in digital. Seriously, name it. I’m too busy at work to think of anything.

      From this article, you could flash forward and propse that if ALL collectors go digital, this is the eventual death knell for shops, but:

      1. Will some collectors will simply quit comics rather than go digital?
      2. Will comic publishers lose business if no one goes to shops anymore to buy secondary product, and the shops close?
      3. Is there truly anything shops can do to survive?
      4. If the shops fold, will publishers WANT to keep up print publication?
      5. If so, from where will they sell their product? Where comics were originally available?: grocery stores, newstands, etc.
      6. What happens to some small-press companies when those retail locations refuse to put out 200+ titles each month? (They typically only sell the biggies like Superman and Spiderman anyway.) Can they survive going digital?

      All fun stuff to speculate – and get a headache – about.

  15. Collector mentality: just another word for obsessive compulsive 😉

  16. I started my conversion over the weekend when I picked up an Asus Transformer Prime and decided to try a couple comics from the Marvel app. I think I actually prefer it. The lack of ads is really nice, but not filling up any more long boxes is even nicer.

    Because I’m mainly a Marvel guy, I’m canceling all my DC pulls at the shop going forward, and I’m just going to buy the few DC books I do read through Comixology. I’m friends with my local shop owner, so I’m not ready to totally abandon him. This will be a gradual thing, and there will be some series which I intend to always buy the hard copy of.

  17. I know the secondary / collector’s market for comics was suffering prior to digital comics, but has anyone noticed a steep drop in prices on eBay,, etc. over the past few months? All this talk about long boxes taking up space has renewed my interest in possibly selling my collection. I imagine that other people have already come to this conclusion with the advent of digital comics.

    • I’m waiting for a Y: The Last Man movie to unload my single issues of the first 30-40 issues of that book (unless anyone’s interested in it now?). Most of my other stuff isn’t worth trying to sell (who wants some mid-90s Extreme Studios books?), or has enough sentimental value that I’d keep it.

    • Y: The Last Man is one of the few things I’m gonna keep

  18. How does the comic viewer work on the ipad? Do you view each panel individually like on an iphone or do you view one full page at a time making it more like a digest sized book? I just can’t see myself reading all my comics this way.

    • You can customize it to view however you want.

    • Which makes it nice.

      I can read most things in exploded panel view…except for Grant Morrison.

      For some reason I need to see the whole page at once so that I can keep my bearings with his books.

    • When I view a new page, I view the whole page (to see the layout). Then I go to the panel view to zoom in on each panel…and just repeat on each page. (I use a Kindle Fire)

    • That was one of my main questions prior to trying digital. You can’t really try the apps for Graphicly and Comixology unless you know someone using them on a tablet, because you can’t download them on floor models at stores.

      I have a tablet with a 10.1 inch screen. The unit itself is the size of a comic book, and the trim around the screen is roughly 3/4″. So really, it’s only shrinking it by about that much. And the nice thing is, you can zoom in on any panel manually, so you get a better look at details in the art than you would if you were just holding a printed version really close to your face.

      Also, (and maybe this is just me), there’s no ink to rub off onto your fingers, which I can’t stand.

    • Nobody seems to be concerned but it’s driving me batshit crazy: Comixology’s guided view on the iPad is EXACTLY the same as the one on the iPhone. Just blurrier. Which is inexcusable and hideous to read. The also CROP panels! Full screen looks crisp but it’s smaller than an actual book. For me it’s too small. Both ways, I’m hating it. I resorted to manual zooming which is OK but c’mon… At least give me an automatic “full width” mode when I read with the tablet in landscape mode . Graphicly’s panel view on tablets is much better but they don’t carry most major books. Good for Image books though.

  19. I am not now, never have been and never will be even remotely interested in digital ‘comics’ I get stuff emailed to me from friends and such wanting me to check out this or that comic and I simply don’t look at them. I can’t sit in front of my computer or look at a screen on anything and ‘read a comic’

    I don’t really see anything that makes them better.

    • read the comments above, you’ll the reasons why we think they’re better

    • I don’t think this is a question of ‘which is better?’ There is no ‘better’ comics are comics are comics. Digital is just more convenient for many people. And that’s what’s going to drive its future.

