I would say I’m a big comic book fan. That’s probably going overboard. I enjoy reading every now and again when I feel motivated to sit and pick up a book. I have a pretty big collection of trades, most of which I haven’t actually read yet, and I know that’s pretty silly but I will get around to it at some point.
When I do read, it generally ends up being the Invincible series in trade form. I love that book. The story is interesting and engaging and the art is just spectacular.
Rather than go into my on and off love of comics in further detail, I want to talk about the big changes that DC announced a month or so ago. Digital is clearly the future in practically everything, and the comics industry isn’t exempt from that.
Digital comics have been steadily growing for a while now, mainly thanks to apps like Comixology, Playstation Comics and the support of the publishers themselves. The problem up until now has been that the publishers, while they did show significant support, weren’t willing to take a risk on day-and-date print and digital comics. Instead, they’ve been releasing digital versions of library comics which are now out of print, and therefore not a risk at all. It simply gave them a chance to test the market and make more money off books which they generally wouldn’t have otherwise.
However, it was clear that the next step had to be made soon and DC have given fans what they have been clamouring for. Starting later in the year, they will be releasing comics on the same day in print and online. This is a watershed decision that will determine the future of the industry. Now we just need to get all publishers (especially Marvel) on board and we need to develop a standard format for comic publishing that will allow comics to be read on any device in the same vein as digital music and video, and to some extent, eBooks.
This is some way off, and is not going to be easy considering that most digital devices you can read comics on are often very different, and therefore standardising everything will be tough, but hopefully we see something along those lines in the near future. We don’t want to stay in a situation now where you’ll forget where one particular book is. I have some on my PSP, some on my iPod and it’s definitely going to get worse before it gets better.
The other news from DC is that they are re-launching all of their main series at the same time in a gigantic event which must be taking a gargantuan amount of time and coordination to achieve.
Practically everyone knows the basic origin stories of the famous superheroes thanks to the films, TV series and so on, but over the years, those stories in the books themselves just get so complex and confusing, that eventually it gets to a point where it’s hard to follow what has happened. DC have realised this and are resetting everything back to how it was in the beginning. They want to make the characters younger and more relatable to today’s audience. Whether or not they just end up having to do the same thing a number of years down the line is anyone’s guess, but I like the fact that they’re taking this chance now regardless.
They’re probably also hoping that all of the number 1 issues will entice collectors to buy a fair few copies up. Maybe some people will buy both the print and digital versions so they have one to read and one to keep pristine. As I’m not really a collector I’m not too worried but who knows.
I don’t know if Marvel will follow suit in both of these initiatives, but if they do only one then I hope they take the digital route for all of their comics. It’s the next logical step and they can’t afford to get left behind by their great rival and all of the independent guys like Image who are doing some great stuff at the moment.
I’m definitely excited to see how the digital transition pans out, and reading the amended origin stories for some of the most well loved characters in all of entertainment can’t be a bad thing either. It’s definitely going to be a great time to be a comic fan and a great time for kids and adults alike to get into it for the first time.