      Also, ignoring a mountain of potential reading material just because its on a computer screen instead of paper strikes me as incredibly short sighted. Why deny yourself new reading material based on artificial bias?

    • I agree, it’s not that one’s better, just more convenient.

      A year ago I was the same as Zarathos I said I would never look at digital comics, but once I tried it the benefits in time and money just appealed to me more than the long trek to find a store.

      At the end of the day the content is the same, which is what matters.

  20. Last month’s DCBS order was my final paper single issue. I dropped all DC paper singles at the relaunch, except Batwoman, and that was only for the 1st arc. I’m now only buying trades in physical form, and even then only if they’re not available digitally.

    On top of being a little cheaper (plus no tax, shipping, gas, dealing with the awful people at the comic shop, etc.), I live in a 2-room apartment, so space is at a premium. I only have 2 longboxes, but even they are too much for my tastes. If I could get every consumable item digitally, I would.

    • I really feel sorry for people that have to go to bad comic shops. I went to Austin Books this weekend, and it was nerd-vana.

    • The people who actually run the shop are great, and it’s a good shop. But it has a hangout area that is always populated by the dregs of society.

  21. For those who have gone all digital, what’s it like paying the same price as a physical book, but not owning them?

    • I wouldn’t know, because I don’t do that.

    • I usually wait a month, where the price usually gets reduced by a dollar. That’s a little better than the 20% discount my LCS gives me as a member (membership is about $8 a year). The only drawback is having to read books a month late if you want the price reduction. But it’s not that big of a deal.

    • A lot like paying for a movie in a theatre, wherein they don’t give you a DVD copy on your way out. They’re on my iPad and I can read them whenever I want with the added benefit of not taking up room in my house.

    • @Kmanifesto

      Interesting question. Depends on what you mean by “own.”

      Technically my purchase of the digital comic allows me to read it on my devices (tablet, smartphone, desktop) whenever I desire to, so long as I have access to my device. I therefore own the experience of reading the digital comic I purchase as many times as I like.

      I do not own the comic in the sense that I cannot manipulate the content of the comic to make a poster or collage or have it take up space on a bookshelf or long box.

      I don’t think I’m losing much by not having the physical item simply because I wouldn’t do much more than read it.
      If I were to do more than read the physical copy of the comic then I probably wouldn’t buy the digital comic.

      If all you do with your comic is read it, then what exactly do you own; what did you pay for, the physical copy or the experience of reading the comic?

    • how often do you re-read every back issue you own? i usually only read my comics once. They are mostly disposable, so it hardly matters. Just like when i rent a streaming movie, its just the price of admission…so i don’t feel the need to own it.

      The idea of ownership of media is really changing. I went from buying dozens of DVD’s a year to maybe one or two Blurays… with streaming i just don’t need to pay that premium to watch something once or twice.

    • This is something I was curious about. When you download a book, is it only saved within your respective library on the app? I haven’t been able to find the comics I download saved in my device anywhere. Do I have to have internet access to read my purchased books?

    • @RaBoogie: With Graphicly, all you have to do is synch your device with your library and the books are downloaded to your device, After that happens, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to read them.

    • I imagine that when someone’s physical condition burns in a fire or is otherwise destroyed, whereas the digital collector can just re-download everything, it will seem worth it.

    • @Connor: Awesome. Thanks!

    • @MaxPower – When did you ever receive a DVD when leaving the movie? Not a comparable example.

      @Smasher – by ‘own’ I mean to have complete claim and authority over your possession. . In the case of digital comics, you only have a license to access that comic within a supported format. No borrowing between friends, no passing them down to your kids, no potential in selling them at a future date for a potential profit, etc…

      @wallythegreenmonster – you, more than any other, hit the nail on the head…digital = disposable.
      Digital comics changes the way the audience perceives the inherent value of a product.

      @glennsim – I imagine if a company you bought your digital comics went out of business, everything you “owned” would go away as well. Of course, if you had a DRM-free format , you could just save them on your computer for archive purposes. Not sure that’s ever going to happen.

      I’m not against digital comics and understand the convenience, but don’t get it twisted… you do not ‘own’ them.

    • You own a tv, do you own what is on it?

    • @kmmanifesto–yeah i think you twisted around what i was saying. I meant that for me, a single issue is disposable…print or digital it doesn’t matter. I’m most usually not going to read it more than once, so for me its like TV or a movie rental.

      i don’t understand why you want to create an “us vs them” mentality. They are both the exact same thing, its just a matter of which format is more convenient for you. I think if you read through the comments, some people value collectibility and ownership, some value purchasing convenience more. No one is wrong or right.

    • Do you pay for cable?

      Do you keep a copy of every show you watch?

    • That’s one of the reasons I don’t even consider digital ‘comics’
      When I pay for something that I like, I want to actually own something. I have over 5,500 comics in my collection, plus who knows how many trades and graphic novels, and I would never give them up for a digital ‘copy’
      I do my best not to trash digital but it’s difficult when the impression is given that somehow digital is better and more sophisticated than a real comicbook.

      Digital is good for those poor souls who don’t have a shop near them, though DCBS is a great way of getting books, or have a really bad store to deal with, I’ve dealt with a few in my time, 2 when I lived in Portland, but beyond that I don’t see the greatness of them.

      I love sitting on the couch or on the floor with a cartoon DVD playing on the TV and read comics for hours. I love getting around 20 50 cent kids comics at conventions and giving them to kids I know and REALLY love seeing them sit down and enjoy them. Gives me hope for the future.
      But these are things you can’t really do with a digital ‘comic’

      Glad it’s something people are willing to settle for but it isn’t the same as actually having a real issue.

      NOw, if only we could get better stories and not these stupid reboots and retcons…

  22. I can certainly understand the appeal of digital if you consume a lot and keep a lot. But I only buy a few comics a week and purge my collection every year or two. There are comics in my long boxes that I will never read again and instead of holding on to them, I make a few bucks selling them on eBay. Over the course of 5 years, I’ve probably made about a grand on eBay, solely by selling back issues I will never touch again.

    Going to my local shop, talking with the awesome employees there, picking up my comics, reading them throughout the week…I love the routine. And when the collection gets too big…sell, sell, sell!

    If you look at your collection with disdain, GET RID OF IT! Especially if you’re having trouble keeping up with the new issues every week. If you can’t keep up on the new stuff, when are you going to have time to go back and dig through the old stuff?

    • “If you can’t keep up on the new stuff, when are you going to have time to go back and dig through the old stuff?”


      I’m not a digital proponent, but something occured to me: I used to read newspapers all the time. Now I read them digitally. I guess all those digital readers kept reading til they got used to it. I bet that might be something us print people should try.

      Someone buy me an iPad!

  23. >The second tier were books I got regularly via mail order; if you’re going to leave it sitting on the coffee table for a month anyway, might as well pay half price.

    How might I go about paying half – DCBS? Publisher subscription?

  24. One thing I’d like to see happen with Digital Comics is for the providers to allow people to annotate pages and panels – kind of like how folks do with their eBooks. What’s more I’d like to be able to share my annotations with my friends. I think this would be a really cool feature that would give digital a distinction from the print version.

    What’s more, how neat would it be to read an issue of Waking Dead annotated by Rick Remender? Or an Aquaman issue annotated by Tom Katers?

    I think we’re only scratching the surface of what this digital medium can do.

    • don’t go crazy with all them new ideas and fancy schmancy tech-no-logical mumbo jumbo. Comics never change!

      i’d love to see that too…make the digital truly its own product instead of the baby brother.

    • Wouldn’t mind a “Like it” option for panels too.

      Post your favorite panel to Facebook – nice way to promote comics to your non-comic book reading friends.
      Provider can tally the most “Liked” panels for their very own “Best Panels of the Week” feature.

      Same would work with covers.

    • Whoa… you just blew my mind. I’m a print reader too… but I want that. Yes. Someone please do that.

    • +1 for community-generated Panels of the Week!

    • Smasher, those are some legit ideas right there. Some sort of built-in Social Networking ability in a digital comic only adds up to free marketing for publishers as actual readers could share it with a demographic their actual paid advertising is missing.

    • Some good ideas. I’m a print reader but that could be something that would entice me enough to give it a shot.

    • This is a truly fantastic idea.

    • Those are great ideas.

      I want a layers feature so you can see the pencils or inks or coloring, or just turn off the word balloons all together, it wouldn’t be that hard to implement as the files are generated that way in the first place.

      You could mix and match. Creators could do extra value added content too.

      If you listen to the Word Balloon podcast with the two heads of DC marketing they sound like knuckleheads who are more than satisfied with the 52 smash and grab. Totally uninterested in exploring the bold new digital frontiers of not going bankrupt.

    • @ResurrectionFlan. A layers feature….you just blew my mind! How beautiful would it be to see an issue of BatWoman in Jh Williams’ pencils only? Make it a “silent” with no word baloons?
      get on it DC!

  25. To clarify, I own an Ipad. I went digital and didn’t like it. The price point seems too high for digital. Back to print. But expanding on the features you mentioned would be interesting to see.

  26. I’m just addicted to the portability aspect. I carry around the infinity Guantlet, Severed, frank Miller’s Wolverine and other various runs on my Ipod. I love having all these different titles in my back pocket. I actually look forward to my daily commute to reread stuff I like

  27. Does anybody know why Redwing was not released digitally? It was released after Image went day and date? Also every time Comixology has a $.99 sale I am interested in I can not resist buying. It seems to me that if all older issues were at this price point I would completely switch my entire collection of trades over to digital.

  28. The only thing holding me back is the same price on these books as the print version. If they dropped the online price even one dollar, I’d skip print altogether, but if I’m paying $4 for a comic, I want to have it later too, even if I don’t ever read it again.

  29. If Marvel offered the same content and pricing as they do for their print subscription program, I’d consider it.

    I don’t really love the interface, and I’ll be sad to see double-spreads diminish, so I remain unconvinced.

    Tipping point will probably be when I run out of room or they offer a substantial discount on last week’s comics for buying a year’s-worth. Like, nearly half-off of cover price. Just like a print subscription.

  30. Marvel needs to drop the digital price after a month. I read absolutely no marvel books any longer but would if they would do this. I guess 3.99 has become my breaking point. I have really been wanting to try Wolverine and the X-men, Dardevil, and J.i.m. But at 3.99 it’s never gonna happen.

    • Totally agree. They’ve got books up there at $3.99 from years ago, meanwhile I can catch up on DCnU books now for a reasonable $1.99. I picked up the Shade miniseries after hearing the review on the podcast. $1.99 is a fair price, even though $.99 is better. I’ve been picking up the Kamandi books as they come out and they’re a great bargain.

      I want to read Remender’s runs on Punisher and Uncanny X-Force, but not at their $2.99 or $3.99 price point.

  31. Why do people not complain about the lack of ownership? I’d love to start buying digitally, but I’m not paying to rent comics. With the digital platform as it exists today, if someone decides to pull a file or the company goes belly-up you can kiss your comics good-bye. It happened with music, it can happen with comics.

    I want a file similar to an mp3 that I can backup and keep. I really don’t understand why this doesn’t come up very often.I buy lots of comics every month. I dislike having to manage all the space those take up, but I don’t want to have thousands of dollars of comics just disappear on me.

    • I pay for the experience of reading the comic, much like renting a movie or eating out at a restaurant. I still buy collected editions of stuff I think are stories I’ll read again and that look great on shelves, but the last thing I want is to have to pay for the added chore of getting rid or storing monthly floppy issues. For me, comics are stories and not objects. Again, that’s just how I choose to experience comics and I think we all should do what works best for us.

    • @Gowry: I’m with Max, with the added point that I don’t fear for the safety of my entertainment.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that there are more books, comics and movies out there that I’d like to experience than I will EVER have time for in my life. So on the off chance that a particular file gets yanked or a digital comics company goes belly up, yes it will be annoying (assuming absolutely no attempt is made to fix the situation), but there will plenty of other things out there to entertain me.

      Again, I think digital comics is helping show us where we each fall on the reader/collector continuum.

  32. I’ve been 100% digital since DC started going all digital with the new 52, it sure has cut down the cost of my comics, I was buying $60-80 worth every week and now it’s down to $30-40 due to waiting 1 month for $1.99 prices plus taking advantage of the numerous 99 cent sales. Plus I don’t have to drive all the way downtown to get to the store anymore.